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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Varna, Bulgaria


Beautiful Varna, Bulgaria

Vinitsa, a "modern" village 12km above Varna is the most delightful place I've lived. It is the beautiful simplicity of life.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Varna

Did you receive any cross-cultural training for your move abroad? If yes, was it before or after the move?

My maternal side is of Slavic decent, I read, write and speak Greek, thus making it less cumbersome to learn Bulgarian. The combination of knowledge of a Slavic language and a Cyrillic script eased the language and custom barriers. I also married a Bulgarian in the US, thus learning first-hand a bit about the country prior to moving there.

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If they speak another language in your new country, do you speak the language? If yes, did you learn the language before you moved or while abroad? If no, are you planning to learn the language?

I covered that above.

Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?

Absolutely not. My husband was the one who insisted I would feel "out of place", but it never happened.

How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?

Zilch. Zero. None.

Expats often talk about going through the "stages of culture shock." Examples include the honeymoon phase, the irritation-to-anger stage, the rejection of the culture stage, and the cultural adjustment phase. Do you feel like you went through these or any other stages as you settled into the new culture?

The honeymoon phase never ended and I still love Varna like a newly wed.

What, if any, were some of the changes you noticed in yourself that might have been caused by culture shock? These might include things such as anger, depression, anxiety, increased eating or drinking, frustration, homesickness, etc.

I ate better and healthier foods, but experienced nothing but joy and love for Varna.

What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?

Vinitsa, a "modern" village 12km above Varna is the most delightful place I've lived.

#1 is the beautiful simplicity of life.

#2 the blue skies and rolling hills overlooking Cherno More.

#3 My apartment is like a miniature palace and I feel like a queen in my home.

#4 the fresh air

#5 the Romani, who in stark contrast to the over-serious Bulgarian are quick to smile, chat, laugh and run barefoot in the rain!

#6 the fact that I have every single possible convenience from transportation to veterinarian care; food, restaurants, post, hospital, optician, riding stables, etc..., etc..., etc..., within walking distance - and I mean a few blocks, not kilometers!

#7 for me, it is perfect.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Trying to understand Bulgarian "humor" - they seem to have lost that somewhere along the way. :)

Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!

I wore my first Martinitsa well in June, when a kind friend told me it was time to put it away.

Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?

If you expect culture shock, you will probably have it. If you are anticipating an entire new world opening up to you, that is what you will find.

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Comments about this Report

guest
Jun 4, 2012 13:41

what is a Martinitsa?? can we come and visit..:)) A delightful report and hopefully takes fears away as well as encourage people to 'dare'!!! Thank you! I wish I could be there!!

guest
Jun 4, 2012 18:01

This sounds like the ideal place to be!! What is the Martinista? Exactly where are you living.. city, state, country ?

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