Girl Meets Bulgaria

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


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. 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.

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!


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We Do!

On Saturday, September 24th, in front of a small group of family and friends, I married the most amazing man in the world.

It was definitely a long time coming!

We had a small ceremony at the Las Vegas Hilton, followed by a few hours at the pool soaking up the sun and enjoying some cocktails. Later that evening we took everyone out to eat at an Italian restaurant.

It was exactly as I had imagined (and desired) it to be: intimate, relaxing and, for the most part, stress-free.

I found my dress at the last-minute (think the night before). Out of everything, the dress caused me the most anxiety. Luckily, it ended up being perfect.

Vince looked so incredibly handsome in his suit.

We headed home to Utah on Sunday and spent our last few days together running errands and beginning the process for my Bulgarian visa.

Last night, far too soon, I had to see Vince off at the airport. He’s headed back to Bulgaria. If all goes as planned, I will join him at the end of December – just in time to celebrate the New Year Bulgarian style!

We are hoping to take our honeymoon sometime in the spring, probably a road trip to Croatia.

While I miss him more than words can say, I keep reminding myself that we will only be apart for three months this time. We are used to stints up to eight months. Thank goodness for Gmail video, Skype, cell phones, etc.

Now on to some photos!




More photos to come in the next few days!


Wrapping Things Up

The 2011 summer in Denali is quickly coming to an end. The lodge bids farewell to its last guests around noon on Wednesday. Myself and my staff will then head back to our housing (where our already-packed bags await us) to hop on one of the many waiting coaches bound for Anchorage – a five-hour drive.

It’s quite an amazing sight to go from over a thousand guests to zero-all in a matter of hours. The many tour vendors and gift shops in the canyon are winding things down and some have already been closed and shuttered up tight. Glitter Gulch (the canyon) is a ghost town after the hotels close. There are only a handful of maintenance people who stick around.

 Most people are catching flights out of Alaska the very same night. Vince and I, however, are spending a night in Anchorage, which, as it turns out, is a great thing. Vince still needs a suit for the wedding and I still need a dress (even after having had two sent up to me in AK… Curse this Alaskan weight gain!).

I am living in a semi-surreal state these days. Not only has the summer flashed by – seems like just yesterday I was stepping off the bus into snowy Healy- but I am also GETTING MARRIED in less than a week! What?!

Even more surreal is the fact that Vince will be on a plane back to Bulgaria 72-hours after we are married. Definitely not the honeymoon I had imagined. Hopefully I won’t have too much time to miss him as I will be wading my way through the Bulgarian visa process, looking for a short-term job, selling off things I won’t need (or can’t pack) and soaking up as much Utah/family/friend time as I can.

I did most of the things I wanted to do this summer (see my Alaska Bucket List), had some amazing experiences, met some great people, really enjoyed my job and got spend another 4.5 months in one of the most beautiful spots on the planet. Not a horrible way to spend my last summer in the U.S. for some years to come.

But now it’s on to bigger (and hopefully better) things: marriage, overseas move, BG job hunt, expat life, starting a family (thought I’d throw that one on at the end… I have babies on the brain!), etc.

Can’t wait!



A Change of Plans

Yep. It’s another wedding update!

I am a HUGE procrastinator, so while Vince and I have decided on where to get married, we haven’t really made any other plans.

A few months ago, we decided to be married here in Alaska. It’s where we met. We have some great friends here. It’s gorgeous. However, once we arrived and started to talk about what we both wanted, it became more and more clear that having our wedding in Alaska probably wasn’t the best option. Additionally, with both of us working 6 days per week, there wasn’t much time left over to plan a wedding, however small it may be.

While we do have awesome friends here, I think I would regret not having any family (other than my mom) present for our big day. Also, between multiple trips to Fairbanks to buy clothes and supplies, trips to Nenana to apply for (and then pick up) our wedding license and reception/food costs at the lodge, it just wasn’t making sense financially.

That is why we have decided to get married in Las Vegas at the end of September.

The biggest perk, of course, is that my close family and friends will be able to attend, which makes me oh-so-happy! But it also makes more sense time wise as Vince’s flies back to Bulgaria on September 28th. Getting married in Las Vegas means my family gets to spend more time with him before he leaves.

Deciding on the location is about all we have done, unfortunately. We are yet to find/book a ceremony and reception site, make reservations, buy clothes, etc. My head starts to spin just thinking about it all.

I am sure my mom and aunts will be a big help though (wink wink!).

I’ll post more updates as the planning continues. Wish me luck!



Wedding Plans, Or a Lack Thereof

On Saturday, my friend A. and I attended the Bridal Showcase at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City.

At first I was a little put off by the aggressive vendors, but then I got into it and started approaching them. I bypassed most of the wedding dress stalls (the dress is the last item on my list of priorities, I honestly could get married in a sundress and be completely happy about it). Instead, I gravitated to the photography, catering, and reception site booths.

Attending the event really left me stressed about my own wedding plans and made me realize V. and I need to decide what we want to do and fast.

If V. and I end up getting married in Utah, I would love to have our ceremony and reception at Cactus and Tropicals. It’s beautiful, unique, requires little additional decoration, and best of all, they allow my to pick the caterer.

I hesitate to write all this because our plans are a bit shaky at the moment. Because V. and I are such an unconventional couple, our wedding will be unconventional as well. There is no way around it.

Here are just some of the reasons why making any wedding plans freaks me out:

  • At $1,200+ a pop, plane tickets from BG to SLC are just too expensive for his family and friends, so we don’t think any of them will be able to attend. No best man. No groomsmen. Ugh. It sucks!
  • I refuse to burden my mother with wedding costs at the expense of her not being able to afford to travel to BG to meet V’s family and see his country. Unfortunately, my dad cannot be depended on to pitch in. It is more important to me that she is able to spend time in Bulgaria getting to know my in-laws.
  • If V. and I paid for everything ourselves (whether it’s a wedding in Utah or Bulgaria), we wouldn’t have much left to spend on my moving expenses, immigration costs (which are thousands of dollars), and for an apartment should we have to move to Plovdiv or Sofia for work.
  • I have never been big on being the center of attention. I may be loud and funny, but when it comes down to it, I am a pretty shy girl.
  • Lastly, when I really think about it, an elopement or very small wedding sounds quite appealing.

People keep asking me if I would regret my decision to elope 10 years from now if V. and I did go that route. I truly feel that I would not regret it. In an ideal world, my parents (or V. and I) would have plenty of money to spend on a wedding, plenty of time, and plenty of support. But as it stands, we have to deal with the circumstances at hand. And what it boils down to is this: I love Vince more than anything in this world. I want to be his wife. And ultimately, having a big production of a wedding does not make or break how devoted we are to each other, how bright our future is, or how awesome it is to be in a multi-cultural/ inter-faith marriage.

Can you tell I am thinking out loud? Maybe doing a little bit of justifying? I don’t know who I think I need to prove things to. Probably myself. Because really, what girl doesn’t dream of a big, fancy, production wedding?

Whatever Vince and I decide, I hope that my friends and family will be supportive and know that we love them and want them to be a part our wedding and our lives.

Decisions. Decisions.

( I better make some soon!)