Plugging back in

by | Dec 22, 2021 | Bulgarian life | 4 comments

Long-time readers will know I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. The idea that I’ll suddenly learn to enjoy exercise, start saving money for my old age, or gain the ability to meditate, just because it’s January, is laughable. We all know I’ll be the same crusty-tempered, sweary, carb-loading, pension-less, sedentary, anally retentive nutcase I’ve always been. I’m in my forties now, new habits can fuck off.

But if I were to set myself a task for 2022, it’d be to reconnect with life in Bulgaria. One good thing about the pandemic was it reinforced how moving to Bulgaria was the best decision we ever made. In the early lockdown times, I remember being baffled by articles and social media updates about people struggling with lockdown. (And I’m not talking about the economic uncertainty of it all. Totally get that. We went through the same thing, as my own freelance projects shrivelled up. I just mean the ‘being forced to stay home’ side of things.) Who doesn’t love being at home ALL THE TIME?, I’d naively think to myself. A lot of people, it turns out. It was a reminder that many folks don’t have the luxury of a comfortable home of their own, with a big garden to keep them busy, and endless nature to stroll in. We do, and for that we’re eternally grateful.

That said, although we love our lifestyle here in Bulgaria, the pandemic has left us a bit … detached from Bulgarian life, if that makes sense. We see less of our neighbours than we used to. We didn’t set foot in a restaurant for a whole year (we only ventured back into restaurants this summer). And we stopped having Bulgarian lessons because our teacher had a baby at the start of the pandemic. For some reason, despite owning the world’s largest collection of Teach Yourself Bulgarian books, we refuse to teach ourselves Bulgarian. If I’m being kind, I’d say my language skills have stagnated, but I suspect they’ve gone backwards. Words I used to know have shuffled out of my brain to make space for … I don’t know what exactly, Instagram pictures of cakes? YouTube videos of people making ‘chicken’ drumsticks out of bean curd skin? Dust? I’m slightly concerned that my brain is just cobwebs and Christmas songs at the moment.

The point is, the pandemic allowed me to indulge my introverted cave-dweller tendencies a little more than is healthy, and I now find myself pining for Bulgaria, a country that I’m literally living in. It’s a weird feeling.

So my wish (not resolution) for 2022 is that I’ll plug back into this mad, beautiful place that we call home. I want to hike in new places. Go back to the Black Sea. See Rila Monastery and hike the seven lakes (I’ve been saying that for years). Visit Varna and Ruse, two big cities that we haven’t seen yet. Discover new restaurants in Sofia, instead of eating in the same three restaurants every time we pop down there.

And I really wish friends and family can visit us again. Because I’m never prouder than when I’m showing off this place and the life we’ve built here.

I guess I should also wish for world peace, an end to the pandemic, or something equally altruistic. Hmmm… I wish for high-waisted, relaxed-fit jeans to remain in fashion forever and that women never have to pour themselves into skinny jeans that show their butt crack ever again. Nailed it.

Well, that’s humanity fixed. I’m signing off for the year so I can devote the next two weeks to baking a multitude of pastry delights and maintaining a steady blood alcohol level of 0.2%.

How ‘bout you? What are you devoting your time to this Christmas, and do you have any wishes for 2022?


New year, new footprints, and all that.


  1. Боби

    Cheers to you for being yourself and I really hope you will manage to make good on that “reconnecting” resolution :) Oh, and neighbors are important here. The saying goes that a neighbor is closer to you than your brother and not just because he lives next door.

    ps: Googling “anally retentive” right now… oh… it does *not* mean constipated, sadly :( Now I’m worried to google bean curd skin…

    • Auntie Bulgaria

      So true, Bobby. Neighbours are much more important to people here than they are, generally speaking, in the UK. It’s how it should be! Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  2. Kath

    Well what better way to spend a dull cold afternoon in the north of UK than re-reading your blogs from 2011. I’ve booked fr us to return to our village at the end of this month so husband can re-start the process of getting his residency card. I got mine last year while I was there alone for a couple of months, I’ve booked for us to take multiple cases because I should be moving over permanently initially by myself and I’ve no idea what I really, really need to bring with me this time. Firstly I am bringing a few old IKEA storage tins as they dont sell them anymore and we did have mice in our basement kitchen so I like my food stuffs to be stored properly. But do I really need to bring pots and pans? I will be bringing bedding and towels but theres not a lot that cannot be bought there. Oh and Happy New Year to you both.

    • Auntie Bulgaria

      Ah, thank you for revisiting our old adventures, and Happy New Year to you! That’s exciting that you’ll soon be on your way here. I’d imagine kitchen stuff is pretty heavy to bring in a suitcase, so I’d only bring things that you’re really attached to. (For me, it was an old Le Creuset pan and cookbooks.) The rest, you can almost certainly get here, especially if you trek to Ikea. (By the way, Ikea does great and inexpensive storage jars for food. We store all of our stuff in jars and tins because we had a moth problem a few years ago. It was gross!)


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