Looky here. Instead of giving myself something made of tin – the traditional 10-year anniversary gift – I gave myself a new website instead.
(What the hell kind of anniversary gift is tin anyway? What tinny item could possibly articulate, ‘I love you, babe. Thanks for 10 years of marriage.’ A tin of caviar perhaps? A new tin roof for the shed? I’m stumped.)
Anyway, yeah, this marks 10 years of writing Auntie Bulgaria. A quarter of my life. As someone who faithfully started a new journal every January when I was a child, then every year without fail gave it up by mid-January, this represents an impressive level of commitment. It’s almost my longest-running relationship, me and this blog.
As with any relationship, there have been good years (like every blogger, I bounded into it, enthusiastically posting 10 times a week at first) and lean years (2014. Only four posts. Ouch). But in the words of Elton John, ‘I’m still standing, better than I ever did. Despite all the booze and blokes.’ Or something like that. Still here, basically, like a stubborn verruca.
I don’t know about you, but it’s been a funny old decade. It probably didn’t feel like it back then, but 2010 seems like such an innocent time. Facebook was still fun. Trump was just a reality TV host, nothing more than the American Alan Sugar. The UK was part of the EU. I hadn’t yet heard of visceral fat. Good times. Even better, Rob and I were on the verge of realising our dream of buying a house in Bulgaria. The world seems to have got madder and darker since then. But at least we pulled it off, our rose-tinted dream that had family and friends thinking we were crazy. And I’ve been documenting it all here, like the mad, list-writing harridan I am, for 10 years.
How has the last decade changed us? We’re older, obviously, a good deal achier, and perhaps a little more worn down than we were (or maybe that’s just the 2020 talking). But we’re also more practical, relaxed, patient – I mean, you just have to be in Bulgaria – and just generally happier. I *think* I’m a better person for experiencing life here. And I’m just so bloody grateful to Bulgaria for wrapping us up in its warm, sour cabbage-smelling embrace and shielding us from out there.
Bulgaria has also changed A LOT since 2010. Sofia has become as cosmopolitan as any major European city, without losing its Eastern-Euro charm. Our local town has benefitted from some EU funding and is looking slicker and shinier. We now have a T-Market supermarket 10 miles from home, which is way better than the 50-mile round trip we used to endure for a big food shop. Hell, we can buy avocados pretty much anywhere. And soya milk. And chia seeds. Chia seeds! I remember the days when we couldn’t even find regular dairy milk (as in, non-UHT) in most local shops.
Even the roads are getting better. Slowly.
I hope Bulgaria doesn’t change too much more over the next 10 years. I’m happy with my easy-access soya milk and avocados. Let’s not get any more developed, Bulgaria. Let’s not get to the point where everyone buys shit they don’t need on credit and has to devote their lives to paying off a 35-year mortgage. If that happens, then where will I have to move to? Mongolia? I don’t want to move to Mongolia at the age of 50. I don’t want to be Auntie Mongolia.
Bringing it back to the point of this post – which is, *peers over her glasses*, oh yes, 10 years of blogging, I hope you like Auntie Bulgaria’s new look. Bookmark this page and keep coming back for more Bulgarian nonsense, courgette counting, cat pics and gardening bore stuff. Tell a friend. Tell your mum. (Actually, don’t tell your mum. Not unless she’s comfortable with frequent F-bombs.) Tell me what you enjoy most about the blog, or what you’d like to see more of. Thanks, I’m needy, love me, thanks. And above all, thanks for following our story. You absolute legends, you.
Aw shucks! So that also marks 10 years of my weird hobby – stalking a dozen expats’ blogs and dropping inappropriate comments when least expected… or, you know… appropriate.
So here’s to another 10 years of excellent writing and stalking!
Oh and by the way, the new front page is *fabulous*!
(said in the voice of Mark Aiken as Ben in “Black Books” S01E03 “Grapes of Wrath”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knHrleTNu2I )
Thanks, Bobby, and here’s to another 10 years of your ever-enjoyable comments, appropriate or otherwise. Full marks for the Black Books reference! God, I loved Black Books.
Love this Claire . Missed coming out this year . Especially seeing the mountains lol ( only joking)!Hopefully will b able to visit again soon . Working shortly so will read some more later . V entertaining
Ah, thanks, Sharon. We’ve really missed having visitors this year! Fingers crossed for a visit in 2021.