I have learned some valuable things about about myself here during our winter housesit in Bulgaria. I most definitely enjoy a great many things about a true winter. I love eating snow, playing in snow and watching snow fall and cover everything.
I love baking gingerbread and making houses. I may not be great at gingerbread house construction (mine is the one in the back) but I am pretty good at gingerbread baking…
I love cuddling with dogs and Tom by a fire. These photos are terribly cheesy, I know, but you gotta love those puppy eyes! The dogs are pretty cute too. Dad joke. BOOM
I even love burning aforementioned gingerbread houses in said fire! And all the other warm family indoor activities while it snows.
I love making snowmen, going sledding, snow hiking, snow angels, icicle snow unicorns and snowball fights.
As it turns out, this California girl love’s almost anything you can do in the snow. One thing I most emphatically do not love is downhill skiing.
“I don’t want to do it, NOOO! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”
It was like I was watching myself from afar, totally powerless to stop the keening coming from my own mouth. Oh no! “Did I really just throw my ski poles at the Bulgarian ski instructor?!” my rational mind thought, as I started frantically unbuckling my ski boots, apparently to pull my feet out and start running away in my socks in about 2 feet of snow.
5 year-old Bulgarians started mouth agape at the grown-ass foreign woman having a total melt down on the bunny slope. Calling it a “slope” may actually be too kind. It was probably just steep enough for water to drain down.
In my defense; he pushed me. I was nervous about being on skis for the first time in my life, and could no stop thinking about my unfortunate Australian tailbone breaking incident, and the ski instructor thought that since language was a barrier, the best way for me to learn going downhill was with a hearty push to the back. Boy did he regret that decision when my ski poles went flying at his face.
Luckily his daughter, a lovely 21-year old Bulgarian girl who spoke a surprising amount of English, calmed me down with her heavily accented litany of “it’s not so scary, it’s not so scary, it’s not so scary.” And she was right, with her holding on to me from behind it was not so scary, and I was able to spend a whole 30 minutes on the slope. You know now that I think about it. She may have been convincing herself that I was not so scary as she bravely grabbed me and calmed me down.
Skiing has still not made it to my list of beloved snow activities.
But come on, he PUSHED me.
We spent three weeks in Bulgaria house and dog sitting and appreciating a real winter. We spent the middle of those three weeks with my wonderful sister who spent over 48 hours traveling to spend a week with us- thus totally making our Christmas and Hannukah.
Man- we cannot say enough how much we love it when people come and spend time with us for a bit! Benjamin Franklin said that the best part of traveling is coming home. As most of you know, Tom and I don’t officially have a home now. Our home is wherever we are at the moment. But having family come to see us is a bit like coming home. Or like home coming to us. I don’t know. Either way three cheers for family and friends schlepping around the world to spend time with li’l ‘ol us!!
At the very end of our trip a huge snow storm took down power lines, trees, roads, and our intentions to walk into town that day to buy groceries. Seeing as the fridge was going to be out until the electricity was back up I guess it was kind of good that we didn’t have any food. We spent the last couple days of our Bulgarian winter without heat, lights, an oven or stove or (perhaps most devastatingly) internet. It really drove home the #1 activity of a real winter. Hibernation. It’s hard to trip over things in the dark, get too cold, or feel too hungry if you are just hiding out in a dark cave (bed).
Our time in Bulgaria has been interesting and we were very glad to have experienced it. We knew as soon as we arrived and saw that the signs in the airport included both numbers and backwards letters that we were going to be having some fun with the language barrier. I mean how do you try and pronounce a 3?!
I am writing this now from Горна Оряховица, България. Seriously that is the name of where we are. Now let’s play a game and you try and tell us which of those names on the train sign says “Istanbul.”
Горна Оряховица’s train station, interestingly enough, is unheated even though it is literally freezing outside. Even more surprising (the lack of heat actually was not a surprise at all) the station does have one plug in the wall for all of our dead electronics… and WiFi! Our first connection in days 🙂
It is a hotspot. It’s just not a warm spot. BOOM
Not going to lie, hibernation may be fun for a day or two, but we are very much looking forward to shaking the frost off our backs, icicles off our noses and waking up to the springtime that is Istanbul and then blossoming into the full summer that we imagine Thailand will be.