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Expat Interview - Debbie Rushton-Popova

British expat, Debbie Rushton-Popova, has lived in Bulgaria for six years. In her interview with Quest magazine, she tells us all about her life in Bulgaria, how she met her new husband and how she got married in Bulgaria.

Debbie, how long have you lived in Bulgaria?
I came here about six years ago with my ex-partner; we renovated an old farm house together. After the renovation was complete, my ex-partner decided that he wanted to go back to the U.K and I had to decide whether I wanted to go back with him or stay here. I decided to stay here and so I rented a house for a year.


So where do you live now? I now live in Tryavna and I have been here for the past two years.

What made you decide to move to Bulgaria?Our plan was to have six months here in Bulgaria and six months back in the U.K, but the more I was here, the more I wanted to stay.

What about learning the language? Bulgarian seems rather difficult, can you speak any Bulgarian?
I can speak some Bulgarian, in fact I’ve recently started lessons, but it is a difficult language to learn!

How easy was it for you to make friends? Are they mainly Bulgarians or other foreigners?
Around Tryavna where I live, there are two other English couples, who have become good friends. I also have a few good Bulgarian friends, who I met through my husbands work.

How did you meet your new, Bulgarian husband?
I met my husband five years ago, when he came and dug a well for us at our farm house. My ex-partner and I became good friends with him and his wife, so when I split with my partner I rang him to tell him and found that he had also recently split with his wife, so we met for coffee and it went from there.

And now the pair of you are married! How easy was it for you to get married in Bulgaria?
Before getting married, I needed to complete some forms and it involved a couple of visits to the British embassy in Sofia and a few trips to our local municipality building.

Was acquiring the sufficient documents expensive or difficult?It was quite straight forward really. The staff at the municipality wrote down everything that I needed along with the costs, in total the paper work came to about 500 leva.

So where did you decide to marry? We got married in a small hotel just below where we live in Tryavna.

Was the service in English or Bulgarian? It was all done in Bulgarian, but we had sheets translated in to English for all my family and my English friends.

Many foreigners complain that when they move abroad, there is a lack of what they call home comforts. Do you feel the same way? I don't really miss any home comforts, I've adapted really well to Bulgarian life.

What do you miss about the U.K? I think the main things you miss when you move abroad are friends and family, but with the ability to use Skype and a web-cam, it isn't a problem anymore. Apart from that, I miss horlicks as it is an old favourite of mine, but all my visitors from England bring it out when they come to visit me!

Do you have any regrets about moving to Bulgaria? I have no regrets at all about moving here, I am so happy with my life and my husband; I never thought that I could be so happy!

Well that is fantastic, you seem as though you have really settled in to life in Bulgaria! How do you usually spend your day and night?
We have a 2 year old dog, named Tara, who I love to walk. I also have a great circle of friends who I see quite often. In the evenings often I sit drinking, eating and chatting with my husband. We also enjoy watching movies in English, with Bulgarian subtitles, which benefit both of us.

What do you prefer about life in Bulgaria compared to the U.K? Life here is much simpler! Unlike the U.K, you don't feel that there is a need to keep up with your neighbour’s new windows or your friend’s new boots. Nobody here cares about where you live or what you wear. Things are also done at a much slower pace her, which gives you more time to enjoy life.

Are there any disadvantages about life in Bulgaria? For me the disadvantages are the street dog problems. I try to feed as many as I can, but there is a really big problem over here with stray dogs. I don't like to see the rubbish that you see in some places, as fly-tipping is quite common here. Although, I must say that here in Tryavna it is a beautiful town and well looked after. The other disadvantage is being unable to find work; it is very difficult for English people to find work here.

Do you go back to the U.K to visit very often? We have recently returned from our honeymoon in the U.K, that was my first visit in two years!

When you visit the U.K, how do you feel about returning to Bulgaria? It is always lovely to see my friends and family, but it is always nice to come back home.

Would you ever consider leaving the U.K and if so, would you move back to the U.K? Moving back to the U.K may happen one day, as savings don't last forever. I would try to do some temporary work back in the U.K for part of the year and then come back to live here. I would miss this place so much if I was to leave, and of course I would also miss my friends and my Bulgarian family so much.

It is great to here of someone that has settles in so well to life in a foreign country, what advice would you give to anyone thinking of relocating to Bulgaria?Anyone that is planning on moving over here should try it for a while before committing yourself, because some people find that they love it here, where as others hate it. You need to give it time and don't rely on having just other expats for friends, it's important to have Bulgarian friends too. Enjoy the challenge of something new and finally, if you buy a property here, look at its location and imagine how it will be in the winter if you plan to be here, because Bulgarian winters are much harder than in the U.K!

Thank you so much for your advice Debbie, have you got anything else to say about your time in Bulgaria?
Well I came here with an open mind, unsure of what I was going to do long term. Renting a property here on my own, with no family or job over here, it really made me think about my options. My family were all very supportive of my choice to go it alone here, they think that I was very brave and I agree. But on the other hand, had I have not stayed, I would never have met all of these wonderful people or my husband or had the chance to sample this simple but happy life her, that I now have!
British expat, Debbie Rushton-Popova, has lived in Bulgaria for six years. In her interview with Quest magazine, she tells us all about her life in Bulgaria, how she met her new husband and how she got married in Bulgaria.

Debbie, how long have you lived in Bulgaria? I came here about six years ago with my ex-partner; we renovated an old farm house together. After the renovation was complete, my ex-partner decided that he wanted to go back to the U.K and I had to decide whether I wanted to go back with him or stay here. I decided to stay here and so I rented a house for a year.

So where do you live now? I now live in Tryavna and I have been here for the past two years.

What made you decide to move to Bulgaria? Our plan was to have six months here in Bulgaria and six months back in the U.K, but the more I was here, the more I wanted to stay.

What about learning the language? Bulgarian seems rather difficult, can you speak any Bulgarian? I can speak some Bulgarian, in fact I've recently started lessons, but it is a difficult language to learn!

How easy was it for you to make friends? Are they mainly Bulgarians or other foreigners? Around Tryavna where I live, there are two other English couples, who have become good friends. I also have a few good Bulgarian friends, who I met through my husbands work?

How did you meet your new, Bulgarian husband? I met my husband five years ago, when he came and dug a well for us at our farm house. My ex-partner and I became good friends with him and his wife, so when I split with my partner I rang him to tell him and found that he had also recently split with his wife, so we met for coffee and it went from there.

And now the pair of you are married! How easy was it for you to get married in Bulgaria? Before getting married, I needed to complete some forms and it involved a couple of visits to the British embassy in Sofia and a few trips to our local municipality building?

Was acquiring the sufficient documents expensive or difficult? It was quite straight forward really. The staff at the municipality wrote down everything that I needed along with the costs, in total the paper work came to about 500 leva.

So where did you decide to marry? We got married in a small hotel just below where we live in Tryavna.

Was the service in English or Bulgarian? It was all done in Bulgarian, but we had sheets translated in to English for all my family and my English friends.

Many foreigners complain that when they move abroad, there is a lack of what they call home comforts. Do you feel the same way? I don't really miss any home comforts, I've adapted really well to Bulgarian life.

What do you miss about the U.K? I think the main things you miss when you move abroad are friends and family, but with the ability to use Skype and a web-cam, it isn't a problem anymore. Apart from that, I miss horlicks as it is an old favourite of mine, but all my visitors from England bring it out when they come to visit me!

Do you have any regrets about moving to Bulgaria? I have no regrets at all about moving here, I am so happy with my life and my husband; I never thought that I could be so happy!

Well that is fantastic, you seem as though you have really settled in to life in Bulgaria! How do you usually spend your day and night? We have a 2 year old dog, named Tara, who I love to walk. I also have a great circle of friends who I see quite often. In the evenings often I sit drinking, eating and chatting with my husband. We also enjoy watching movies in English, with Bulgarian subtitles, which benefit both of us.

What do you prefer about life in Bulgaria compared to the U.K? Life here is much simpler! Unlike the U.K, you don't feel that there is a need to keep up with your neighbour's new windows or your friend's new boots. Nobody here cares about where you live or what you wear. Things are also done at a much slower pace her, which gives you more time to enjoy life.

Are there any disadvantages about life in Bulgaria? For me the disadvantages are the street dog problems. I try to feed as many as I can, but there is a really big problem over here with stray dogs. I don't like to see the rubbish that you see in some places, as fly-tipping is quite common here. Although, I must say that here in Tryavna it is a beautiful town and well looked after. The other disadvantage is being unable to find work; it is very difficult for English people to find work here.

Do you go back to the U.K to visit very often? We have recently returned from our honeymoon in the U.K, that was my first visit in two years!

When you visit the U.K, how do you feel about returning to Bulgaria? It is always lovely to see my friends and family, but it is always nice to come back home.

Would you ever consider leaving the U.K and if so, would you move back to the U.K? Moving back to the U.K may happen one day, as savings don't last forever. I would try to do some temporary work back in the U.K for part of the year and then come back to live here. I would miss this place so much if I was to leave, and of course I would also miss my friends and my Bulgarian family so much.

It is great to here of someone that has settles in so well to life in a foreign country, what advice would you give to anyone thinking of relocating to Bulgaria? Anyone that is planning on moving over here should try it for a while before committing yourself, because some people find that they love it here, where as others hate it. You need to give it time and don't rely on having just other expats for friends, it's important to have Bulgarian friends too. Enjoy the challenge of something new and finally, if you buy a property here, look at its location and imagine how it will be in the winter if you plan to be here, because Bulgarian winters are much harder than in the U.K!

Thank you so much for your advice Debbie, have you got anything else to say about your time in Bulgaria? Well I came here with an open mind, unsure of what I was going to do long term. Renting a property here on my own, with no family or job over here, it really made me think about my options. My family were all very supportive of my choice to go it alone here, they think that I was very brave and I agree. But on the other hand, had I have not stayed, I would never have met all of these wonderful people or my husband or had the chance to sample this simple but happy life her, that I now have!