Girl Meets Bulgaria

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


Exploring The Commons: People and their Pets

I often find myself searching through The Commons on Flickr for hours at a time. I love historical/black and white photography and this place is the absolute mother lode.

The Commons is an archive of public photography from around the world. Most of the photos are out of copyright/in the public domain and can be used in a variety of ways; usually without any attribution (great for us bloggers). The photos range from quirky and fun to touching and heartbreaking. Some date back to the beginnings of photography while others are much more recent.

Because I spend so much time on the site and find so many great photos, I thought I would start a regular series here on the blog where I share my favorites with you. Some posts, like today’s, will have some sort of theme; other days they will just be random.

Please feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts on the pictures or provide links to your favorite photos in The Commons.

*You can hover over each photo for the title or click through to link the the original on Flickr*
Dog with backpack, 1939 / by Sam HoodZookeeper and bearsStudy of a girl with ringlets teaching her dog to sit up, 1930s / by Sam HoodRoyal Easter Show, 1935 / by Sam HoodStudy of a small girl with a prize Scottish terrier dog, c. 1935 / by Sam HoodEvacuation from Tobruk, 1941Llangefni children enjoying the sun with their pet rabbit

I think I’ve been drawn to these photographs this week because I am missing my pups back at home in Utah. I’ve had pets from the day I was born, so being here in Bulgaria with no kitty or pup to love on is tough. The fact that there are so many strays in Sofia makes it even worse. I want to brings each and every one of them home. Unfortunately, that isn’t possible (obviously), so I have to make due by feeding them whenever I can. Perhaps this makes the problem worse, but I can’t help it.

These photos of children, soldiers, and others enjoying their pets and showing them love helps to mend my aching heart.

And that little girl in the white dress with her puppy? Too cute for words.


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Where You Can Find Me

Today is shameless plug day!

I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed sharing myself and my adventures on this blog over the past 2+ years. My readership has grown by leaps and bounds and I truly appreciate every single person who takes the time to stop by and especially those who leave comments.

I am starting to branch out into other areas of the web and would love if you joined me there as well.

-Girl Meets Bulgaria has a Facebook page. I share updates, link to posts, and just generally enjoy chatting with readers. A handy “Like” button is located in the right sidebar. Go ahead and click it. You know you want to!

-My time on Pinterest has certainly gone down, but I still enjoy marathon pinning sessions every so often. I have quite a few boards full of lovelies, so stop on by and check those out.

-I have finally recently figured out how to post pictures from my Flickr feed here on the blog. It certainly came at just the right time as my allotted 2GB storage from WordPress is perilously close to being full. I am getting a lot better about updating my photostream and already have lots of pics posted. I plan on going back in my free time and adding photos for past trips and also my time spent in Bulgaria last winter. My most recent uploads show in the right sidebar.

-Speaking of photography, last winter I started a Tumblr site, Pixels from Afar. This is where I showcase my best photographs in all their high-quality and non-compressed glory. I haven’t updated in a really long time, but I intend to get back into the swing of things once I get settled in BG.

-Finally, my true joy…Twitter. I love Twitter. I can post updates from my crappy ghetto phone, it’s quick, and I like the interaction it provides. I am quite active on the site, so if you have a Twitter account and follow me, I will certainly follow you back!

I am on a mission to surpass 100 “Likes” on Facebook and followers on Twitter. I am so close on both. Help a girl out! I promise you will be dazzled by my witty and charming nature! 😉

Alright. Plug sesh is done. On to bigger and better things tomorrow as I continue to post daily for NoBloPoMo.

Feel free to shamelessly plug your own web stuffs in the comments!


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Photo Request

I got this email last night:

Hi Whitney,

I really liked your photo of Shrubbery Nightingale Park, Darjeeling

I was hoping you would grant us permission to use it on our new website Touristlink.
The photo would be the primary photo for this destination and we would be happy to link
back to either your Flickr website or some other website if you would like this type of credit.

Your picture would appear on this page here:

Please get back to me if you have any questions about the use of your photo.

Tourist link is a new social travel platform and we want to have really good pictures of the destinations we

feature and think your photo would help.


Nice, right?

Of course I said yes!

My trip to India in 2007 was amazing and I am happy that my photos are good enough to be posted on a travel website.

I hope I get more emails like this in the future!

Oh, and I have to say that I am glad I was asked for permission. A lot of people these days just steal photos, and because I don’t watermark mine (yet), I have seen some show up on websites with people passing them off as their own. Not cool.



Finding My Place in the Blogging World

Here comes a 4am brain dump… Prepare yourselves.

I have blogged on Girl Meets Bulgaria for nearly a year and a half now and I’m starting to feel in a bit of a rut.

Here’s the thing: I have more to write about than ever before.

As the name implies, I started this blog to document my journey to, and life in, Bulgaria. Well, it’s finally on the horizon but some days the last thing I want to do is blog about it. And it certainly isn’t due to a lack of time. I happen to have LOTS of that at the moment!

I read lots of blogs (probably too many) and I am starting to feel slightly inadequate. Between: Not Me Mondays, Wordless Wednesdays (oh, but to confuse things, sometimes they have words) and Scavenger Hunt Sundays; linkups and giveaways; sponsors and buttons;  challenges and surveys, I am starting to feel like this blogging thing is a bit… well… overdone. Add in Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Flickr and don’t forget blog hops and memes (exactly what is a meme anyway?) and it’s no wonder my head starts to hurt when I spend more than a few minutes on Google Reader.

Don’t get me wrong, I use a lot of the things mentioned above, but I am starting to drive myself crazy wondering if I should also be posting a Wordless Wednesday or A-Z of Me. Hell, there is some mass-blogged topic for every day of the week. People don’t really have to come up with anything original anymore. Just find a linkup and you are good to go!

But here’s the thing, there is no rule book for blogging. Maybe my readership would improve if I did a giveaway or shared a button. But part of me wonders… why do I care about the number of people who read my blog? As long as my family and friends have a place to go to stay up to date with what’s going on in my life, isn’t that enough?

Well, no. If I am being honest with myself, it isn’t. Any blogger who says their readership numbers don’t matter to them even just a little bit is lying. Otherwise, they would be writing with a good ole’ fashioned pen in a handy-dandy thing we call a diary. If they weren’t trying to write to an audience why post on the World Wide Web?

I have done far better (in readership numbers) then I ever expected I would. I am flattered that people care what I have to say, especially considering I am not even in Bulgaria yet and a large number of my readers are Bulgarian. It truly makes my day to log into my WordPress account and see a couple of hundred people have read my blog that day or posted a thoughtful and supportive comment. On the flip side, I get super bummed out when I see only a few dozen views for the day. Sigh.

At this point, I am not doing this to make money (and probably never will). I don’t want sponsors. I won’t do reviews of products so that I get free stuff. I will just continue to post the happenings in my daily life with some photos thrown in for good measure. If that means that my blog doesn’t “do as well” as others, then so be it. I don’t know why I feel like it’s a competition anyway.

I’ll probably be eating my words in a few months time when I suddenly think it’s a great idea to start posting a Wordless (who’s kidding, mine would have words) Wednesday or photo challenge. For now though, I’m not into it (and I certainly mean no offense to anyone who is).

For the time being, I will focus on improving my blog for me not in order to keep up with what everyone else is doing. I’m considering a move to a self-hosted blog on with my own domain name. I have also thought about focusing more on a photo blog (which I stated months ago but have yet to post to). That should keep me busy!

Do any of you other bloggers out there ever feel overwhelmed and a bit inadequate? Sort of a “keeping up with the Jones'” vibe in the blogosphere?

Maybe it’s just me.


I should get some sleep. Everything looks brighter after a solid 8 hours!