Sunday, February 10, 2019

Ten Years After Bulgaria Began


It was on a surprisingly warm January day in 2009 when my flight landed at Sofia International Airport. It was on a freezing, snowy day just three weeks later that Jodie joined me in the Bulgarian capital. We were at the start of my job’s two-year relocation from Tel Aviv to Sofia. Our Bulgarian adventure had begun.

During those two years we traveled extensively around the country. We learned about Bulgaria's history and culture, we visited its villages, enjoyed its cuisine, and climbed its mountains. We studied the Bulgarian language (although we never learned to speak it), and made many friends.

Living in Bulgaria was for us a life-changing experience. As a couple, we had never previously lived outside Israel. We had never lived, for that matter, in a city. It wasn’t all that easy, living away from our family. But, those two years did open our eyes to so many things. We look back fondly at that period knowing that we took full advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity we had to live in such a fascinating place.

My Bulgarian experiences led to significant new directions in my creative writing. I began writing travel reports on the many wonderful places to visit in the country, most of them not even imagined by western travelers. I began searching out every Bulgarian novel I could find translated into English and wrote book reports to share this interesting literature. And, more than anything else, I was encouraged to write fiction. The result has been two suspense novels set in Bulgaria, Valley of Thracians and The Burgas Affair. Both of them serve as an introduction to the country as well as being fast-paced thrillers.

Jodie and I left Sofia in January 2011 and returned to our permanent home in Israel. We went back to Bulgaria in 2015 to visit friends, retrace our footsteps in Sofia, and to explore parts of the country we had not yet seen. We returned to Bulgaria again in the summer of 2016 when The Burgas Affair was published in its Bulgarian edition.

Actually, I visit Bulgaria nearly every day. I continue to think about our lives in Sofia and the wonder of exploring the countryside. When I sit at a coffee shop each morning, I find myself writing new travel reports in attempts to encourage tourists to visit the country. And lately, I have written a number of short stories set in Bulgaria which I hope to publish in the months to come.

I have high hopes of returning to Bulgaria very soon – to hike in the stunningly beautiful Bulgarian mountains. Hopefully there are new Bulgarian adventures yet ahead!

1 comment:

  1. I admire your dedication in continuing to write about that beautiful place and its generous and complex people. My writing has slowed to sporadic, but the love of Bulgaria remains. My wife and I recently enjoyed a wonderful visit from some Bulgarian friends we had met during our time there. We delighted in mixing languages and bringing back old memories for two weeks while showing them all we could of Colorado. Here as well as there, we love having Bulgaria in our hearts. Write on!

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