Girl Meets Bulgaria

Musings of an American expat in Bulgaria (with detours in Utah and Alaska)


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Putting It All Behind Us

Immigration...DONE!Vince started work today and it went much better than I expected. I thought our HR manager would have some questions about his immigrant visa or ask for something we don’t have yet (his new Social Security card, for example). As usual, I worried for nothing. He was in and out of her office and starting his first day of work for the 2013 season in just a few minutes.

Today, I was finally able to really breathe, relax, and let go of all the worries and stress that come along with the immigration process. It was exactly this time last year that I was gathering paperwork, filling out countless forms, and beginning our journey to making Vince a permanent U.S. resident.

Oh, the stress that 12 months of bureaucratic red tape and rules can cause!

In a few months time we will have to adjust his status, but other than that, we are done!

We can now focus on building our lives together in Alaska and, eventually, even starting a family.

But first things first…we have to make it through this summer in one piece!

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Welcome Home, Vince!

He's home!Today was a great day.

Today my husband, Ventsislav, entered the U.S. and became a permanent resident (Green Card holder).

Today a journey nearly 5 years in the making came to an end.

. . .

We could not be more thrilled to be starting the next phase of our life together.

After spending a few days in Utah with my family, Vince will be joining me here in our new home in Alaska.

Today… I am one happy lady!

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On Food

I love Bulgarian food, don’t get me wrong. But this time around, I got a little sick of the same things over and over and I longed for the variety that America provides.

(this variety and the enormous American portions are precisely why I am less than svelte!)

Since being back in Utah, I have eaten pretty much everything I craved while in Bulgaria. This, of course, means that I have had pizza (more than once), Mexican, Italian, Thai, and random junk food and candy.Lunch date with mom and Sher. #deliciousthai #yum #welikeitspicyBeer and a pie at Flat Bread Neapolitan PizzaThe BEST lemonade in the world!Cafe Rio pork burrito

The novelty is quickly wearing off and I find myself wanting my mother-in-law’s bean soup, baklava, mekitsi, and…well… pretty much everything she makes!

Alaska poses some challenges when it comes to food. Vince and I will not have our own full kitchen in our room in employee housing at the lodge. We will have a mini-fridge and microwave. During the summer not having a kitchen isn’t much of a concern as we will be eating in the employee dining room and there are TONS of options. When winter rolls around, however, and the lodge is closed…making all our meals college dorm-style is going to be interesting!

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Approved!

Vince went to his visa interview at the U.S. Embassy today and was approved! He said it only took about an hour total and they’ll be sending his visa to him in a few days. I didn’t mind him waking me up from a dead sleep at 6am this morning to tell me because I had been stressing about it a little bit even though I knew he would do fine.

He didn’t get the Bulgarian & American flag combo that some applicants get. Bummer!

It’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that we are done with his immigration. It’s been a long 10 months full of paperwork, fees, and stress; but we are thrilled to have come through it all relatively unscathed and are really looking forward to starting our life together in the U.S.

The only hurdles left are adjusting his status in a few months (90 days before our second wedding anniversary) and then his citizenship in a few years. After going through the Bulgarian D-visa process and then the Green Card process…I am pretty sure we can handle anything!

I contemplated writing up a wiki or post on our experiences and how we did his CR1 visa for those also going through it, but now that we are done I just want to put it behind us. If you happen upon this post and have any questions, I will do my best to help you out. Just email me at whitney @ girlmeetsbulgaria.com

A Very Happy Wife,

W.

: : :

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…Lately…

Hey all!

I’m alive! I survived an especially awful trip back to the U.S. in {mostly} one piece.

I hate airports and flying more and more each time I travel. The Delta terminal at JFK is as disgusting as ever. I had an overnight layover there and it was a long night, to say the least. Thankfully, I haven’t had much jet lag this time around – I always find it easier to adjust when returning to the states.

After a big to-do over my second suitcase with Polish Airlines at the airport in Sofia, I decided to leave ALL of my clothing in Bulgaria to avoid paying their ridiculous €150 fee. Luckily, I still had some clothes at my mom’s house, so I am not entirely desperate! Vince will be bringing my things over with him when he comes over next month.Happy to be home with my favorite little lady. #firstinstagram #cousins #rockingthesouvenirvenetianmask

It’s been a whirlwind of family and friend time (especially with my little lady), shopping, and sleeping since I got home on Friday morning. Yesterday I went to the Mummies of the World Exhibit in Salt Lake with my family and a friend. It was awesome! I love mummies!

Mummies rock! #mummiesexhibition #historynerd

My biggest time suck (and reason I have been neglecting this here blog) is my new iPhone 5! Yep. I finally took the plunge into the world of smartphones and joined the Apple masses. So far…I LOVE IT! I bought one for Vince as well and as much as he wouldn’t like to admit it, he’s excited as well. As you all probably know, I am a photography freak, so having a phone with a nice camera and access to apps like Instagram is awesome! Oh, and don’t even get me started on my growing obsession with the game Hay Day (shameless plug, if you play the game, add me as a friend: WhitneyPBG); who knew I would be into farming?! 😉

On that note, if you’d like to follow me on Instagram my name is whitneydimova.Out the window. #viewfromhere #Murray #almostspring

Hope you are all doing well! Talk to you soon!

W.

: : :

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Saying Goodbye & Moving On

goodbyeBG(did I just call myself a cow with that photo? Meh. It’s a cute cow. I’ll take it!)

Thanks to the magic of post scheduling, as you read this I am on a plane bound for America. My first stop before touching down on U.S. soil–at the ever-lovely and non bird-infested (*note the sarcasm) JFK–is Warsaw, Poland. Oh how I wish I had a loooong layover there so I could go out and explore!

While leaving Bulgaria is hard and a big part of me regrets making the decision, I know that there are so many more adventures ahead for Vince and I. Alaska is amazing and we can’t wait to start our lives there.

I’m not generally a sappy person, so I won’t go on and on. Suffice it to say that this is a difficult thing for us to do but we are happy to be moving forward. We’ll be visiting Bulgaria whenever we get the chance, so BG posts will continue–never fear!

I may no longer be an “official” expat, but I think I’ll always be one at heart!

(If you have no idea what I am talking about, click here)

Thanks for following along with us on this crazy journey of ours! Stick around. There is a lot more to come!

W.

: : :

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Wordless{ish} Wednesday: Bachkovo Monastery

*Linky below*

This post covers two trips to Bulgaria’s beautiful Bachkovo Monastery – the second largest monastery in the country. The first was a quick stop for Vince and I when we were on our way down to Smolyan in November – right at the height of the beautiful fall colors. The second was in December when my mom visited and we made a stop there on the way back to Sofia from Smolyan.

Like I said…doing a lot of blog post catch-up over the next few weeks!

Hope you enjoy the photos (there are a lot of them)!
Bachkovo MonasteryBachkovo MonasteryBachkovo MonasteryBachkovo Monastery
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