Girl Meets Bulgaria

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


Честита Баба Марта! (Happy Grandma March!) 2012

One year ago today, I wrote this post about Baba Marta (Grandma March) and how much I liked the holiday, even though I had never been in Bulgaria to celebrate it.

Well, my friends, that changed today! It’s March 1st!

The martenitsi have been out in full force on every street corner, but we have only gotten a few so far (which Vince’s mom gave us).

Pizho and Penda are my favorite!


Modeling some of our martenitsi

Once things warm up again and we can take a walk to the city center, I’ll be picking up some more. I am a sucker for accessories, so a holiday/month that is all about them? Yes please!

The spring-like weather from last week has turned into full on snow storms again this week.

The weird thing is that (until yesterday) it would be sunny one minute and snowing the next. But the overall trend was warmer weather and melting snow. Vince said this is Grandma March (being the woman that she is), crying one second and smiling the next. Basically, he is saying the women are emotional. I didn’t know whether to argue with him or agree!

There was no back and forth yesterday, it was nothing but snow and wind.

In addition to Baba Marta, March also brings another Bulgarian holiday.

March 8th in Bulgaria is International Women’s Day, a national holiday. Similar to Mother’s Day in the U.S., it has come to be a holiday focused on mothers. However, it’s really a celebration of all women.

Bulgarian men buy flowers for the women in their lives. Hmm. We’ll see how Vince does with this one!

He’s gotten me flowers for my birthday a few times and even brought some to the airport for me when I visited BG for the first time back in 2009. So I’m sure he’ll do a good job picking some out.

It’s looks like March is going to have some cool things in store for me. I am so happy to be here. Finally!

Celebrating holidays and learning new traditions is, in my opinion, one of the greatest parts of being an expat.

I am trying to enjoy every moment I am here as I will be returning to the U.S. at the end of the month. I’ll be spending a month in Utah visiting my fam and then it’s off to Alaska for the summer. But I’ll be back in Bulgaria in the fall, never fear

To all my Bulgarian friends, hope you are enjoying the day and are as excited for spring as I am!




Done with Winter

Surprise, surprise it’s snowing like mad again in Smolyan (and southern BG in general).

I am beginning to feel like a broken record with all these updates and complaints about the snow and crummy weather.

I’m finished with winter and am kindly asking it to take its leave.

It doesn’t help to hear from family and friends back home that Salt Lake City has had near zero snowfall this winter and the days are getting warm and spring-like.

Vince and I have plans to spend out first Valentines Day as a married couple shopping, dining, and watching a movie in Plovdiv. But we don’t want a repeat of our nightmare driving home from Sofia, so we may put our V-Day festivities on hold until the sun finally decides it wants to grace us with its presence–I am thinking sometime in March, probably right as I am flying out of Sofia!

As I write this the thick, heavy fog is obscuring everything more than a few feet from our living room window. Combine that with the huge snowflakes, and I almost feel as if I am trapped in a giant snow globe that someone has shaken up, with bits of ice swirling all around me.

It might be a lovely scene if it wasn’t one that I have experienced for nearly the last two months!

Keeping my spirits up these days is the thought of Baba Marta (Баба Марта) and my first martenitsa. I plan on making some to give to family and friends (an excuse to finally let out some creative energy). Martenitsi signify the coming of spring and, hopefully, the arrival of warmer weather.


Until then, I will be found wearing any number of my fuzzy socks, drinking what feels like my billionth cup of piping hot coffee, and gazing longingly out the windows for those first few glorious signs of spring.



Честита Баба Марта (Happy Baba Marta)!

Today is another one of those days where I really wish I were in Bulgaria.


Because it’s Grandma March Day (Baba Marta)!

The holiday, celebrated on March 1st, is usually marked by the gifting and wearing of Martenitsa.

Martenitsa are always red and white

For some reason I really dig this holiday. Maybe it’s the crafter in me.  A few weeks ago I bought some red and white yarn to make some Martenitsa. I especially wanted to make these:

The little dolls are known as Pizho (male) and Penda (female).

I’ll have to post some pics of my epic failure in making them. I did crochet some regular bracelets, however. I don’t really know what the rules are for making Martenitsa for yourself. From what I read you should never buy them for yourself but I can’t find anything about making them.

Martenitsa are typically worn until the end of March or until the wearer sees a stork or a budding tree. Then, you take off the Martenitsa and tie it to a tree. Vince says some people also put them under rocks.

What a colorful holiday!

I can’t wait to be in Bulgaria next year celebrating my first Baba Marta!