Girl Meets Bulgaria

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


A Saturday Afternoon

people watching on a Saturday afternoon

Today I am balancing the urgent need to prepare for our trip with the desire to be completely lazy.

So far, both sides are pretty neck and neck.

(it helps having an ambitious man around to get tasks done!)

I dragged myself out of bed and away from the great book I’ve been reading (A Light Between Oceans) in order to write up a few blog posts. I am setting them to auto-post while we’re away. I hate to have things go completelyquiet around here for 2 weeks. And I’m sitting on some great stuff that I have been dying to share.

But, oh! How very excited I am to be leaving for 2 WHOLE WEEKS! Fourteen days! A fortnight! Etc., etc., etc.

It’s about damn time my husband and I took our honeymoon!

Because it is utterly unromantic, my laptop (and all the time-sucks it contains) is staying at home. But I will be taking my Kindle and iPod. So there may a few short updates and blurbs from me here and there whenever I can snag a few minutes alone with some wi-fi (images of a quaint piazza-side café, espresso/gelato/beer in hand, children laughing and playing–a girl can dream, right?!).

Please keep your lovely comments and emails coming. I won’t be able to approve comments (yep, I still moderate–have had some creeps lately) or reply to everything right away, but I promise I will as soon as I can.

Well, I better get back to editing photos and writing blog posts (not to mention packing). I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday Saturday (cripes, I don’t even know what day it is!) afternoon.

Really. NO sarcasm intended!

Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend.


P.S. If you’d like to see what I’m reading, connect with me on Goodreads. I’m always on the hunt for my next read, so I will definitely follow you back.

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Another Journey, Another Packing Adventure

I moved most of my stuff to Bulgaria last December; so this time around my packing list is shorter but also a bit more specific.

(Oh, but I will still obsess over it and put off actually packing until the absolute last minute!)

I generally know now what I can and cannot find in BG. I also know what things make good gifts for my family.

There’s no reason for me to stock up on many of the things that I did last time around. I am set on Ziplocs, clothes, kitchen ware, and toiletries. Let me tell you, I am extremely thankful not to be lugging over another heavy pizza stone and Tupperware!

What things are making it into my suitcase and that dreaded 50 lb. limit? Well let’s see…

  • Another case of tampons. Sorry, BG, I’m still not into scented, non-applicator feminine products!
  • A couple of bottles of the world’s best hot sauce: Chohula. I love it. My MIL LOVES it (and used up the bottle I brought in just a few days).
  • Three (YES, 3!) vegetable peelers. I took one over in December and apparently it’s a big hit. I have requests from my in-laws, by brother-in-law, and his gf for one. Easy-peasy gifts if you ask me!
  • Instant oatmeal packets. These were a big hit too. Vince inhaled them before I could even have more than a bowl or two. I know oatmeal is available in BG, but I haven’t seen the instant packets anywhere and I find them convenient as I rarely eat breakfast and usually just go for something quick when I do.
  • Maple syrup. Yet another request from the hubs. He can’t get enough of the stuff.
  • Crochet supplies. I am in the middle of two afghans at the moment and I hope to fit all the yarn and needles in my suitcases so that I can finish them over the long winter ahead. If I had endless amounts of room and no weight limit, I’d also bring along my jewelry-making supplies, my paper crafting stuff, and supplies to make martenitsi–too bad that’s NEVER going to happen!

I think living in Sofia will make things a lot easier. There are larger grocery and department store chains there, including a Debenhams opening at the end of the month in yet another new mall, Bulgaria Mall. And there’s always good ol’ IKEA. I’m sure that we’ll be able to find everything we need.


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Another Summer, Another Bout of Craziness

Sorry I’ve been a bit MIA here and on my Facebook page the past few weeks.

Between preparing for my summer move to Alaska, worrying about my sick grandma (going to Nevada tomorrow to see her), and cramming in as much time with friends as family as I can; things have been nuts.

Hopefully I will be back up and running with new posts in a week or so.

I fly to Fairbanks on Tuesday. I’ll be spending 2 nights there at the Princess hotel. I am looking forward to a few days to relax and prepare my mind for the crazy summer ahead. The transfer for all us supervisors and managers to Denali will be on Thursday.

I am still not fully packed. My bedroom needs a good cleaning. This last-minute trip to Nevada comes at a really bad time, but I am excited to visit my Grandma and see how she’s doing (and make sure my Gpa is eating and sleeping).

But…things will work out. They always do.

Talk to ya’ll soon.


P.S. To all you blog lurkers/creepers out there (*ahem–my mom’s friends*), come out of the dark and leave me a comment, will ya?!


Last Minute Chores

I slept in a little later than I probably should have this morning; but it felt amazing!

Weirdly, I am going to miss my little twin-sized air bed.

Yep, for the past 3 months I have been crashing on an aero bed on my bedroom floor.

Why, you ask? Well, right before I left for Alaska in May, I gave my bed to my cousin. She was in need of a “big girl” bed and I was moving anyway, so she got it.

I still like to visit it (read: pass out on it) sometimes when I am at my aunt and uncles house.

Come Thursday I will be sharing a full-sized bed with a very sweet Bulgarian. Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond stoked for that, but I can’t help but feel a little twinge of sadness to be saying goodbye to my own bed, even if it is just an air mattress.

Anywho, back to the point of this post…

I still have quite a lot to do and not enough time (I have to be at the airport at 9am tomorrow morning).

It probably doesn’t help that I slept in and am now writing a blog post.

Here’s a list of a few things I still need to do before boarding a jet plane tomorrow morning:

  • Pack (only one suitcase left!)
  • Finish cleaning my room
  • Go get all my money out of my personal bank account then close Vince and I’s joint account. No more Wells Fargo. Yay!
  • Visit with my friend A. to give her her Christmas gift
  • Visit with my cousin to say goodbye (I am going to tear up)
  • Make sure I have all my documents out in case I need my mom to do anything while I am gone (apostillations, translations, etc)
  • Find a missing earring. It’s one of my favs. Can’t leave home without it!
  • Sew up the little hole in my travel pillow

This has probably been my most interesting post to date, don’t you think? 😉

I promise more interesting stuff is headed your way.

(Can anyone say recipe for the BEST bean soup in the entire world?!–Yep, that’s coming up soon!)

Until tomorrow, my friends.



Pack, Pack, Packin’ Away

After yet another day of putting off packing (I spent the day sleeping in, going to lunch with a friend, and shopping with my mom), it’s high time I got down to business and got my packing over with.

Too bad I am also planning on going back out tonight to spend time with my best friend and her husband who are visiting from out of town.

I mentioned before that I want to be packed by tomorrow night, preferably tomorrow afternoon, that way I can just sit back, relax, and enjoy Christmas.

Obviously it’s not going so well.

I do the same thing every time I travel: stress for days (ok, weeks) about what to take and what not to take, destroy my bedroom, and finally throw everything in the suitcases at the last minute before stealing a couple of hours of sleep before heading to the airport.

Yeah. And that’s just when I go on a trip for a couple of weeks. I am moving this time. It’s a Christmas miracle that I am still sane enough to be writing this.

Is there a name for it, this packing phobia?

According to the always authoritative wikianswers, yes. It’s called Sarcina Phobia.

So there.

It’s times like these I wish I were tight with the Queen Bee know it all, Oprah Winfrey.

Oprah is the authority on everything, right? 😉

Here are some of her favorite packing tips!

Oh, and just for good measure, here’s a cute video of a kitten being surprised.

Don’t say I never gave you anything!

(Yes, I will clearly do just about anything to avoid packing, including perusing Oprah’s website. Someone please help me!)

So that’s that. My irrational fear of packing coupled with extreme laziness has left me in the situation I currently find myself in…


Yes, that is a knife block. I am taking an entire set of knives (wedding gift).


To be fair, this was a preliminary shoving of a bunch of crap into a suitcase to see if it came in under 50 lbs. It did. Thank God.

Now I just have to take it all out and repack in a more organized fashion.

Oh, then do it all again for my second suitcase.

Good times. Noodle Salad.


P.S. This is the last post I will write about packing. You all probably love reading about my adventures in packing as much as I love doing it, so enough is enough!




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When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.– Susan Heller

A wise woman,  Susan Heller (whoever that is).

Too bad I am utterly incapable of following such sound advice.

My room is an explosion of shopping bags and clothes.

Now to organize it all, stuff it into 2 suitcases, and pray everything weighs less than 100 lbs. And all by Christmas Eve.

Wish me luck.

I am going to need it!




Tampons, Peanut Butter, and Ziploc bags

Yep. All things I am planning on taking with me to Bulgaria.

Vince thinks I am crazy (he’s probably right), but I’d rather lug an extra few pounds in my bags than find myself in BG with only scented, applicator-less tampons–ick!

(Thanks, Karolinka, for the tip on tampons!)

More than once he has told me, “We don’t live in the jungle! You can buy it all here!”

He’s so cute! I know there are no jungles in Bulgaria! 😉

The Ziplocs and peanut butter just come as a result of a few blogs I have read. Peanut butter is available, although I hear it’s a bit hard to find and is rather “expensive.” Ziploc bags (or anything similar), from what I have read, are not available in Bulgaria. So, if I have the space, why not take them?

However, with the way I tend to pack, extra space is a rare thing. I suppose it comes down to priorities.

The tampons are a must, but the funny thing is, I don’t like peanut butter all that much, and I cannot imagine needing plastic bags very often. Still, the little bit of OCD-Whitney in me just won’t be comfortable flying 30,000 feet in the air knowing a jar of peanut butter and boxes of Ziploc baggies (in various sizes) aren’t tucked safely away in my suitcases.

I’m a weirdo.

Other than a few random kitchen/cooking items, I consider the rest of my packing list to be pretty normal: warm clothes to get me through the winter, my electronic gadgets, wedding photos for the in-laws, and essential sundries/toiletries–including a jumbo, Costco box of Tampax, to be sure!

Another post on my adventures in packing is sure to come.

I am breaking out in hives just thinking about that 50 lb. limit.

Until then,