Angela moved to Bulgaria in 2004, 8461 km away from home, because she fell in love with the Bulgarian folk music.
“I was studying Russian language and literature at Yale University, and I saw they had a Slavic chorus. I went to the first meeting and they played all different kinds of music – including ‘the Mystery of Bulgarian voices’. I was amazed and fell in love with Bulgarian folk music since.
After my studies in the U.S. I wanted to further study the music in the land where it was created. So I got a Fulbright scholarship and came to Sofia. For me, I had come to Bulgaria with a very romantic idea, coming from folklore, that people were wearing native costumes and singing songs. I came in 1996, which was a very intense year for Bulgaria. It was interesting for me to see contemporary Bulgaria and to see how my stereotype of the country was not very accurate.
I loved Bulgaria and the music, but it was interesting for me to get to know what contemporary Bulgarians were like, what they were interested in and what they worried about, the whole transition into democracy and later the European Union; the whole culture in this super interesting dynamic time of change was not something I expected to see.
In the beginning I mainly worked as a translator, I translated Bulgarian novels and plays to English. The last few years I have been with the Fulbright Commission. We organized study and teaching exchanges between Bulgaria and America.
I decided to stay here because I like the people. I really like how the lifestyle is not as rushed here as it is in America. You have more time to hang out with people, more time for music, art, and for family. I just felt that the pace of life was a really comfortable fit for me. The size of the city is the same as Minneapolis, there is enough going on culturally that is interesting, but it is not too crowded.”