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Whitney Dimova and Life in Bulgaria

Quest Bulgaria would like to thank Whitney Dimova for sharing her story on her life from love to working and settling in Bulgaria.

My name is Whitney Dimova and I live with my husband, Ventsislav, in Smolyan, Bulgaria. We met while working in beautiful Denali, Alaska in the summer of 2008. For the next few years we managed to maintain a long-distance relationship via the magic of Skype, Gmail, and late night/early morning phone calls.

We were married this past September in Las Vegas in front of a few close family and friends. Our original plan was for me to get a Type-D Bulgarian visa (long stay); however, my paperwork had still not come through in time for my scheduled flight, so I am here on a tourist entry for 3 months. I'll be heading home to Salt Lake City, Utah, at the end of March to continue the visa process and work the summer in Alaska. I never imagined there would be so much paperwork involved to get a 6-month visa! I am hoping everything comes through quickly and I am able to get back to Bulgaria as soon as possible so that I can apply for my permanent residency.

For years my husband and I dreamed of the moment that we would be living together in Bulgaria. Now that it is here, it is hard for me to feel homesick at all because I am just so thankful that I am finally here! Yes, there are times where I get fed up with some of the little quirks of Bulgaria; yearn for the foods from home; or miss my friends and family. But these feelings pass quickly when I realize that is it these very quirks that makes Bulgaria special; I eat some of my Mother-in-Law's delicious patanik; or I spend a day exploring the Rhodopian countryside with my husband.

I am learning more and more Bulgarian every day. I admit it is a bit of a struggle sometimes, and I get frustrated when I can't communicate with my in-laws, but I know that things will improve with time. Not learning Bulgarian is not an option for me. I don't want to be that expat who gets by with mostly English and minimal Bulgarian. I hope to raise my children bi-lingual so I am setting the same goal for myself. In all honesty, not knowing Bulgarian is by far my biggest struggle so far as an expat. The frustrations have often brought me to tears; however, I have noticed a huge change in my grasp of the language in just the few short months I have been here.
I love to travel and Bulgaria has so much to offer in that sense. It's one of the biggest reasons I wanted to move here-apart from living with my husband, of course!

Right now my husband does not have a job and I am not able to work on a tourist visa, so we are enjoying spending all our time together, as most newlyweds do. I hope to find work when I get my permanent residency. If there is one thing that will cut our time short in Bulgaria and send us back to America it is the lack of jobs. My husband is highly educated with two Masters Degrees, however, he is struggling to find work. I do not want to move back to America, but we would have no choice if things don't change on the job front. That being said, we did not expect this to be easy and we will do what it takes to stay in Bulgaria.

For now, we are simply enjoying our time together and are planning many more adventures in Bulgaria. I document all our travels, along with other day-to-day observations and happenings on my blog. I originally started it as a means to keep my family and friends back home updated; but it has since turned into a great tool for meeting other expats in Bulgaria. I am especially shocked by how many Americans I have connected with who are here based on their marriage to a Bulgarian. Having other expats to lean on and share advice with is such a comforting feeling.
I would advise anyone thinking about moving to Bulgaria to be well prepared for a bit of culture shock. Things can be hard at times, but overall, the experience is extremely rewarding and well worth every struggle. Learning Bulgarian should be a top priority, as well as experiencing the traditions and culture of the people. This has been relatively easy for me as my husband is Bulgarian, but it's likely harder for other expats.

To learn more about me and my husband, or to follow the happenings in our life, visit my blog at www.girlmeetsbulgaria.com. I can also be found on Twitter: @whitneypiper, and on Facebook (search Girl Meets Bulgaria).
I am truly looking forward to meeting new people and making friends in Bulgaria. Please stop by and say hello!