Bulgaria gets a lot of bad press … it still has the stigma of communism attached to it and many people from the west think of Bulgaria as a cold, miserable place tucked away somewhere in Eastern Europe. Those who have heard of Bulgaria usually only know Sunny Beach, and although it’s great for Bulgarian tourism, this is really not the best representation of Bulgaria at all.
This explains why, when I tell people that I live in Bulgaria they usually think one of two things:
1. I’m an English tour rep in Sunny Beach.
2. I live in a village with no electricity and have chickens and goats in my back garden.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with either of these options but that’s not what I do here. My home in Bulgaria is in the capital city, Sofia, and I work here doing what I love the most, sales and marketing. People are not usually expecting that answer, possibly because they don’t imagine that Bulgaria has a busy capital city with a huge business park full of well known IT companies. It was a surprise for me too when I first visited Sofia, I didn’t expect the city to be so developed. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as developed as many other European cities, but in actual fact this gives Sofia a special charm in my opinion. It’s moved on enough to have a decent infrastructure including a good public transport network and all of your modern comforts however it’s still not quite like any other city in Europe. Sofia is quite unique.
And my love of Bulgaria doesn’t end in Sofia, far from it! The country is breathtakingly beautiful and the weather in Bulgaria is pretty good too! In the summer you can enjoy weekends on the Black Sea coast from May-September. In the winter you can embrace the cold and head into the mountains for some winter sports or you can enjoy the amazing natural hot mineral springs that are found all over Bulgaria!
Life in Bulgaria isn’t all roses (but did you know most of the worlds rose oil is produced here?!) but then where is? Bulgaria has a certain charm and I think it’s one of those places that people either love or hate, there seems to be no in between. Living here can be difficult, particularly if you need to learn the language. The Cyrillic alphabet is not easy to read and it takes a lot of time to get yourself familiar with that! Two years on and I barely speak Bulgarian, I manage with the basics and I have a Bulgarian partner so this makes things a lot easier but I could still do with learning the language properly. Even if I move to work abroad again, I plan to always have a home in Bulgaria so I will get to the language soon I’m sure. When I start studying I will share my progress and frustrations with you! You also have to get used to the driving here. I’m fine with driving on the wrong side of the road but Bulgarians drive quite aggressively and are always in a hurry so if you hesitate for a second you’ll get all sorts of abuse! Saying that, it’s nothing more than a few swear words and hand gestures so you shouldn’t let it bother you. In general Bulgarians are really friendly people. Sometimes I’ll be in the supermarket and the person next to me will strike up a conversation about washing powder, this just doesn’t happen in London! BulgarianPod101.com – Learn Bulgarian with Free Podcasts
Definitely the good far outweighs the bad though. I love my home in Sofia and I enjoy exploring the rest of the country as much as time allows me to. I believe that there will be a lot of opportunities in Bulgaria in the coming years and I’m really excited to be a part of this progress. I also plan to visit all the surrounding countries as I’m sure there are many more amazing places to be explored in this region. I’ve already started with Romania and that was another pleasant surprise!
If you’re interested to learn more about my life in Bulgaria you can take a look at www.eatstaylovebulgaria.com where I blog all about my travels here!