Girl Meets Bulgaria

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


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Adjusting to the Wife Life

Vince and I have been married for over a year now. In that year, we’ve only been together for about 3 months, and those months were spent living with his parents in Smolyan.

Sounds romantic, doesn’t it! 😉

Sure, it was nice having my Mother-In-Law around to make delicious meals and do most of the cleaning, but it left me feeling less a wife and more a live-in child.

One of the biggest reasons we decided to move to Sofia was so that we could have our own space and finally live together as a proper married couple (the next biggest reason being better weekend travel opportunities–what can I say, I’m addicted). I’ve been in the city for less than 48-hours, but already I am loving our little apartment and all the things that come along with being a wife–who at the moment, stays home.

Sounds completely cheesy, I know.

I’m reveling in housewife-y duties because I have waited so long to do them. I’ve never lived on my own away from home apart from my small dorm-style rooms in Alaska, so having a space that is all my responsibility is rather exciting.

I may be a strong-willed and progressive female, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a nice dinner on the table when my husband gets home from work (at least every now and then!).

I didn’t have much else to do on Thursday besides wait on my luggage, so I decided to raid our rather bare cupboards and make dinner before Vince came home.

We are putting off grocery shopping because we’ll be out of town all weekend and then gone on our cruise for 2 weeks starting next weekend. No use letting a bunch of food go to waste.

Here’s what I decided on:

Glorified Ramen noodles…

Glorfied Ramen
This screams ‘bachelor pad’ grub, don’t you think? Vince is rather cheap frugal, so inexpensive, pre-packaged, and processed stuff like this is right up his alley. He eats lots of fresh foods as well, thank goodness.
Instructions...in Bulgarian

I can’t read a lick of Bulgarian, but I can follow pictures like a champ! I gathered from these instructions that I was supposed to chop the veggies (I used a frozen mixed bag), cook the chicken, add the veggies, add the seasoning packet, and add 300ml of water.

I assumed that once all that was boiling I was supposed to add the noodles.

Easy enough.
Ingredients

The pan I used was a bit too shallow, but I added the dried noodles anyway and it turned out fine.

I had the table set, cheese and salami cut, and the wine ready to go when Vince walked in the door.

I felt rather proud of myself and he seemed happy, so there you go!

Ventsi and the spread

There it is…my very first dinner cooked in our new apartment. Not the most glamorous or gourmet meal ever, but it was yummy all the same!

I can’t wait to try out new recipes and become more adventurous in the kitchen.

Here’s to finally feeling like a grown up!

W.

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My Tastebuds Are Confused!

I love food.

Unfortunately, my waistline is clear proof of this!

While I truly enjoy Bulgarian food–and my MIL’s cooking in particular–after a month or so living in Bulgaria, I really started to crave foods from home. By month three, I was already planning out the meals I would enjoy when I got back to Salt Lake City.

I am sure this is completely normal for most new expats (at least the fat kid expats like me!). Having been to Bulgaria once before, I knew what to expect (or not expect, as the case may be) as far as the cuisine was concerned.

For instance, I now know (and begrudgingly accept) that pizza in Bulgaria is its own special concoction of ingredients. Pizza is one of my favorite foods, so going to Bulgaria and not finding anything that I liked was a disappointment. Making our own homemade pizza was the only way to get around this, and now we rarely eat in any pizza restaurants. I just can’t get over the “popular” Bulgarian pizza toppings: corn, cut up hot dogs, cream cheese, pickles, etc.

Besides plain ol’ pepperoni pizza (with mozzarella, NOT Bulgarian “yellow cheese”) on thin crust, some other cravings that hit hard during my three months in BG include: Mexican (which I don’t really care for that much at home–weird), Cheetos (the Puff variety), sandwiches of any kind, and salads chock full of different veggies.

The funny thing is, since I have been home I haven’t really eaten most of it. And the few things I have had, I really did not enjoy. I no longer crave those things I missed for months in Bulgaria.

I guess it just comes down to wanting things that I cannot have. And now that I have them available to me, I have no desire.

In fact, my first meal at a restaurant since I have been back was so salty I could barely finish it. I have found that to be the case with most foods I have had since arriving home. Clearly I am not used to so much salt as Bulgarian food contains so little (at least the foods my MIL made).

My MIL made every single meal we ate in Bulgaria from scratch: bean soup, lentil soup, patatnik, kufteta, salads, etc. Heck, even her donuts were fresh from the fryer.

While I didn’t lose as much weight as I expected I would these past three months; I did lose a few pounds and felt much healthier overall. Really what I benefited from–thanks to my husband’s lovely mother–was an abundance of fresh, homemade, nutritious, and delicious food. These things beat the packaged and processed foods prevalent in America any day.

The past few days, I have found myself looking up Bulgarian recipes online. I think at some point this month I will try my hand at patatnik and at least one other dish.

Clearly I am {again} pining for the things I cannot have. But the difference now is that I am comfortable enough with the grocery stores here to go and buy the things I need to cook certain meals. Oh, and I have a kitchen to myself; not like our apartment in BG, which was my MIL’s domain.

Can you tell I am already really missing Bulgaria?

I will be sure to write posts on any dishes I actually get around to making.

Hoping you are all having a fantastic weekend!

W.