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Living in Bulgaria: A Single Parent’s View

A permanent life in Bulgaria attracts all sorts of people with many different needs and ideas of what makes the perfect life. Much depends on circumstances and whether you came here to make money through business or to achieve a better quality of life by embracing a different culture. Many expats retire here and live off their pensions, which despite the credit crunch still go a lot further. Some expats retain an income in the UK, through an existing business or rental property income and this enables them to live in Bulgaria without the worry of finding work. In effect there are many ways you can achieve a happy, comfortable Bulgarian lifestyle even if your income is small.

 

Life as a Single Mother

I have lived in Bulgaria for four years as a single parent with two young children aged 8 and 9. I love our life here, my kids are free and safe to roam the village and we all have lots of friend both English and Bulgarian. I was lucky enough to find work here with a Bulgarian company using the skills I obtained in my old job in the UK prior to having kids. I earn 500 Euros a month and am paid in Bulgarian Leva so I don’t lose out on currency fluctuations. My employer is very sympathetic to my needs and I am able to work from home, so I never miss out on a school concert or parent’s session. I work from the moment my kids leave for school in the morning and when they return home five or six hours later I have a meal prepared for them. I spend time with them each afternoon according to my workload and if I need to work in the evening when they are in bed, I do. In summer when it is too hot to stay indoors and work we spend time together at the beach.

The Cost of Living

Whilst my salary may seem paltry compared to British standards it goes a long way in Bulgaria. All three of us have mobile phones and we subscribe to the internet and satellite TV, these services cost me 100 lv. a month. My electricity and water bills vary according to the season but amount to around 100 lv. a month during winter. Petrol is sometimes a big expense, when I am shuttling the kids back and forth to the beach 10 km away, but generally I allow for another 100 lv. a month. My kids also get 1 lv. each a day to buy something to eat during break times. After that we only have to think about our food  and we eat well using as many local brands as possible. Shepherd’s pie, spaghetti Bolognaise, roast chicken, pork chops and a variety of egg dishes make up our basic dishes. If money gets tight towards the end of the month we rely on pasta and rice dishes, after all they are so much healthier. We also bake a lot of pies and cakes together because this is cheaper way of providing sweet food and it is an activity we all enjoy together.

Entertainment

Children are very easy to entertain in Bulgaria because of the mild climate. Playing outside is a big attraction and when the weather is not so kind watching TV and playing on the computer or with Lego accompanied by a host of Bulgarian friends is also fun and of course cheap. In spring and summer we go to the beach and take our own drinks and food or go to the pool at the English bar. In autumn and winter we often take the dogs for walks. I miss the support of my mum and dad, but I am fortunate enough to have made good friends here who are happy to babysit on those occasions when I fancy a night out. The fact that I have plenty of free time to indulge in the things I like and quality time to spend with my kids makes my life here perfect and I certainly wouldn’t want to go back to the UK despite the fact that in my line of work I might be much better off. For us, there are some things money can’t buy – a good climate, freedom and personal safety.