Nuria, (e)Spain, in Bulgaria for 12 months

Nuria Jarque Gonzalez

What is EVS?

For me? For me it’s one year full of experiences, of learning and of sharing.

What is Varna and Bulgaria?

Varna has been my home all this year full of places to be, just to sit and enjoy the views, the weather, especially now in summer and in spring. And Bulgaria is a new place to discover, because I didn’t know anything about it before coming here and now I feel that I have learned something about this country.

So you can say that Varna is like home to you….! How did you end up in Bulgaria – by an accident or you wanted to come here?

Ok, I came to Varna not because of the place, but because of the project. I wanted to work with people in risk of exclusion and then I saw this project – to work with teenagers, children in orphanages and the only place where I could do it was here. And the I checked where is this city and I saw that it’s very close to the sea and I said – “ok, bravo!”. So it was more by an accident.

What do you love in Bulgaria?

The food! In Bulgaria I love the food, new experiences, the way how I how gotten inside of the culture – the markets, making a daily life. Also to discover new alphabet and new culture.

Was it easy to discover new alphabet?

For me, no. Because I was used to Latin alphabet and this is different  but it helps to open my mind more.

What do you do here? What is your job here?

As I told, my job was to work in an orphanage, I was there once per week and I made workshops there and played with the kids and other things. And also The Social Tea house. It’s a new place that we opened in May and there we made some events, some activities, because the idea of this project that it will provide work to teenagers who have lived in difficult situations for example, some of them were in the orphanage years ago.

You also helped to renovate the place?

Yes, before May. Because it was one bank, a public bank that was closed 5 years ago and the association Idea they got it and now they can use it for another 5 years or even more.

What do you like the most about this country?

As i told you – the difference, the landscapes, the city, to discover new things that I couldn’t even imagine and it’s a history so different to ours, because in Spain we didn’t have communism.

How were you surprised by Bulgaria? Like, did something surprise you here?

Ok, yeah, it was a small detail that is on the trees and on the doors I see the portraits of the people who have died. And “it’s wow, what is going on?”, then my mentor explained that when the people die, they put it for a while just to remember and then the neighbors can know that this person passed away but they are forever there. This is one thing. Another thing is that there are lot of dogs and cats on the street, even more during the spring time. Also the coffee machines on the street. and lot of people who are asking for money and you can know exactly when and where they are. And also that I feel very safe in this country, I mean in the country in general and in Varna particularly.

And you were surprised by that?

Yes, I didn’t know anything, but I didn’t expect to feel so at my home for one year.

Is there something with want you can’t live or agree in Bulgaria? What disturbs you?

First, it’s the people who are desperate in the streets. I don’t know if it’s because they don’t have resources or because they don’t know how to have access to them.

With everything else you can live?

Ok, the weather in winter is so…

How is the climate for you?

The climate for me in autumn and winter is not so good, but in spring and summer is great. Because I enjoy the beach and the Sea garden, the sunsets. But actually, I don’t feel that it’s something that disturbs me and that because of it, it’s not possible to live here, it’s just different. But when I usually walk in my city people smile and look at each other, but here no. And even I fell twice with the bike and nothing! Nobody came to help me. C’mon! They looked but did nothing. These kind of things are not very human.

Is there something else what do you not like in Bulgaria?

Maybe that sometimes it’s difficult to organize things. There are lot of bureaucracy. It’s difficult to even be a volunteer, because we tried to go to one hospital to work with children and with people there, but even for that we need lot of papers, lot of things.

So it’s not just for the locals it’s for everyone?

I think even more for foreigners because Bulgarian language is so difficult and they (people who work in state authorities) don’t know English and I understand. They know more Russian than English, that’s why it’s difficult to have a good communication.

What will you bring home with you from Bulgaria?

Okey, I will bring The Sea garden, the sunsets at the beach, the beach, the people that I have known here and that I like and I have learned a lot, new experiences I have had, the travels. Wow.

And what about sirene*?

Of course! In my stomach, in my mind, in my everything. I love it!

Did you have to deal with homesickness at some point? 

Some kind, but more when the weather was bad and some things happened in my family, but in general I was quite good.

How did you deal with it?

Just kept feeling what I have to feel and just let it flow. And then it goes away and I continued with the travel.

Maybe you experienced some kind of  reverse home sickness when you miss place that is not your home? For example when you miss Bulgaria?

Yes, it was in Spain. I had some problems with my foot and I couldn’t come back on time, on the 8th of January as I had in my mind. Then in my mind I had lot thoughts – what do do? And I didn’t know. These doubts about what was going to happen, if I could come or not it was difficult, because I didn’t feel not in Spain, not here. It was difficult to be in the middle of nowhere.

What is your life outside of work? What do you do?

I started to have new hobbies. Like drawing, joggling not so much but sometimes I try to improve. Cinema, but just to see new movies to learn English and I am proud of that. Reading also with the new language. Cycling a lot around the Sea garden. I’m fan of the Sea garden and to be on the beach. Just write in Spanish, also. Like this, simple.

How much have you been involved in the local life and culture? Do you go out to some local events?

Actually, more than local events I have been more in international events, like at the University (University of economics Varna), at Lecti, at The Social Tea house of course and I organized some of them. Sometimes in festivals I went to the Opera, to know the place, because it’s amazing inside and also for a concert. Yes, some festivals I have enjoyed here, for example, folklore festival, the Day of the music. I could say that I enjoy it.

Have you fallen in love with something new here?

Sirene. The cheese, the freedom to live here and coming here and to where ever I want. The food, also the market and fresh wood in it. The possibility of this year and all the experiences that I had the opportunity to live.

In one word describe – what is your future?


Thank you very much Nuria! Besos!

You’re welcome!

*Sirene – type of brined cheese made in South-Eastern Europe


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