Expat life Bulgaria

OUT IN THE VILLAGES

Britons buying in rural Bulgaria came here to acquire property and land at rock bottom prices. Considering the language and cultural differences, the time constraints and the plentiful enterprises established primarily to separate them from their money, the vast majority seem to have ended up with more or less exactly what they had hoped for. Whether they were aware of it at the time of purchase or not, they were also committing financially, emotionally and physically to their new, declining rural communities.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

DREAM OR NIGHTMARE

By the dawn of 2002 most Britons’ optimism for the New Millennium was already fading. We began to realise New Labour was just Old Tory with a more sophisticated PR machine. The current economic crisis was beginning to look inevitable and the cost of living was on the increase. As a nation, we hunkered down and turned to our favourite distraction for solace and escape – television.

Programmes like A Place in the Sun and No Going Home held the nation captivated.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

FOREIGN AND STUDYING IN BULGARIA

Twenty-five years ago, when Communism was alive and kicking, foreigners on Bulgarian streets were a rarity and mostly restricted to the Black Sea resorts and some major tourist sights. Otherwise, most of the visible non-Bulgarian faces in the country were in the cities with major universities. There, young people from the Arab countries mingled with Vietnamese and South Africans, the result of Communist Bulgaria's propaganda of the Socialist lifestyle outside Europe.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

FROM THE FIRST ROOM WINDOW

"If you don't learn to savour the upsides of living in a foreign country, the downsides can drive you crazy," observes Mark Stevens, director of British defence and aerospace company BAE Systems in Sofia. His words capture the attitude shared by many general managers of large international companies in Bulgaria.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

THE DATING GAME

To complicate the problem, you are no longer on home ground, you are now part of the Bulgarian dating market, so now you not only have to contend with the fact that your good looks faded long ago and your confidence diminished the minute you labelled yourself "a bad mother," but you also have to search for a date in a marketplace that doesn't speak your language or understand your culture.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

RACISM AGAINST US?

"Foreigner” was a dirty word when I was young. It was the label given to immigrants who couldn't speak our language and lived by their own set of rules and customs. Additional names and labels were given to denigrate skin colour or ethnic background - vile words such as “Paki,” “Chink” or “Wog.”

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

GROWING UP ON THE BLACK SEA COAST

Our teenage years are those when we rebel against our parents, explore who we are and what we stand for, and take comfort in a close circle of friends to help us through life's trials and tribulations. Important examinations loom on the horizon, we start to date and think vaguely about the future. But what happens to those teens who are wrenched from British society by parents chasing their own dreams of life in the sun?

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

BAND-AID BRITS

Remember that initial move to Bulgaria: the excitement of a new life in the sun, that fresh lease of life, the endless round of lounging on the beach, drinking rakiya, making friends and living in permanent holiday mode? Many expats claim their move to Bulgaria is to get away from the drab British climate or to escape rising prices, crime rates and increasing debt, yet few will admit that the underlying reason is the hope that a new start will resolve fundamental marital problems. Indeed, for many it is a last ditch attempt to avoid a break up.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

BRITISH & GAY IN BULGARIA

He loves the Bulgarian tomatoes, red wine, sunny weather and the good-looking people. He doesn't like the bling fashion, the potholed roads, the grey, crumbling buildings and the fact that Burgas airport shuts in the winter. Oh, and one other thing - he's gay.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE BRITAIN

“We've been burgled, had our business vandalised, our tyres slashed and been victims of various violent confrontations in just one year.”

Does this sound like experiences in a gangland suburb in London? Racial hatred in Manchester? Yet another testament to “broken” Britain? It may surprise you, then, to be told that the above account is an experience not encountered by an ethnic minority, social outcast or council estate resident, but by a British expat living in Bulgaria, experiencing intimidation, slander and violence from other expat Brits.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

EXPAT BUSINESSES

Truck Driver Turned Kennel Owner Dave Smith, 68, moved to Bulgaria from Grimsby in May 2005. Although he had visited over 80 different countries as a continental truck driver, the lure of cheap property in Bulgaria was his deciding factor for settling in Klimentevo, a quiet village populated by pensioners.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

THE EXPAT STRIKES BACK

Bulgarians are very conservative at heart. They crave the quiet life. They don't want fuss. They don't like hassle. This attitude has many positive sides. In Bulgaria, respectable folk don't have to put up with mouthy teenagers on public transport, as in Britain. You can walk around after dark in relative safety. There are no brawls in the street at pub closing time. The dominant philosophy is “live and let live”. Touch wood.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

WITH CYBER LOVE, ETC.

People often imagine expat life as easy and glamorous, a combination of Hemingway-esque bohemianism and Indiana Jones-style adventure, full of exotic food and drink, and attractive young locals eager to practice their English. Anyone who has started a new life abroad, however, knows that it can also have its downside: in fact, relocation ranks as the third most stressful life event after the death of a loved one and marriage or divorce. Numerous research studies show that the biggest stressor for expats is not culture shock, but the lack of a social circle.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

LIFE AT SEA

A couple of years ago there were only a handful of relocators in Burgas and a few token British families in the surrounding villages. More recently, however, the expat community has mushroomed. Varna witnessed a flood of foreign sun-seekers when the country first came into the limelight, to the dismay of many Burgas natives - the two towns enjoy a longstanding love-hate relationship not unlike that between Glasgow and Auld Reekie.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

ENGLISH CHRISTMAS BULGARIAN STYLE

On our first holiday season since moving here we were hoping to experience a Bing Crosby style "White Christmas" - something that was very rare where we lived in England. Hopefully, it would snow for us and we could also create an English Christmas for our Bulgarian friends who had invited us to their celebrations.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

TELLTALE

Hey, expat! You've been here a while? Prefer your chips with white cheese on? Ever found your foot tapping along to a chalga song? Concerned about the Balkanisation of your brain? It's time for you to consider!

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

ALMOST PARADISE, SLIGHTLY POSTPONED

In the way home to dreary Peterborough I didn't have the usual end-of-holiday-blues. Instead, I had a much anticipated goal. We set a moving date for the start of September to coincide with the end of Luke's current project. My research portfolio grew as I enquired about visas and transport: whether to drive or freight-and-fly, acquiring wheels in Bulgaria and, of course, how to ferry my 13-year-old cat there. We also had the inevitable cull of superfluous belongings.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

VSOP MADE IN BG

They say, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”, but I was in Bulgaria. What do they do in Bulgaria? They make rakiya! I'd settled in a small Bulgarian village and wanted to become a part of it, so when I was asked if I would like to make some rakiya I jumped at the chance.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

OUR BULGARIAN LIFE

It is estimated that around 50,000 foreigners live in Bulgaria now and the number is set to increase as more and more people adopt the country as their home. Virtually every village in Bulgaria has its token Brit family and some are overrun with them. British expats it seems are discontent with life in damp and drizzly Blighty. The cost of living is too high and property prices are astronomical. Life there has become competitive, stressful and threatening. They feel trapped in the rat race and it's no longer a nice place to end your days or bring up your kids.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

FLEEING A LIFE OF CRIME AND GRIME

Seven years ago, my mother suggested we go on a “girlie jaunt” for the summer holidays. Excited by thoughts of sunbathing and balmy nights in the Algarve or Majorca, I quickly agreed. But when she held up two tickets to the Bulgarian resort of Golden Sands I was perplexed. “Isn't that somewhere in the desert?” I protested, still geographically naive at 15.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment