Coming back to the U.S. after spending a month in my native country every year, I notice the same changes in my personal habits and thoughts on identity. Initially, it’s only the little things I observe. For example, I begin speaking English with my mom who is bilingual as well, instead of our usual Bulgarian banter that we had become so accustomed to throughout my weeks abroad. Or I sense my growing attachment to the calming plains of Ohio as opposed to the majestic Balkans I wake up to every morning in Bulgaria. Most importantly, however, every year, I reconfirm my identity as I once again assimilate into America culture. In Bulgaria, I exude my cherished Bulgarian self, as my love and respect for the country, it’s history, and culture will always remain prominent. I was born in Bulgaria, my family whom I love lives in Bulgaria, I am Bulgarian and I will never dispute that fact. I will always nurture my Bulgarian roots. Nevertheless, immigrating as a five year old child with my family, the values and culture I have been raised upon are undoubtably American. As I delve deeper into my life in America, I notice not thinking of myself as a foreigner, but truly as an American. Although my respect for Bulgarian values and its culture will never fail, I feel more closely related to the American mindset and way of life than its Bulgarian counterpart. Personally, I view this revelation as only being natural, but I will always wonder how my values and life would differ if I was raised in Bulgaria.
Yesterday marked the conclusion of my trip to Spain and as much as I felt content and ready to come back to Sofia and spend my last ten European days of the year in Bulgaria, I cannot wait for my next trip to the land of the bull. Upon arrival, we soon discovered that we were not staying in Alicante, but in a town about 50 kilometers away by the name of Torrevieja. My first thought when I found out, “who the fxck took care of this trip’s logistics?!”. My slightly perfectionist self’s plan for the next ten days crumpled in my mind like the empty extra large bag of potato chips you swore you weren’t going to finish because you were starting a diet, but did anyways. However, then the other side of me chimed in, “oh well, we’ll figure something out,” which is exactly what happened. A few days into the trip, my mom and I woke up and as I started putting my bathing suit on against my newly burnt skin, I shouted to her in the adjacent room, “let’s go to Barcelona”. “Let’s go,” she agreed. Quickly, we got dressed and stuffed our HANDBAGS with extra clothes with the logic that we will buy whatever we needed on the way (complete shopaholic mindset), wallets, and makeup, told the rest of the group our plan, inviting all of course, and headed to the bus station to catch a bus to Alicante, which had the nearest train station. 9 Euro bus from Torrevieja to Alicante, 107 Euro train tickets to Barcelona, but actually being in Barcelona?! So beyond priceless.
When exploring the city the next day, there was one thing that I needed to see, the soccer stadium, shocker, I know. Camp Nou holds 100,000 fans, which to my surprise is smaller than the Ohio State football stadium, but nevertheless, amazing. We walked all around the stadium (where permitted), shopped at the FCB Nike Megastore, and took a look around the FCB museum, which includes all of the soccer club’s history, boasts Messi’s golden boots, and even former Bulgarian player Stoichkov’s jersey and awards. I apologize in advance for the cliched phrase, but I really was a kid in a candy store, especially looking at all of the hot players (sorry, I’m a girl after all). Messi, Pique, Fabregas, newbie midfielder Cristian Tello? Hellll-o, but then again, so many soccer players are hot until the end of a victorious match and you see their wives and children rush the field to congratulate their hubbies and fathers. Never-freaking-mind then, this is exactly why I want to stick to college boys.
I cannot wait for my next Spain experience, especially in Barcelona. Seeing the city, even only for two days, truly fueled my ambitions and reiterated why my desire to learn Spanish, and even Catalan if I must, remains so strong.
I have wanted to go to Spain for as long as I can remember and somehow, the stars have now aligned and I am leaving tomorrow for ten days. I don’t know how crazy fun and wild it will get considering I’m traveling with 90% of my family, but at least I can say I have lost my Spain virginity once and for all. We are staying in Alicante, near the beach, so I definitely cannot complain although ten days of the same scenery might become a little monotonous. My personal view of this trip is simple. We have over a week and as much as I love the beach, Bulgaria has beaches, the U.S. has beaches, we are in freaking Spain, let’s do something and explore. By car, Valencia is only about two hours away from Alicante and Barcelona and Madrid are both around four to five. Totally doable and especially if road sodas are involved, I’m so down. Fingers crossed, I will spend at least half of the trip delving into what Spain has to offer, especially the soccer stadiums, with whoever is willing to come with me. Due to my unquestionably random, but sincere love for Spanish soccer (disregard this year’s world cup… shit happens), I really might mentally shed a tear if I visit the Barcelona soccer stadium, which is also the third largest soccer stadium in the world, only surpassed by the Sao Paulo and Mexico City arenas. Real Madrid’s home turf will be cool to see too, but I’m a little partial to Barça and not just because Gerard Pique is gorgeous. All in all, I can’t wait. Voy a España!
“I’m pissed at him! I’m going to tweet something to make him think I’m going out tonight. He’ll get jealous.” Most of us have definitely heard something similar or even this exclaimation verbatim come out of one of our friend’s or our own mouths at one point or another when discussing a new flame or a boyfriend. I feel like unfortunately everyone has had such thoughts and the desire to scheme in order to catch the attention or receive a reaction from our beaus. So, is this really necessary?? To me, it seems ingenuine. For one to truly like another person and these sentiments to perhaps gradually turn into love, one individual has to like you for you, not the persona you are adopting or the lies you are telling in order to intrigue him or her. The previous also sparks another question. Is it because of our own insecurities that we choose to scheme or because we truly want to keep our counterparts on their toes? Is telling ourselves we are are not going to text back for hours a façade to hide our own fear of seeming too available or feeling like we need to be dependent on another individual? Or are we simply trying to keep our person of interest guessing? I believe that the answer to these questions differs from person to person, but no matter their outcome, I propose one solution to all of these love games: let’s be ourselves. It’s fun to flirt, act coy (disregard Andrew Marvell’s poem “To his Coy Mistress”), and have fun, after all we are girls, right? However, all of these other crazy tactics have to come to an end. Make boys like you for the person you honestly are, not the image you force them to see you as. You will keep them intrigued with your intelligence, spontaneity, smile, or whatever else draws your paramour to you, not your tweet about getting hammered at the bar. Most importantly of all, do not worry about boys. At such young ages, boys should be the least of our worries. Have fun and do your thing; it will work out.
In the famous words of Fergie, “shopping for labels, shopping for love. Manolo and Louis are all I’m thinking of.” Okay, so maybe Manolo Blahniks are a little unattainable right now, but a girl can still think about them, right? The “Dress It Up” section of my blog is strictly for all things fashion, from my own personal favorites to today’s latest trends.
I was born in Sofia, Bulgaria and immigrated to the United States with my parents as a five year old. Ever since, I have not stopped traveling to and from Bulgaria, around Europe, and now, even college spring break vacations. Exploring the world, history, different cultures, languages, and of course the party scenes are honest passions of mine. The “Bon Voyage” page is dedicated to my own travels and experiences as well as other travel related pieces.