There is so much that I'll miss about life here in Bulgaria- people, places, and things. I will of course miss the people the most. Bulgarians are, in general, incredibly hospitable and kind. I don't really like to make generalizations, as it certainly isn't the strict truth for everyone, but I think that this is a fair one to make. Although some people can seem gruff or prickly on the surface, most are actually very warm and friendly. I'm not sure how to best describe it, but I've never really experienced the same kind of hospitality in the states as I have here. The offering of food, drinks, and sweets is a constant when you stop by to visit someone, no matter how brief. Bulgarians seem to show their affection, for lack of a better word, through food and drink. On birthdays, holidays, name days, and special occasions, someone will always be offering candy, cake, or liquor. There are 2 whole aisles of chocolates and boxed candies in our market, and for good reason!
I'm going to miss the combination of city and country living that we have enjoyed over the last few years. Our neighborhood in Sofia, Druzhba 2, has been a really great place to live. We could hop on the bus and be downtown in 20 minutes. We could walk to the grocery store, and just about everywhere else. We could meet up with friends in the neighborhood for pizza or drinks. Everything you need on a day to day basis is all right here within walking distance.
I know that we're all going to miss the village house. Long days spent in the sun, eating, drinking, and temporarily forgetting about the responsibilities of everyday life. Waking up to the sounds of roosters and barking dogs. Watching the sun set over the hills. Looking up to a clear sky filled with stars and picking out the constellations. Those are some of my most treasured memories from our time here in Bulgaria.
I'll miss the abundance of fresh, delicious food. Shopska salad just won't be the same without Bulgarian white cheese, and neither will fries. There are so many dishes that require Bulgarian yogurt, and I'm not sure how we'll go about preparing them in the states. Luckily, there is a European market owned and run by Bulgarians in our area, so we'll definitely be checking it out and stocking up on essentials when we can.
We haven't even left yet, and I'm already feeling homesick for the people, places, and things that I have enjoyed and loved over the last several years. Bulgaria will always feel like home (one of a few, at least). I'm so grateful that I have had the chance to live here and be a part of this beautiful country and culture.