month first on the island

Today is the one month’s mark of our life in the UK. So far, Manchester does not disappoint. First impressions are usually the ones I rely on when deciding whether something is good or bad for me. Here comes the list, yes!
1. Nature: check! amazing parks, lakes, canals, screamingly green loans, even random flowers with bright yellow, crimson colours, old old trees, and moss everywhere, even on most buildings
2. Weather: check! after the desert, I guess, everything goes. However, thanks to our never-ending luck we have had blue skies, sun and even 20’s degree temperatures. I might have to reconsider that and exchange luck for global warming. Probably?
3. People: check! Brits are positive, energetic, respectful and they do pay attention to details. Remove the first three there, and you can call me a real Brit.
4. Art and Culture: CHECK! or should I say Two thumbs up? We are so impressed with the variety of subcultures and the freedom to express your self the way you view it. And believe me, after America, you do notice things like freedom. Needless to explain, there’s no such in the States, when it comes to appearance, music, personal hobbies and interests. We have been walking around town and just breathing in diversity. The rest just comes naturally: bookshops, events, underground concerts, zines, fashion stores. No trends, no needs, no commerce. At least, if you choose to.

We are quite satisfied, I gotta admit. The magic is totally in the air. Let’s see how long it will last.

p.s. Today is rainy and cloudy, AND so beautiful.


on exploring

The last few days have been…well, exhilarating. And as I look back the last few months have been nothing but a crazy mixture of all possible emotions, such as loss, grieve, transformation, adaptation, exploration and a totally new adventure for all three members of our tiny familia. Simply put all of us are doing fine, thanks. It’s just the time and space that have changed for us. Sami is having a blast with his loving grandparents to my complete amazement, as I was expecting him to be throwing fits left and right and not to mention to fully protest once we leave. It’s been ten full days that we haven’t hugged and smooched, but thank goodness for the almighty Skype, so that I can actually see how relaxed and happy he is, even without mommy. As sad as this sometimes makes me feel, I realize that there is nothing better in the whole wide world than the smile of your prodigy. So I take a full breath and remind myself that he is his own person, his own universe and we all are there to support, and sometimes to just sit and watch him develop. I am so sad that we are missing major milestones such as him stringing a whole sentence or just his tender soft and fuzzy skin …Now a whole sea of emotions overwhelms me when I see his cheering face and his constant moving around in front of the web cam.
Enough of that. Already!
Knowing that he is OK we can actually move ahead with other preoccupations such as finding a place to live in here, and all the logistics of moving to a completely new place hardly knowing anyone. Thankfully we found a friend of a friend and he took us in till we find a flat. Such a nice and relaxed guy! Many, many thanks to strangers again! It is so nice to get help like that and hopefully we can pay it all forward one day.
While dealing with institutions we cannot help but explore the city. Because being a real city, it’s everywhere. Should I even dare to compare with Vegas? Little coffee shops, art galleries, parks, cathedrals, book stores, vintage shops, benches where you can just sit and watch the world go by…

I am taking it all in and enjoying every sunny moment we are given…

first impressions

We have just arrived in Manchester 4 days ago and we are completely in love with this vibrant city! I hope this whole fascination lasts at least a year…Today was first day of school and it all becomes quite real, finally. I must have looked aghast when one of the lecturers made a point that in a year we will be completely different people and that it will cost us a year of sleepless nights to become really good at something. Little did she know I just spent my last 2 years transforming myself into someone I never thought I would be, not to mention the sleeplessness. Peace of cake. No one can possibly scare a ‘mother’.

another beginning

Before even realizing it, the quickest 6 weeks ever are almost over and the sand is not even washed away from our feet… This summer has been quite versatile and unbelievably enjoyable. I, of course, expected all of the worst things to fall on us, such as all natural disasters, a sick and grumpy baby, refusing food, sleep and all human necessities which automatically would have unleashed all hell on earth. However some divine circumstances have miraculously occurred and everybody is happy, sleeping and eating well. Stoyan and I did everything, yes, everything from the list that I prepared (who would have thought?!) before coming here to visit all of our favorite spots around Bulgaria. It has been such an active vacation that now we are totally exhausted and in much need of relaxation. Since this will not happen any time soon, I will not even moan about it.
I guess this is my way of sharing my gratitude to all people who contributed.

This coming weekend and probably the whole next week I will be to busy trying British lager and hiding from the rain. Shhh, do not remind me that we have no place to stay…

Vegas, baby, I will miss you!

Spending the most of my 20’s in sin city has been a true roller-coaster. Maybe because it was my 20’s and many things do happen in life while at that age, maybe because it is the city that never sleeps…but by the bags under my eyes you can tell I did live here! Man, the things we went through! I can just spread my mind on a table and start throwing random memories around. Sweet, bitter, sour…all tastes.

I clearly remember the day we arrived. It was dark and we have been driving from LA after 2 days of flying around the globe to get there. Bushes after bushes of thorny desert vegetation and hours of delirious state of mind could not have averted us from being amazed at the grandeur of million bright lights, fusing colors and constant motion. This phase lasted a whole  oblivious month. We surrendered to this amazement that you get when discovering a whole new universe.

*this is our first photo of America, somewhere between LA and Vegas. Let’s see what the last one will be.

Work. Day and night. It totally gave us the independence that comes with having enough money so that you don’t have to worry about your fridge ever being empty. It gave us much more than this. We could travel and explore, and do things we enjoy. We went to New Zealand and we knew that we will be back there. We touched dolphins in Costa Rica. Well, they came because they know when a woman is carrying a baby. It is an old wife’s tale, but I so believed in it. The dolphins knew before I knew.

We devoured the world with eyes wide open. And then it goes…we skydived above lake Taupo, we ate oysters in Huntington beach, we had wine in wineries along California, conceived our son in total bliss, and we welcomed him in absolute amazement; we snorkeled in the turquoise waters of  Jamaica’s beaches; saw and felt the Grand Canyon; got an English bulldog and she slobbered our lives; lay on the beach in Mexico gazing at the pelicans for hours; had sushi at 5 in the morning; went to clubs and concerts; saw “The dark side of the moon” by Roger Waters and did not stop crying during the whole show;  we had the best coffee at New York’s famous Soho; we bowled in the middle of the night in Boston; enjoyed Bellagio’s transfixing fountains whatever chance we had; dined in the most exquisite world renowned restaurants; owned our first home that we adore; slept on an island in Fiji with no electricity, water, and with the door open; had soup in a bread bowl on the pier in San Francisco; saw Sami take his first steps; visited museums, galleries, shops, but mostly restaurants; experienced all kind of exotic cuisines; traded our TV for a fireplace (a great choice); had a couple’s massage in China town, we even had our own garage sale…

We missed Bulgaria tremendously. We cried, we laughed, we mourned. We studied, worked, changed a million diapers, faced the biggest challenge of becoming parents, namely being responsible for another human being. We opened up, we evolved, we regressed. Got sick and then healed. We experienced a hell of a lot and then we got bored. We got anxious, itchy. Ready to move on.

I am so grateful for my life. I am counting my blessings.

p.s. What happens in Vegas, stays in you, for good and for worse. Mostly for good!

take your time

“If you’re not doing the work you love, the greatest contribution you can make to the world and to your own growth is to take whatever time you need to figure out what you want to do. Then start doing it.” Living the simple life, James, E.

This is a major point that Stoyan and I have always considered. But at some point we just stopped. We diverged… It is also one of the reasons why we are leaving the comfort of Vegas’ life. When I look back I cannot fathom how long it took us to actually move on with what we’ve always wanted. But now I know, there are reasons for everything. And I am a believer that when a person stays in certain situation, it is only because they find something to stay for. If the stove is too hot and unbearable, you wouldn’t even consider sitting on it. It’s the same with life circumstances. You either run away from something that you certainly know you cannot take or you tolerate it for a reason, no matter how close to your consciousness it is. Your Life is almost always a result of your own choices. The rest is the emotional baggage that your parents, teachers, friends, and even bosses have vested in you. And here again, it is how much you have allowed them to shape you up. With the big exception of your parents’ role (the one you can hardly have chosen), all else is a byproduct.

These last months have been life transforming for me, for Stoyan, not yet for Sami, but for my family back home as well. New challenges have smoldered us, and others we have somehow overcome. It’s time for big decisions, choices, and deep-thought for me. I became quite introverted and introspective, although I have always been some of a loner. I think this thought alone has lots to do with the idea to  have my own blog and to just let go of all the boiling emotions inside. I often accuse myself of over-thinking. It is a real monster. But my demons are the ones that make me stronger, and I cannot help but acknowledge their constant presence.

And I sometimes wonder what is better: taking a foreverness before you make a choice or follow your spontaneity and go with the urge? Needless to say, I have always chosen the first scenario. I am glad though, that at this point I am considering the risk of leaving everything behind and catching up with some matters of the heart.

packing our troubles away

We got the packing fever. Now that we are only three weeks away from the Big Trip to Varna, I can be reached from under a brown box in the garage or on weekends, covered in to-do-lists. You guessed it, it is a good time in the Wacko’s residence. Lists, boxes, labels, tape, suitcases with items, organized alphabetically, ranked by timetable and cross-referenced. Just the other night, when we were having wine, way past 9.30, hardly keeping our eyes open, after an exhausting water park with “the one we don’t speak of while we have wine at a date night”, I had the brilliant thought of packing cross my mind. Startled by this sudden urge, I had to immediately jump up and scare my half asleep partner in crime. Next thing you know, we are both throwing boxes around in the sweltering heat of the garage. And kicking it!

We got rid of maybe half of our stuff. And we are about to donate the rest. Man, the relief! This felt like discarding a huge load of emotional garbage we unnecessarily have been holding on for ages . The garage is empty. Hearts are full. The flip side is how on earth does one pack seven years in three suitcases? Because the new air regulation allows you to take along only one suitcase with you. One.

Lately, I have been introduced to the great idea of simplifying and living with the minimum of possessions. It is this great blog that I have been following for the past year and I cannot stop recommending it to friends. It does tell you things that you already know in such an awakening way, it’s like a slap on the cheek. And we do need that, living in the most consumer-oriented country in the world we had our fare share of indulgence. I am sure this was a really good lesson in life. Now we know we can manage on so much less, it is actually quite inspiring once you figure that big consumer hoax out. So pack, unpack, but remember “Don’t get attached to anything you can’t walk out on in 15 minutes”. This is the best line in the movie “Heat”.

So Sami, Stoyan, Alex and, oh my god I almost forgot, Memi ( this is Sami’s buddy, his transitional object, if I may) are off to a good start. I wish it was that easy to forget some things in life too…

setting the mood

Just in time for the carefree summer vacation that we are both so looking forward, where a lot of parents and grandparents will be involved, so that we can hopefully sneak for an hour or two…Stoyan and I received our first recommended reading from the University of Manchester. The nerd in me, of course, omits words such as recommended and next thing you know I am all covered in Statistics, semantic differentials, and the holy validity and reliability; and tears are about to pour.

During my Bachelor’s this has been my least favorite subject. I liked blaming it on the lifeless 75-year-old professor we had, but the truth is I have always sucked at numbers, charts and simple logic. So this will be such a huge challenge. Needless to say, my insecurities kick in immediately and I know there will be many sleepless nights ahead. Yet the anticipation of being in school again is beyond explanation. I realize how much I don’t know and how much I will learn. It’s exhilarating.

my AHA moment

It was so simple, and so powerful at the same time. Greeting the sunrise on the Grand Canyon South Rim. 6 am. No one around. Both my boys peacefully asleep, hugging. Just my coffee and me, sitting on the edge of an endlessly steep red rock.  No tourists with gigantic cameras clicking away shot after shot, not even engaged in the view.

The Grand Canyon is grand. It takes your breath away in seconds, while it takes at least a minute for your urbanized brain to process the vastness of the scene.

There I had it. My AHA moment. An insight. A glimpse. It is such a cliche but, I guess, cliches are there for a reason. When one looks and sees, and is there at the moment, utterly present. Everything feels so right and clear. There is no fear, anxiety, beliefs, or understanding. Just and effortless presence.

These brief moments make it all worth the effort.