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A new project!

Hi Friends,

I am working on a new project. It’s been growing slowly (very slowly in fact) over the last four months. I’d love it if you’d join me there.

This new blog will never replace Karolinkabulgaria.com and I am not sure that I will ever find such an interesting and diverse community to be a part of again. I can’t believe how many wonderful friends I’ve made through this blog and how much support I received from all of you while I was living in Sofia. For that I would like to say thank-you from the bottom of my heart.

Over the past five years, your comments have warmed my heart and made me laugh alone in my apartment in Mladost 1A. I will forever believe that Mladost 1A is the best of the Mladosts and that I have been the luckiest girl to have found all of you.

I’m working part time in a department store right now and one Saturday a customer overheard me tell a co-worker that before moving to Seattle I’d been living in Sofia, Bulgaria. This customer was, of course, a Bulgarian living in Seattle.  We had a 10 minute conversation in Bulgarian. She was very complimentary of my Bulgarian (thanks I. for all of those Bulgarian lessons and to think it all started with your comment on this blog that you’d teach me Bulgarian!). I smiled. What a small, small world.

This is the lesson that writing this blog has taught me over and over: what a wonderful world I live in and just how lucky I am to be exploring and experiencing it. I had no idea six years ago when I took the risk to apply for a Fulbright in Bulgaria how completely and totally my life would change. Now I cannot imagine my life any other way.

So please come and explore my new project and if you like what you’d see, I’d encourage you to stick around.

Much Love,

Karolinka//Каролинка

Ahw, I got a text from my dAd recently:

  • How do you spell sierinae cheese?
  • Sirene?

Me:

  • Sirene. You got it.

dAd:

  • I don’t have any but I would like some.

Me:

  • Me too!!

At the time, I didn’t know what he was up to.

I was between the end of a play and going for food with my sister and friends so I sent my messages quickly and then forgot about it. My dAd has been busy sorting and filing thousands of photos from his trip to Bulgaria so I guessed that the Friday night texts were related to that.

Then today, when I was reading my RSS feed I was delighted to read this blog post by my dAd. First off, I LOVE that my dAd has a blog. He’s so hip–even if he doesn’t have a beard, wear skinny jeans or rock black-framed glasses.

Anyhow, he has a great post with plenty of pictures of me eating fried things. Aside from writing about the Pendleton Round up he also writes about American style french fries with cheese and Bulgarian french fries with cheese.

Turns out he likes the Bulgarian ones better.

Me too!!

After Plovdiv, we drove to Istanbul. I’d been to Istanbul one other time but I was really excited to visit a second time. The city is so big, so colorful, so lively, full of people and traffic and totally wonderful.
Istanbul Traffic
I bought my dAd an Istanbul guidebook for Father’s Day and I know that he was looking forward to seeing the city. My MoM said that is one of the things he talked most about before the trip. He also worried about what to wear. Aw, dAd.
Turkish Flag
We arrived in Istanbul in the afternoon and unpacked our bags. I also won a gold star for driving in Istanbul–I think that if I can do this, I can do anything. After unpacking our bags, we went out to explore our corner of the city.
Outside the Spice Market
I suggested that we walk to the Spice Market.

The city was busy and there was tons to see. I kept turning around to look for my dAd and sister. I wanted to make sure that I hadn’t lost them.

It was funny. I noticed that my dAd didn’t have his camera out and he wasn’t taking pictures of anything. I stopped to take photos and then all of a sudden so was my dAd. I asked him why he wasn’t taking photos. He said something to the effect of: because there are so many things to see. Love it! Continue Reading »

One night in Plovdiv, we ate dinner at a wonderful little restaurant called Hemingway BBQ and Grill. We’d seen the place on a map and ended up stumbling into the restaurant in the pouring rain.

The food was great, the atmosphere was dark and a little mysterious and the house wine was top-notch.
Wine at Hemingway BBQ & Grill
Me and dAd at Hemingway BBQ and Grill
Holy-smokes, we ate a ton of great food. It was hard to even pick what to order. Everything on the menu sounded delicious. We ended up picking our dishes using this rule of thumb: what is something that sounds good to me but isn’t what I’d normally order. So basically, we moved from the safe-bet food to the new, interesting and unexpected dishes.

It was an excellent choice.  Continue Reading »

After the Rila Seven Lakes, we drove to Plovdiv. I’ve been to Plovdiv a few times but everyother time, I’ve taken the train. Driving into Plovdiv was fine but I have to say the city itself has NO street signs.

Once we found our hotel, we had a great time in Plovdiv. We spent the majority of our time in Old Town Plovdiv or along the main street in the city center. The highlights of our visit included the Free Plovdiv (Walking) Tour, poking around the Plovdiv Amphitheater and shopping for antiques.
The family at the Plovdiv Amphitheater
The family at the Plovdiv Amphitheater
I have to say, Plovdiv was looking really good. The walking streets were well cobble-stoned, the buildings were well painted and there were more statues than I remembered. It turns out Plovdiv is a candidate for the European Capitol of Culture in 2019. 2019 seems to be pretty far off but I can’t complain, the city is looking better than I’ve ever seen it. Continue Reading »

After visiting the Rila Monastery and poking around the village of Rila, we drove to the base of the Seven Rila Lakes. From the base of the lakes, you take a serious chair lift up the mountain and then you get to hike the rest.
Rila Mountains and a lake
We got off the chair lift and put on sunscreen. Then we got ready to hike. I didn’t think that the hike was going to be very hard but it turned out the first stretch was definitely the hardest–mostly because it was the steepest.
Me at Rila
I’d listened to the family in front of us ask the chair lift guy which way to go. He’d pointed out the trail along the side of the mountain/large hill. So I figured that we’d follow them. We followed up them right up the steep path. Continue Reading »

My dAd is a jolly, jolly man.
dAd and beer
But for many years, he was hesitant about visiting Bulgaria–not because he was uninterested in Bulgaria or afraid or something like that. Mostly he was hesitant because he doesn’t really like to travel. He’s a tall man and the seats in airplanes seem to be getting smaller and smaller.

Poor guy.

Luckily this didn’t prevent him from visiting.

In fact even before he climbed on the plane, he brushed up on some Bulgarian. His three big words: Beer (бира), Cheers (Наздраве) and Goodbye (Довиждане).

Needless to say, everyone loved him. And he loved Rila. A lot. Continue Reading »

Rila Monastery, A Must

Rila Monastery is about a two hour drive from Sofia. It’s a Bulgarian monastery tucked away in the mountains.  The monastery is a historical, cultural and a religious site and on top of that, it’s just plain old beautiful.
Entry way and horns at Rila
I’ve been at least a half-dozen times and still I took my dAd and sister to visit.
Dad and Me at Rila
Dad, Charlotte and Carolyn at Rila
Dad and Charlotte at Rila
Bulgarians love Rila. This is why I’ve been so many times and for good reason, it’s a site that Bulgarians are proud of and want to show off.

Thus I figured that I should show it off too.

Continue Reading »

We ate that, in Sofia

This is a post where we eat things. By we, I really mean my dAd, my sister and me, and all of you who read the blog get to read about and look at some of the things that we ate in Sofia.

Beer at Pizza Fritzi

dAd's dark beer
The first night my family arrived they were pretty loopy and totally jet lagged. The thing is neither my dAd or sister wanted to admit it so dinner was super funny. We went to a pizza place in Mladost. One down the street from me and it’s a good thing we didn’t go any further because a large beer later my dAd and sister were even funnier and weirder than normal. The tell for me was the weirder than normal part. You see my dAd and sister are inherently funny people; it’s basically impossible not to laugh when you’re around them but they aren’t normally as weird and off the wall as they were that first night.

This said, some of what was said in Bulgaria stays in Bulgaria so lets get back to the food!  Continue Reading »

My dAd and sister came to visit me after final exams. I was busy finishing things up–grades, packing up my classroom and saying goodbye to colleagues. They were busy being jet-lagged. It was perfect.

I went to work; they slept.
My dad and sister in front of TZUM
We spent their first weekend in Bulgaria close to home. I wanted my family to get a sense of Sofia the city lived in and called home for the past five years. I know that it’s not actually possible to do something like this in just a weekend but I think that they got a taste of the city.
Banitsa
Saturday morning we ate banitsa, drank coffee and went on a Free Sofia Tour because I LOVE the free walking tour. This is also when I got my dAd and sister hooked on free tours. They liked the one in Sofia so much that we also went on the Plodiv tour and the Varna tour.

It’s amazing seeing a city that you know through someone else’s eyes. Continue Reading »

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