Girl Meets Bulgaria

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


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Alaskan Winter Break-Up

Break up in #Alaska

This time of year in Alaska – when the snow and ice are melting into ankle-breaking piles of slush and sock-soaking frigid puddles – is known as “break-up.”

Break-up is a sure sign that spring is waking from its long slumber and will soon turn the white and dead landscape into a myriad of lush, beautiful colors.

One must deal with this rather unpleasant time of year in order to get to the gorgeous Alaskan summers which are, unfortunately, all too short-lived.

So here I am, reveling in the sight of asphalt and patches of brown grass. We may not get cherry or plum blossoms, bright daffodils, or delicate tulips, but spring here is beautiful and exciting, nonetheless!

Spring is here! Hurrah!

 

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Utah Winters

If you are new around these parts you may not know that I am from Utah, which boasts “The Greatest Snow on Earth.” The winters in the Beehive state range from “Snow-pocalypse” type affairs with so much snow (I remember a storm where when I was in Elementary where we got close to 5 feet in a day) that schools and businesses shut down and there are mass power outages, to more mild winters that result in drought conditions in the spring and summer (like what happened last year).

But in winters like the one the state is experiencing this year, it’s sometimes hard to believe that Utah is a desert. It makes for great skiing at the many ski resorts but not-so-great times for commuters.

My cousin just posted on her blog about the recent freezing rain that Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas have been experiencing. Here’s a video that was taken on the BYU campus yesterday morning:

That’s just crazy right there. I am extremely uncoordinated, so I KNOW I would be the girl face planting into the asphalt and being taken away by paramedics. I am not steady on slick surfaces whatsoever!

It’s in times like these – where I am hearing crazy stories from family and friends back home about Utah’s winter conditions – that I am so thankful to be here in overcast and chilly (but not snowy) Sofia. Winter here in the capital hasn’t packed much of a punch; at least so far. We’ve had a few snow flurries, but they seem to melt pretty quickly. It has rained a bit the past few days, but Tuesday was downright balmy and people were out in the city in full force enjoying the sunshine and warmer temps. Here’s a video I shot that day during the Free Sofia Tour (post to come) that shows how lovely the weather was:

I absolutely hate driving in snowy and icy conditions, so I am really glad to be here in Bulgaria (w/ my husband as chauffeur) rather than driving up icy hills everyday like I would be if I were still in SLC and working at the University of Utah. I think those years of my life have shortened my overall lifespan. *shudder*

So, to all my friends and family back in Utah…keep your head up! Spring will be here soon enough!

W.

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It’s Breakup Time!: The Nenana Ice Classic

The Nenana Ice Classic is an annual contest/lottery held each year in the Alaskan city of Nenana (just an hours drive from my summer home of Healy).

Photo courtesy of elmundoenbici.com

The contest challenges individuals to guess the exact date and time of the breakup of ice on the Tenana River.

After the ice forms each winter, a tripod is placed about 300 ft. from shore in the middle of the frozen river. A device is attached to the tripod that records the moment the ice goes out.

Raising of the tripod. Photo by Diane Jensen

It may sound a bit underwhelming to those not familiar with the contest, but for a lot of people (including moi) it’s all very exciting. The winner(s) have the potential to rake in quite the amount of cashola (depending upon how many pick the same date/time, of course–last year 22 people shared the pot).

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