Oct 28, 2011

Halloween Weekend

If I were a kid, I would be totally bummed about Halloween falling on a Monday.  Trick or treating on a weeknight usually means porch lights will be going off early.  I was always surprised when kids would come knocking before the sun was even down.  I don't think we ever got out of the house before dusk.

Halloween may typically be a non-event here but we're going to make our own celebration complete with pumpkin carving, candy eating, and dressing Francie up for lots of pictures.  Maybe I'll even get crazy and throw some cider into the mix! 

Oct 24, 2011

Hometown tourist

Sometimes there is nothing I'd rather do than hop on the bus and wander around downtown.  Doesn't matter whether it's hot, sunny, cloudy, cold, snowing, I just love getting out for a walk and taking pictures.  I have spent many days discovering new cities on foot and it never, ever gets old.

This city(Sofia) has so much to offer for the urban explorer.  You can check out government buildings, historic churches from as far back as the 4th century, Roman ruins, museums, parks, cafes and shops galore all in a single afternoon.

With a baby in tow, we've yet to take her on the bus downtown.  It's too crowded, too germy, too many pushy people scrambling for a seat.  If we had no other choice, of course we'd do it but I'd rather spare her the experience just yet.  I don't really think she'd get too much out of it, except maybe a cold.  
Last Saturday Francie was with her grandparents so Martin and I took full advantage.  We went downtown and walked until our legs cramped and our feet hurt.  We saw new statues in the park, lit a candle inside Alexander Nevsky cathedral, and I got probably my fourth picture standing with the guards outside the Presidency building.  Sometimes it's fun to be a tourist in your own city. 

Oct 23, 2011

Scavenger Hunt Sunday (2)

All of my photos for this week were taken out at the house in the village.  We spent the day there Thursday while Martin and his Dad bottled wine and made rakia(Bulgarian whiskey).  The weather was just perfect for Francie and I to enjoy a warm day in the sun, probably one of the last for awhile.
 "Delicious Grill and Barbeque", an illustrated cookbook.

Francie and I woke from a nap to find this guy keeping warm under the space heater.  Check out the dust bunnies stuck to his legs. (I was wondering what exactly this was so I looked it up- it's a field cricket!)

Freshly jarred and soon to be pickled vegetables.

I had other ideas for this clue but then this turned out to be the best way to go.

The glass is always half full.

Thanks for stopping by!

Oct 19, 2011

Asen's Fortress/Асенова крепост

Perched on a steep, rocky ridge overlooking the left bank of the Asenitsa river, this medieval fortress dates back to at least the 11th century.  The buildings that have been identified during archeological studies are in ruins with one exception-  the church "The Holy Virgin of Petrich".  Constructed in the 12th century,  Asen's Fortress is beautifully preserved and is considered a monument of cultural significance.
 Looks like something out of a fairy tale, doesn't it?

Oct 18, 2011

Travel Wish List: Europe

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard

It's no secret that I love exploring new places.  Since I'm living in Europe at the moment, this is perhaps the perfect opportunity to visit some of my most desired countries.
At the very top of my list is Germany.  I think it's all the time spent aboard a Lufthansa aircraft and wandering around Frankfurt airport that made me feel like I NEED to explore it more.  I actually have a stamp from Germany in my passport already; I spent a night in Reinhardt last winter but I was 7 months pregnant, alone, and it was the dead of winter.  Not my ideal situation, but that's a tale of travel woe (or should I say unexpected awesomeness?) for another time.
                          Source: amandakendle.hubpages.com via Lauren on Pinterest

I am desperate to check out an authentic German Christmas village!  I don't think it's going to happen this year, but it's on my 30 before 30 list, so next year is it.

Next up- Czech Republic
Anyone I know who has been to Prague says it is beautiful.  I've got to see it with my own eyes...

                        Source: travel.nationalgeographic.com via Lauren on Pinterest

I'd be happy to go anywhere in Bulgaria's neighbor to the North, but I really, really want to visit Transylvania! Yes, I have a thing for vampires and yes that is why I want to see "Dracula's castle" in person.  Although it is unconfirmed that the castle ruins are actually related to Vlad the Implaler, I am a total sucker(pun intended) for all things macabre!

                           Source: trip.worldtravellist.com via Lauren on Pinterest

What countries are on your travel wish list?

Oct 16, 2011

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

This is my very first time participating in Scavenger Hunt Sunday.  I think I chose a challenging week to jump in as I had trouble finding shots for 3 of the 5 prompts.  I had fun with it anyway and maybe next week will be easier for me.  Here goes-

 This wall used to always be covered in ugly graffiti.  Then a month or two ago an artist painted this mural and surprisingly no one has messed with it yet.

A light fixture at my in-laws house in the village.

Dried peppers.

Ok, for this one I know it's a stretch but I really struggled to come up with something.  It isn't everyday you see cow faces on slippers, right? (unless you're me)

Yeah, I had a lot of trouble with this one too.  I saw this sign advertising a zodiac themed lottery game, it's the best I could come up with!

Oct 14, 2011

Holidays can happen

Thank you for the comments on my last post.  You are all right, there is no reason why we shouldn't dress Francie up and make our own Halloween celebration here.  We are a bi-cultural family and that means celebrating different holidays and traditions from both places and making new traditions of our very own.  I'm going to embrace this,  I'm done feeling sorry for myself.  So now the question is- what should Francie be?

My in-laws are looking forward to celebrating "Thanksgiving" for the first time this year.  Obviously, this is not a holiday that is celebrated here, but they are totally up for it.  I have a bit of a challenge on my hands to find the ingredients for the big turkey day dinner, but that's part of the fun.  More on this next month.

We drove some furniture out to the country house yesterday and I got to see the colors changing over in the mountains.  Like a Bob Ross painting, all of the happy little trees were glittering in red, orange, and gold.  Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures because of the torrential downpours we were having.
 I did get a few shots of Francie, she's getting harder and harder to photograph these days because she is always on the move.  So really, any suggestions for her costume?

Photobucket and then, she {snapped}

Oct 13, 2011

The year without Halloween

Fall has arrived.  I know this not because the leaves have changed color, because for the most part they haven't (at least not in Druzhba).  No, I know this because as we were shopping in the market the other day I spotted Kamenitza Dark.  It is finally the season for dark beer here in Bulgaria!  I love dark beer with a capital L-O-V-E.  I would drink it all year round but unfortunately Bulgarian breweries aren't into brewing it year round, boooo.
I'm having a hard time getting into the spirit of the season this year and it has everything to do with the fact that I'm here and not in the states.  You see, there is no Halloween in Bulgaria.  No fun size candy bars, no pumpkin patches, no haunted hayrides, no trick or treat.  Obviously, I knew this before I moved here but still, it really sucks, big time.  *Excuse me while I throw myself an expat pity party*
I'm crazy about Halloween, I love all things macabre and spooky.  I love seeing the kids all dressed up in their costumes.  I remember so well the thrill of the season- choosing a costume, getting made up with that smelly makeup, and of course filling up my pillow case with as many treats as I could before people started turning off their porch lights.

It's so weird to me to think that my husband grew up without Halloween.  The cultural differences, that's a post (or 100) in itself...

It's Francie's first Halloween so I should be excited!  But instead I'm feeling a little bummed.  No pictures of my sugarplum in a pumpkin patch, at least not this year.  I haven't even felt inspired to come up with a costume for her, even though I originally planned on it just for fun.  I am carrying on my yearly tradition of watching my favorite Halloween specials.  I got Martin and Francie to watch Garfield's Halloween with me- that made my day.  Next up: It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.    

We are going to carve some pumpkins eventually, that one is doable here.  I guess for now I'll just live vicariously through everyone else's "kiddies running amok/posing adorably in a pumpkin patch/corn maze/hayride" photos.  Sigh.

Oct 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday- Sofia & Vitosha Mountain

A hilltop view of Sofia, the city I currently call home:

A view of Vitosha from the South Park in Sofia:

Oct 10, 2011

Inspired Monday Blog Hop

Today I'm joining in the fun with Angie from A Little Inspiration- check it out!

Welcome to Inspiration Monday Hop!

A hop about inspiration and finding new bloggy friends!
We will be featuring each Monday a blog from the linky list via Random.org. 
We will feature your blog along with a picture of your inspiration!

There is only one optional RULE... Follow the host (A Little Inspiration) and the featured blog!

Make sure to visit and comment on other blogs so they can follow you back!

Tweet, Share or Blog about Inspiration Monday Hop. Help us spread the word about this new hop! You can grab the button if you'd like!

A Little Inspiration
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.littleinspiration.com" title="A Little Inspiration"><img src="http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z456/alittleinspiration/InspirationHop2.jpg" alt="A Little Inspiration" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Today's Feature blog is Baby In Bulgaria!

Lauren from Baby In Bulgaria is sharing with us her inspiration:

"Travel is my inspiration.  When I travel I am inspired to explore, whether it's a new city, state, or even country.  I love seeing how other people live and imaging what life is like there.  Traveling allows me to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us, from mountains and glaciers in Alaska,  to medieval fortresses in Bulgaria, ancient ruins in Greece, to sandy beaches in Florida.  Simply put, travel inspires my soul!"

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Hope you all have a great "INSPIRED MONDAY"!


Oct 7, 2011

Let's go for a walk

A leisurely, late afternoon stroll through our neighborhood- sounds so relaxing, right?
Well, yes and no.  See here's the thing about these neighborhoods in Sofia, there may be things resembling sidewalks but they are fraught with potholes, bumps, splattered fruit, dog poo, and worst of all for a momma with a stroller- no ramps whatsoever.  Growing up in the states, you take for granted that all of the sidewalks have been converted to handicapped compliance.  
Yet everyday, I see legions of city mommas strolling around these blocks with their babes in tow and they look so confident, so relaxed!  And here I am, the awkward American girl, damn near helpless and struggling along up 4 inch thick curbs.  
But we have fun anyway.  The baby loves taking in the hustle and bustle of the city and I like taking pictures, especially of interesting trash.

Oct 6, 2011

Change of Scenery

You may have noticed that I've changed up the look of my blog.  I'm still not finished tinkering around with things, so if it's looking a little odd these days please bear with me.

I'm the type of person who feels the need for change quite often, particularly change of scenery (hence the fact that I am a vagabond at heart).  In addition to changing up the look of my blog, Martin and I are working on a redesign of our bedroom.  We went to Ikea on Sunday afternoon and wandered around for 3 hours (yikes!).   It's just so easy to get lost in ideas there, all of that cheap particle board furniture whips my mind into a design crazed frenzy!  We bought one area rug and have now been inspired to change up everything.  If only money grew on trees...

This weekend we're sending Francie off with her Baba and Diado to the country house for one night (I *think* I'm ready this time) so that we can get a little painting done.  At the very least, I'd like to get some new curtains and move out some of the larger furniture we have in our room.  It's difficult to find space for everything in these small European apartments, there are no closets so wardrobes become a necessity and take up quite a bit of real estate.  We're trying to see how we can work around that with some strategically placed shelving. 

Any suggestions or ideas for working with a small space?  We share our room with the baby so we really need to make the most use of what we have.

Oct 4, 2011


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