Friday, February 19, 2010

A Year in Bulgaria

This week marked the end of my first year in Bulgaria. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a year, on the other hand, sometimes I feel like I’ve been here forever!

So, how to sum up the year? To start with, we’ve had some amazing experiences – we’ve had a chance to travel around the country – and most of it is very pretty – from the mountains and the forests and to the seaside. We’ve enjoyed visiting the “Old Towns” of Bulgaria and seeing architecture that is very different than anything we have known before. We’re looking forward to continuing our travels once the weather warms up.

Along with the traveling in Bulgaria, we’ve also managed to get out of the country – to Rome, Bucharest, Macedonia and Budapest. Bulgaria is ideally located for travelling to other countries at an affordable price – and weekends give us a chance for small getaways.

We’ve enjoyed learning about the Bulgarian customs and holidays – you are able to absorb so much more by actually living in a foreign country than when you are just a tourist. We appreciate all of our Bulgarian friends who have taught us so much about their lives and customs – they have enriched our lives also by sharing with us. I hope that we have also been able to give them something in return by comparing notes on how we celebrate some of our holidays.

We’ve made some wonderful new friends, and made some interesting acquaintances that we may never have had a chance to meet in our normal lives.

The language has been a challenge – we took lessons in Bulgarian, but don’t really feel that we have made much progress in 1 year. Maybe by the end of our second year, we’ll be able to hold a simple conversation!

I have to mention the weather – I have discovered that I really DON’T LIKE SNOW! It’s pretty for a day or two, but a whole winter of it is by far too much for me! I guess that one of the lessons that I have learned is to appreciate the Israeli winters, which I was always so critical of beforehand. I’ve even come to like rain! The one good thing about the winter – is the spring that comes at the end! Spring in Bulgaria is beautiful – flowering fruit trees, beautiful weather – even Sofia looks pretty in the spring!

Living away from our family and friends has also given Ellis and me a chance to experience a different life together as a couple. This is the first time we’ve lived in a city and an apartment. We enjoy the convenience of being able to walk to a nearby restaurant, or to decide at the last minute to see a movie. There is a lot to explore, and we enjoy sharing the discoveries together. We never know when something new or different will happen, and it’s an adventure to be able to share these experiences with each other.

The hardest part of being here is being away from our family and friends – we miss all of them, and eagerly wait for our vacations in Israel in order to “charge the batteries”. And we know that it will be even harder for us, once our first grandchild will be born in April. But, this also gives us something wonderful to look forward to!

So, as we start our second year in Bulgaria, we are looking forward to more travelling and meeting new people and more exciting adventures!

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