“I came to Bulgaria because I wanted to try something new after I graduated from university. I decided that I wanted to work abroad and I had already met a lot of very nice Bulgarian people in the Netherlands. Additionally, I have an East European background and I wanted to know what it is like to live in another part of Europe.
My mother is from Ukraine and my dad from Syria. I lived in both countries and in Russia when I was younger but grew up in the Netherlands. When moving to a new place you expect everything to be different but there are always a few things that you assume as standard, that are the same in every place; but even those small ordinary things can turn out to be totally different. For example, in the Netherlands it is polite to take a decision right away and not wait too long. Here in Bulgaria I feel it is more polite to wait a little longer before answering anything. Also, you expect nonverbal language to be the same everywhere. So when nodding ‘no’ you actually mean ‘no’ and not as in Bulgaria when people nod ‘no’ they actually mean to say ‘yes’.
This has led to some funny moments here. Even though I know this is the Bulgarian way and I had visited Bulgaria before, sometimes when I order and the waitress nods ‘no’ it takes me a few seconds to understand that she is actually saying ‘yes’ to my order.
In the beginning when I decided that I wanted to move here it was pretty easy. I took the decision and I continued my life in the Netherlands. Two weeks prior to my move, after I found a job and my ticket was booked, I started to become more nervous. I had to say goodbye to my friends and family, and I realized that I was leaving my life in the Netherlands behind me.
I never regret moving, I think it adds a lot to your life to live somewhere new and unknown.”