“I was born in Kuwait, but I’m originally from Palestine; I came to Bulgaria in 1992 when I was five years old. It is hard for me to point out something specific that I miss about Palestine, since I have been here for most of my life. I am a full Bulgarian by now. I hadn’t been back to Palestine for such a long time; I went back for the first time in November last year. That was the first time I got to see what is happening in the region.
There are two questions I am never fully able to answer: what is your name and where are you from. The answer to the first one does not sound at all like it should in Bulgarian. It has nothing in common with my original name. Because of this, to make it a little easier, my friends thought of a nickname for me eight years ago, Habibi ('my love' in Arabic), and they still use it. The second question is hard to answer because my parents were born in Palestine, but I was born in Kuwait and have lived in Bulgaria my whole life.
What I enjoy the most in Bulgaria is nature and my friends. I like to travel and walk a lot, mainly in the mountains. I can combine both in my job as an architect. I get to travel around Europe for conferences and other gatherings.
My favorite Bulgarian food is ‘tripe soup’; we are the only ones, besides Bulgarians, that can make and eat that. There is a Palestinian community in Bulgaria and we meet up from time to time. I have some friends among this group and we keep in contact, but most of them went back to Palestine. My mom is a teacher at a Palestinian school here. My dad is also a teacher, in physics, but he moved to Qatar to work for a few years. I also speak Arabic; I graduated from an Arabic language school in Bulgaria.”