Public Republic random header image

Life in Bulgaria

March 20, 2012 by · 1 comment

Lauren Sophie Kearney


You may not believe me when I say that I feel more Bulgarian than English. But it’s true, from the moment I set foot in Bulgaria I was instantly drawn to it; as if it was home…the home I had been searching for my entire life. England had never been a place I called home and in my opinion, it is only my tongue that defines me as English, nothing else.

Some people believe that those who are born in a country should stay in that country because they belong there, but I don’t believe it, how can they be so naïve? Some people, I think, are displaced and I was one of them people. As a child I travelled a lot with my family and even as young as I was then, I saw that there were better places out there than dreary old England.

My parents, also, had always wanted to move to another country, even before I was born, so it was constantly a topic of conversation in our house. At first it was Greece, then Turkey, France and then Bulgaria. And finally after what seemed to me like thirteen years of contemplation, we all decided that Bulgaria would be where we would go.

So, in January 2008, we left England to start a new life in Bulgaria. My parents had bought a house in a rural Bulgarian village in the Gabrovo district the previous year, and I’d only seen the house once. As you can imagine, it was January in Bulgaria and the snow was about a meter deep; I had never in my life seen snow like that.

When I told my friends about it in the U.K they thought it sounded amazing, after all, they never had much snow in England, there wasn’t even enough to make a snowman. Making a snowman, however, was the last thing I wanted to do. I could not even feel my hands; they were so cold and painful from the intense weather.


The locals in the village were looking at me like I was an alien … was it because I was a foreigner or was it because I resembled an Eskimo? At this moment the thought – I’m NEVER going to fit in here, entered my mind.

As the months passed by it wasn’t just the weather that improved, life in Bulgaria was beginning to improve as well. We met the neighbor and some of the locals, me and my sister began to integrate as we went to the local shop/bar and slowly, things were getting better. We were invited round our neighbor’s house where I first tested the nation’s favorite tipple – Rakia.

I was only thirteen-years-old then and alcohol wasn’t something I liked very much. I have to admit I didn’t and still do not like Rakia, although I do drink it if I am invited to a Bulgarian house party. One thing I soon picked up on was how Bulgarians nod for ‘no’ and shake their head for ‘yes’. It was confusing to begin with, especially when I ordered a drink at a bar and they answered by shaking their head.

It was quite funny actually, looking back to that time. Through integrating with the locals who couldn’t speak a word of English, I was beginning to pick up the language and alongside this, I self-taught myself Bulgarian. My sister and I had had language lessons but they didn’t help at all and so we both decided to teach ourselves; to our delight, we improved rapidly. Though I was not fluent, I was able to get my point across and make basic conversation – it felt really rewarding.

Within several months, I had completely settled in to life in Bulgaria, but there was just one more thing I needed – an education. After thorough research, my parents decided that it would be best for me to study from home through distance learning courses. Whenever I tell people that I am home schooled, their immediate reaction is: ‘Wow! You don’t go to school. I wish I could do the same as you.’


What they do not know, however, is that maintaining an education from home isn’t as easy as it may sound. Heaps of motivation, self-discipline and dedication are needed if you want good results from your studies. To this day, I still follow a strict schedule to ensure I am dedicating as much time to my education as possible.

My parents were becoming concerned about work, and within a matter months they bought an online business; a website all about Bulgaria – Quest Bulgaria. I wrote a couple of articles for the site but unfortunately due to my heavy studying schedule, I failed to continue.

Currently, I am continuing my education from home, in an attempt to become a writer. Alongside my Education, I write for a Boston based teenager’s magazine: Teen Voices, where my work has been published online and in print. I have also recently become familiar with Public Republic and I hope I will continue to share my work with this excellent magazine.

Things I love about Bulgaria …

• Bulgarian food – all of it!
• The numerous public holidays – an excuse to party
• The coffee machines on every corner of a street
• The traditions; something England has never had
• The landscape

I was born in Leicestershire in England and I moved to Bulgaria when I was thirteen-years-old. I lived in a rural village in the Gabrovo district for the first four years but currently I am living in Burgas and enjoying every moment of it.

As for work, I write for a Boston based magazine known as Teen Voices and also Public Republic. My dream for the future is to become a full-time writer in Bulgaria.

Related posts ↓

1 comment so far ↓

  • Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!