Girl Meets Bulgaria

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


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Alaskan Winter Break-Up

Break up in #Alaska

This time of year in Alaska – when the snow and ice are melting into ankle-breaking piles of slush and sock-soaking frigid puddles – is known as “break-up.”

Break-up is a sure sign that spring is waking from its long slumber and will soon turn the white and dead landscape into a myriad of lush, beautiful colors.

One must deal with this rather unpleasant time of year in order to get to the gorgeous Alaskan summers which are, unfortunately, all too short-lived.

So here I am, reveling in the sight of asphalt and patches of brown grass. We may not get cherry or plum blossoms, bright daffodils, or delicate tulips, but spring here is beautiful and exciting, nonetheless!

Spring is here! Hurrah!

 


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A Visit to Vitosha

V & WCute pupSnowy creekFamily funLovely snowy sceneMoi

Vitosha is a large mountain on the outskirts of Sofia which is home to a small skiing resort, monastery, restaurants, and more. On this day (in mid-January) we were trying to reach Dragalevtsi Monastery but the roads were way too icy and snowy. There were also kids sledding down the – roads so trying to drive up them would have been crazy anyway. We decided to check the monastery out another day and just pose for some photos instead. There were people everywhere! It’s definitely a popular spot for locals on winter weekends!

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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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The Hobbit, Shopping, and a Visit to Sofia’s Christmas Market

I spend a lot of time indoors by myself these days, so when the weekends roll around I am more than ready to head out into the city for some fun.

This week was even more solitary than usual as Vince was out of town on business for a few days and then had to work on Saturday to make up for a day off awhile back (I will never understand this weird Bulgarian obligation to make up days off. How is it a day off if it has to be made up?). Anyway, by yesterday (Sunday) morning, I was dying to get outside and do something. Anything! 

On the agenda: shopping, The Hobbit, a visit to Sofia’s Christmas Market, and dinner.

Giant Christmas Tree in downtown SofiaMy mom is flying into Sofia on Friday to spend Christmas with us, so we had to go out and buy an extra pillow and a few other things. We hit up The Mall (yep, one of the malls in Sofia is named The Mall–clever or lazy? I can’t decide.) because we could do all our shopping and see the movie in one place. I usually avoid malls like the plague this time of year, but we braved the packed parking lots and masses of people to get what we needed at Carrefour.

After dropping everything off at our car, we headed back into the mall to the movie theater. I am a huge LOTR fan, so I knew I had to see The Hobbit on the big screen. I usually hate seeing movies in 3D, but apparently it was the only way they were showing the movie, so we donned our attractive glasses and settled in. I didn’t tell Vince that it was a 3-hour movie until it was too late for him to back out. He wasn’t too happy about the length but he ended up really enjoying the film. I did too.

Gandalf--The Hobbit

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First Snowfall in Sofia | Dec. 03, 2012

No view of Vitosha today!
It’s snowing in Sofia!

The Utah girl in me is excited to see the white stuff coming down, especially in big, beautiful flakes.

The other part of me, the one who lived through the horrible winter last year in Smolyan, is wishing it away for just a little longer.

I guess Mother Nature doesn’t care what I want and is doing her own thing.

It was hard dragging myself out of my warm blanket and off the couch to go out into the cold on the balconies; but I had to snap a few photos to mark the occasion of the first snowfall in Sofia for winter 2012.

Piling up

Snow on the rooftops

Snowy shops

I even shot a quick video!

(Sheesh, you’d think it was the first time in my life seeing snow!)

Wherever you are, I hope you are warm and safe and enjoying the holiday season.

Cheers,

W.

P.S. You can hover over each photo for a caption or click on the photo to be taken to my Flickr feed. There are lots more photos there!

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