Adjusting To Village Life

It’s been over 5 weeks since we arrived in Bulgaria and yet it feels so much longer. We haven’t really had much relaxation time as there is so much to do and to be honest it’s not always been easy. Don’t get me wrong, we love it here and it’s one of the best decisions we have ever made, but it can be a struggle at times. Anyone who is thinking of moving to Bulgaria needs to think about it long and hard, as life here is completely different to life in the UK. In order to enjoy living here, you have to embrace it with an open mind, respect the Bulgarian ways and try to integrate as best you can.
Buying a house that needs renovating and trying to live, even a partially self-sufficient life, takes a lot of hard work and determination. We don’t have a toilet or water inside the house, so it’s a bucket for a toilet and dishes, clothes, etc is done outside at the moment. Most of the time I don’t mind, but there have been days that its wore me down. Take the other day, my sheets and towels needed washing, trying to wring out king size sheets outside from a bucket is no mean feat, then trying to hang them on the line without dragging them on the floor is even harder. I failed miserably and the bottom of the sheets hit the dirt, I just wanted to cry! It takes 20 minutes and 5 boiled kettles to fill up our big bowl with water for a bath, which is placed inside a small, dry paddling pool and a cup is used to pour water over ourselves. It does the job but its time consuming and a little awkward.
Then there’s our neighbours that regularly invite us around last minute for something to eat. The other day we had been working all day painting and fitting our little kitchen, I was just finishing making our evening meal, when our neighbour invited us around to eat. Andy tried to explain that I had just cooked, but they wouldn’t take no for an answer, so he told them we would be round in 10 minutes. Well I must admit, I threw my teddy out the cot ! After ranting to Andy that I wasn’t going, I wasn’t going to waste our dinner and I’d had enough, I gave in as I didn’t want to offend our neighbour. I wasn’t trying to be mean, I was just so tired, my hands and back was hurting and all I wanted to do was eat my dinner, have a bath, then go to bed as we had another hard day ahead of us. Turns out we had a lovely evening and ended up a little worse for wear ( too much drink! ).
In all honesty, despite my one moment of acting like a spoilt child, I love our neighbours. They are a kind, generous couple who have welcomed us with open arms from the first day we arrived. They are one of the reasons why we love Bulgaria .
Living in a village is like going back in time, 50 or 60 years. Most of the food that the villagers eat is grown and reared. Not much is thrown away, it is kept and recycled. They use what they have around them to make repairs on the house . Nothing seems to be wasted, everything seems to be put to good use, right down to a branch that has been pruned off a tree! Even though we have only been here a short time, watching our neighbours has taught us to use our imagination more, if its broken we no longer throw it away and go buy a new one, instead we try to find a way to fix it. If we can, we try to use whatever is in our house or on our land to make things. Some things we need to buy but if we can avoid it we can. To us it’s a more positive way to live as it makes us appreciate things more and gives us a sense of pride.
I admit, I can’t wait to get water into the house so I can have a flushing toilet, a shower and a washing machine, these are the luxuries I miss the most, but I don’t miss the ‘throw away nation’ that we lived in, in the UK. Although its hard work, it’s good to go back to basics, to learn how to live of the land as much as possible, to create things by your own hand, to take the time to know your neighbours and learn from their vast knowledge, to do things the ‘ old fashioned way ‘, these are the things that are lacking in the UK and what makes us so glad to be living in Bulgaria. I know that in the future we will be faced with difficult times and have moments when we might want to give up, but we will overcome those moments because this simple, basic life we have chosen will give us the most satisfaction and happiness than we have ever had and you can’t put a price on that…….


  1. cityandthemountains

    Sounds like a really interesting adventure. We are doing a similar thing but cheated a bit as my wife is Polish and we are with family. Good to hear both sides, it isn’t all fun and games I know. Good to have nice neighbours though. Good luck!!

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