Girl Meets Bulgaria

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


Field Trip to Tracy Aviary

I’ve been back in Utah for just over 2 weeks now and so far it’s been a fairly productive visit. First the zoo and now the aviary; I’m on an animal kick, apparently! Now I just have to hit up the aquarium to round the visit out!

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Tracy Aviary

Earlier this week I helped chaperone a field trip to Tracy Aviary for my cousin, A., who is in the 1st grade. Luckily, I only had 3 kids with me and there was another parent in our group, so definitely manageable!

Riding on the school bus with all the excited kiddies sure took me back to my elementary field trip days.

I haven’t been to the aviary in years (I was probably a 1st grader myself), so it was pretty much an all new experience for me!

Swan? Duck? I don't remember!

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Wordless Wednesday: Winter Comes to Denali National Park

*WW Linky below*

On Monday I took what was probably my last trip into Denali National Park for this season.

Snow has been falling in the park and on the mountain peaks for the past few days now.

And while the stunning fall colors are starting to fade, the bright white snow contrasts against them beautifully.

Unfortunately, I didn’t see any wildlife, but I was treated to Mt. McKinley in all its glory (the mountain is only visible about 30% of the year).


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Rain Showers & Rainbows

Rain showers and crisp, cool air moved into Denali about a week ago–a sure sign of Autumn’s arrival. The surrounding peaks even have a fine layer of snow on them–known as ‘Termination Dust’ to us Denali-ites.

Aw, fall. It’s intoxicating!

Yesterday was a day of rainbows.

I got off the bus in the morning and this beauty was right behind the lodge.

Later, on my ride home, this one–a full arc–was glowing brightly across the Healy Valley.

It was the brightest rainbow I have ever seen.

Too bad I only had my old Canon point-and-shoot with me to capture it. It was better than nothing, I suppose.

I ran inside to my room to grab my Nikon DSLR, but by the time I got back outside no more than 5 minutes later, the rainbow was gone.

This time of year is full of magical little moments.

Here’s to many more.


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My Camera Took a Tumble

A few days ago I made the mistake of setting my camera, a Nikon DSLR (and my baby), on my bathroom counter while I did my hair before heading out to spend an evening with some close friends.

Of course, it tumbled off the counter and hit the tile floor. My heart sank into my stomach.

The only damage I noticed right away was a crack in my lens filter. One of the biggest reasons I purchased the filter after getting my camera and lens (which cost almost as much as the camera itself) was because I read so many reviews and tales of people who said it saved their lens after a fall or bump.

So far from what I can tell, it did the same in my case. My lens (an 18-200 mm) seems fine.

My camera, however, didn’t fare as well.

Post-fall, there seems to be some sort of debris in the viewfinder. I tried giving it a quick clean but to no avail. The biggest issue (at least I hope it is the biggest) is that the viewfinder LCD information is not working. It was on for a few minutes after the fall but soon all the numbers turned to 8’s, then they started flickering, and now it won’t turn on at all.

Neither of these two things prevent me from taking photos. I’ve checked the quality and things seem to be normal. But I am just weird and can’t stand not having things in perfect working order.

So, that’s why I am trekking into an unknown area of Salt Lake today to take My Precious *Gollum voice* to the ONE Nikon authorized repair shop in the entire state of Utah.

I have no idea what they are going to tell me, but I have a few predictions:

  • “Sorry, we can’t fix it here. You have to send it in to Nikon and wait the million years it takes them to fix things.”
  • “We can fix it, but you will have to sell your first-born and a kidney to pay for it.”
  • “We don’t see anything wrong with it.” (you know, like when your car is making a funky noise and you take it in to the shop but the second you do the noise stops and the mechanic thinks you are making it all up.)

Whichever one of these comes true, I am not super optimistic about what I will be told.

My biggest fear is that I won’t have my camera back in time for Alaska or that I will just have to deal with the issues, take it with me, and wait for something else to go wrong up in the Great North (where I can guarantee there isn’t a camera repair shop within hours of where I will be).

If money were no object I would probably just buy a new camera and keep my D90 as a backup. But if that were my life, I’d probably be sitting on a beach somewhere being fanned by a bronzed male with a palm frond. We can all dream, right?

Anywho, wish me luck in my adventure today. For the sake of this blog, I hope it can be fixed…and soon!



10 Things I Love About Fall

Tonight, as a cool rain fell, It suddenly felt like fall to me here in Utah. I was lucky enough to experience fall in all its glory in Denali, Alaska and left just before the snow started. Now I get to experience it all over again. Autumn is my favorite time of year for many reasons, but here are 10 of them!

  1. The sound of leaves crunching underfoot
  2. Beautiful, rich fall colors
  3. The smells: spices, fires, yummy candles
  4. The treats: apple cider, roasted pumpkin seeds, caramel apples
  5. Busting out my scarf collection
  6. Snuggling up under a blanket and reading a good book
  7. Dark, dramatic nail polish colors
  8. All things pumpkin: pie, egg nog, lattes, cookies, carving them
  9. Trick-or-Treating with my cousin, Annie
  10. My birthday (26!)

And I know I’ve said it before (and will say it again), but… I can’t wait to spend next fall in Bulgaria! It’s getting so close I can almost taste the banitsa (cheese-free, of course!).

Hope you are all enjoying this time of year as much as I am.

Much love,