Girl Meets Bulgaria

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


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First Week

I’ve been back in Alaska for a week now and what a week it has been!

A nice note outside my office. #newjob #awarmwelcome

Over the past seven days I:

-traveled from Utah to Alaska

-moved into our summer room at the lodge

-started my new year round job with Princess

-delighted in the fact that I now have a “big kid” job (and even my own office!)

-ventured into Trapper Creek for a mail run and coffee treat

-breathed a sigh of relief when Vince passed through immigration at Salt Lake City International – my man is now a permanent U.S. resident!

and just generally reveled in being back in one of my favorite places on earth

Never going to get sick of seeing this beautiful mountain! Can't believe I live here! #mckinley #alaskaA quiet Friday night. #tgif #silent #alaska #sorelaxing

The only thing missing is my sweet hubs.

Thank goodness he gets here in just a few days!

W.

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Welcome Home, Vince!

He's home!Today was a great day.

Today my husband, Ventsislav, entered the U.S. and became a permanent resident (Green Card holder).

Today a journey nearly 5 years in the making came to an end.

. . .

We could not be more thrilled to be starting the next phase of our life together.

After spending a few days in Utah with my family, Vince will be joining me here in our new home in Alaska.

Today… I am one happy lady!

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On Food

I love Bulgarian food, don’t get me wrong. But this time around, I got a little sick of the same things over and over and I longed for the variety that America provides.

(this variety and the enormous American portions are precisely why I am less than svelte!)

Since being back in Utah, I have eaten pretty much everything I craved while in Bulgaria. This, of course, means that I have had pizza (more than once), Mexican, Italian, Thai, and random junk food and candy.Lunch date with mom and Sher. #deliciousthai #yum #welikeitspicyBeer and a pie at Flat Bread Neapolitan PizzaThe BEST lemonade in the world!Cafe Rio pork burrito

The novelty is quickly wearing off and I find myself wanting my mother-in-law’s bean soup, baklava, mekitsi, and…well… pretty much everything she makes!

Alaska poses some challenges when it comes to food. Vince and I will not have our own full kitchen in our room in employee housing at the lodge. We will have a mini-fridge and microwave. During the summer not having a kitchen isn’t much of a concern as we will be eating in the employee dining room and there are TONS of options. When winter rolls around, however, and the lodge is closed…making all our meals college dorm-style is going to be interesting!

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Spring in Salt Lake

Happy to be back amongst these gorgeous mountains! #saltlake #utah #rockies #mountainloverUtah weather is fickle. It can be sunny and beautiful one day and then snowy any gray the next. I’ve lived in Salt Lake City (err… a suburb of the city, anyway) all my life, but I am still not used to sudden weather changes.

#supposedtobespring #utahweatherTrees in my brother's backyard. #trees #sky #isthisspring?

When I got back to SLC about a week and a half ago, the weather was gorgeous. The first day of spring brought rain and snow. After such a mild winter in Bulgaria this year, I was actually a little glad to get to experience some real Utah snow. Even with the cold snap, spring is still making an appearance.
#beautiful #spring #flowersEven with the recent snowfall, Spring is still making a show! #utah #saltlake #springflowersDespite the cold, Spring is making an appearance!While the weather is sure to warm up quickly here, I can’t say the same for Alaska – where I am headed this weekend.

Over the weekend, Trapper Creek (my new home!) got over 3 feet of snow. With winter weather advisories still in place for parts of the state, it looks like Spring is still a glimmer in the distance for the 49th state!

I’m a little stressed because my winter boots and wool coat are in Bulgaria. It looks like I will have to make do with whatever I can scrounge up at my mom’s house for a few weeks!

How is Spring doing where you are? 

W.

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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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Fun Times Ahead

Whew! It feels like my mom just left and we already have another guest arriving from the states!

K, my friend/boss (and fellow Utah girl) flies into Sofia tomorrow afternoon. We’ve got some fun things planned for her 2-week visit.

On Saturday Vince, K, and myself are heading down to spend the night in Plovdiv. A group of about 20 Denali peeps are getting together for food, drinks, and good company. I am sure the horo will be danced at some point as well; most likely post-drinks! I haven’t seen everyone since leaving Alaska at the end of September, so it should be a good time.

Then Sunday Vince will head back to Sofia while K. and I catch a night bus (slightly scary prospect) to Istanbul. We’re meeting another friend in the city for 4 days of adventures, including consuming a ridiculous amount of baklava and Turkish coffee! I’ve been to Istanbul before but only for a day on our first Med. cruise. It was actually one of the biggest surprises of the trip; completely different than I had envisioned. And the Grand Bazaar? I am still trying to wrap my mind around it!

I am really excited to be able to see some things I missed last time around; such as the cisterns, spice market, and maybe even a whirling dervish show!

After that it’s exploring Sofia and maybe a weekend trip to Rila or Koprivshtitsa (if we can talk Vince into being our chauffeur!).

It’ll probably be a little quiet around these parts for the next few weeks as I play hostess, but I’ll be back soon enough!

W.

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2012: A Year in Review

2012_blog

It’s hard to believe that 2012 is coming to a close. This year has been very eventful indeed and saw me moving from America to Bulgaria, confronting life (and a fair amount of culture shock) as a new expat, exploring my new home, venturing back to Denali, Alaska for a third summer working for Princess Cruises; time spent at home in Utah with friends and family, another leap across the pond to Bulgaria, and reveling in a ridiculous amount of incredible travels.

While part of me is sad to see such a jam-packed year pass, the rest of me is looking forward to the BIG changes and adventures that 2013 holds. There is already a lot in the works and Vince and I are excited for everything to come.

As I reflect back on 2012 and all that I have experienced, I wanted to share some of the highlights from this year that made their way into blog posts.

(It’s a long one guys!)

January:

February:

March:

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