Girl Meets Bulgaria

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


Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving cheer distributed for men in service. New York City turned host to the boys in service today and cared for every man in uniform. Underwood and Underwood: ca. 1918

Today Vince and I are celebrating Thanksgiving at sea. We are somewhere between Italy and Greece, soakin’ up the Mediterranean sun.

Well, I’m thinking about celebrating Thanksgiving. Vince doesn’t have a clue what the holiday is (yet), so he’s just providing moral support.

This is the first Thanksgiving that I have ever spent away from my family back home in Utah.


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Welcome, November!

Hello, November!

SO glad to see you! Sit down and stay awhile!

Your arrival brings some pretty cool things for this girl…

First, I am finally heading back to be with my love in our new home in Bulgaria. *Fingers crossed* these past 7 months will be the last we ever spend apart. This month we will be settling into our new apartment, exploring our new home of Sofia, and just generally enjoying being back together. Our relationship has been anything but conventional, but we’re ready to make it just that. No more of this long distance stuff for us!

Second, I’ll be celebrating another year of life. Yep, 27 is coming up fast! I am definitely well on my way to 30 now and, quite frankly, it’s a daunting prospect. BUT, I truly feel like our lives are going along full steam ahead and our long term goals are slowly, but surely, being tackled. The next year holds some incredible journeys for us and we can’t wait!

Third, lots of amazing travels are coming up! Soon after I land in Sofia we’ll be heading down to Smolyan for a quick weekend visit with the parentals. We’ll likely spend some time at our country house in Elhovets as well (I can’t wait to see all the new renovations). As much as I am going to love living on our own, in our own space, in Sofia; I know I am going to miss Smolyan (and my MIL’s cooking) a lot.

The weekend after visiting Smolyan, Vince and I are off on our long awaited honeymoon! We’re going to spend a few days bee-boppin’ around The Eternal City (good ol’ Roma) before setting sail on a 12-day Mediterranean cruise. I’m so excited that I can’t even think about it anymore; it just makes me giddy as a school girl. I had originally hoped to cook Vince an amazing American-style Thanksgiving feast, but we’ll be on the ship over the holiday, so I will just let them do all the cooking (can’t say that I am too put out about that!).  Our last Mediterranean cruise was great, but not romantic in the least as my mom and friend accompanied us. This time…IT’S ALL US! Candlelit dinners over wine, long walks on deserted decks, kissy time in hot tubs…here we come!

November, you’ve always been one of my favorite months and, I have to say, this year…you definitely take the cake!


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This year I am participating in BlogHer’s National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo). The goal is to write and post daily. I am sure that I’ll miss a few days, especially when I’m on the ship, but I’m going to do my best to post as much as I can (even if they are just little daily snippet’s from my iPod or Kindle).

If you are participating, please feel free to post a link in the comments below. I’d love to stop by and check out what you’ve got going!


Black Friday

As I write this, I am still trying to recover – both physically and mentally – from my Black Friday shopping adventures.

First, let me say that I am not a huge shopper. That’s not to say that I don’t know how to spend money, no that’s never been a problem for me, unfortunately (just ask my husband). What I mean is that I don’t enjoy that hunt for a so-called ‘fantastic’ bargain.

Until Thursday night, I had never been to any post-Thanksgiving doorbuster sales. I was a Black Friday virgin. Somehow, being trampled by throngs of stressed out housewives, aggressive men, old ladies, and mouthy teenagers all in an attempt to save a few dollars on something useless, never seemed like a productive way to spend an evening/early morning.

How then did I find myself pushing my way through a Walmart at 10pm at night? Well, a temporary bout of insanity is all I can come up with as I sit amongst the aftermath (piles of shopping bags on my bedroom floor).

My friend A. convinced me to go with her, and as my turkey-coma was starting to wear off, I thought I had the energy (I was sorely mistaken) and maybe it would be good for me to try something new.

I hadn’t looked at a single ad. I did not need anything. But boy howdy, when hundreds of people are rushing a pallet of Rubbermaid containers, some fundamental human need for a set of nesting Tupperware must take over, because the nest thing I knew I too was rushing towards the boxes. There was nothing I wouldn’t do to get my hands on that 30-piece set of amazingness*.

*Turns out the containers are actually really cool and I will be taking them with me to Bulgaria. Vince has a lack of food storage options, in my opinion!

A., too walked out with the $6.00 set of Rubbermaids and we made our way past the hundreds of cars back to where we had parked (illegally along the road).

Next, A. thought we should hit up Target, which didn’t open its doors until midnight and, thus, already sported an enormous line that wrapped around the entire building.

By this point, Rubbermaids nestled safely away in the back of A’s SUV, I had had enough and realized this Black Friday business definitely wasn’t for me – I would much rather be home in my bed, warm and cozy.

But I couldn’t abandon A., so we waited (read froze) in the 2 hour line.

All in all, it was an orderly affair. I have to give props to the employees (and massive amount of cops) at the Target. They kept the peace, made sure people stayed out of the road, and didn’t let everyone stampede the doors when they finally opened.

When A. and I were allowed in, I made a mad dash towards the electronics department. From the time we were at Walmart, my aunt had been calling me to see if I could get my hands on a Wii for my 6 year old cousin. No luck at Walmart, where there was a huge line inside the store just for the Wiis.

Target came through for me and I was able to snatch one up.

After A. grabbed a few things, we found ourselves in yet another winding line to checkout. Unfortunately for me, said line wound its way through the cosmetics and toiletries section when I just had to pick up a few more things, of course (inset face palm here).

Overall, the lengths I saw people go to (like camping out for 2 days at Target for a flat screen TV) to “save” money shocked me.

I stood in awe the entire time just trying to figure out why people do this. I’m still clueless!

Weirdly, even after waiting for hours with nothing to show for it, I heard a lot of people saying they love Black Friday and think it’s fun. FREAKS! 😉 American materialism at its best, I suppose.

I am glad that I was able to help my aunt and uncle out and spend a few hours with one of my closest friends, but it was a harrowing experience that I don’t care to repeat any time soon.

I think I’ll go lie down now (and lovingly eye my Rubbermaids), 🙂




Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s 1:02 am and I just finished a marathon baking session. As I am wide awake, I thought I would write a quick blog post wishing all my readers a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Even if you don’t celebrate the holiday, I still want you to know that I am very thankful to have you stopping by my little ole’ blog. I truly appreciate it. The comments and support I have gotten over the past year have most definitely made the prospect of packing up my life and moving across an ocean seem a little less daunting.

In the spirit of the holiday, I’d also like to mention that I am ever thankful for:

  • My husband. Without whom I wouldn’t be about to take this grand journey in life.
  • My mom. Whose love, support, and acceptance these past few years has gotten me to where I am today.
  • My friends and family. Whose love (on a daily basis) and enthusiastic support of my decision to move has shown me how much they care for me and for Vince. This may be my last Thanksgiving with you for a while, but know I will think of you often.

This year, more than ever, I have so much to be thankful for in my life.

It most certainly does not go unnoticed.

So, wherever you happen to find yourself today, dear reader, take the time to count your blessings. I sure count you as one of mine!

Much love,



P.S. In case you were wondering, I made:


Praline Sweet Potatoes


Forgotten Kiss Cookies (which I found on Pinterest)

There's a Hershey's Kiss hiding inside them! (via for recipe)

They look much better when all packaged up.



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Why Hello There, November!

It’s hard to believe that it is already November.

Time sure is a flyin’!

A week from today I will be on my way to Chicago, where I will  see the sights, walk my butt off (it needs it!), eats yummy food, take countless photos, and celebrate my 26th birthday!

Before I know it Thanksgiving will be here and that means more family time! I try to value every little moment as these may well be the last holidays I spend in Utah for a few years. *Tear*

The weather in Utah has suddenly shifted from crisp fall to the beginnings of frigid winter. Snow is predicted any day now.

Next month I move to Bulgaria. Yowza! After over three years of planning and hoping, it’s finally happening!

My goal, in the midst of the soon-to-be moving frenzy, is to take the time to relax and enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family. I am all too tempted to wish they would just come and go so I can jump on a plane (and fly a ridiculously long time) to Bulgaria. We’ll see how well that goes!

If I know what’s good for me I will also spend the next two months “taking care of business.” As in: clean and organize my things (of which I have far too many) and sell those things that I no longer need/want. I have a huge stash of crafting and scrapbooking supplies that I hope to purge before my move. Not only are they just sitting in boxes gather dust, but I need some movin’ money!

So, that’s my plan for the next 8 weeks… Soak up family and friend time and de-clutter my life.

Wish me luck!






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Holy Cow

It’s November!

I love this month for many reasons: crunchy leaves on the ground, crisp fall air, Thanksgiving (and the yummy foods and treats that accompany it), and my birthday!

Fall is my favorite season by far. Utah is really beautiful this time of year. It is beautiful in every season, but especially in the fall.

Beautiful Salt Lake City

We had some crazy early snow fall in October, but nothing yet in November, thank goodness!

But not everything is pumpkin pie and whipped cream…

This month has brought more uncertainty to my move to Bulgaria.

Originally, the plan was to work in Alaska from May-September, get married in the U.S. in September, apply for a long stay Type-D Bulgarian visa, and move. End of story.

Now, however, V. has got a good job prospect in BG and we are rethinking working in Alaska. Good jobs are especially hard to come by in the town where he lives, so the news that he may be hired for a supervisor position with advancement potential  is great news.

Our situation is tough and we are having a hard time deciding what the best path is.

We have discussed applying for a fiancée visa for V. It’s the easiest option and he would be here in the U.S. not long after applying (and being approved, obviously).  But… I truly want to live in Bulgaria for at least a year. I want to get to know V’s family and friends. I want to learn the language. I want to travel the country and experience what Bulgaria is really like.

Ideally, I would like to stay there a couple of years, maybe even long enough to get citizenship.


I won’t ramble on anymore. I am working on a post about what I’ve learned so far about the different visas and the immigration process, watch for that.

For now, however, I am just going to enjoy November and send good vibes out into the universe and ask that things turn out how they are supposed to turn out.