Bella, Poland, in Bulgaria for 5 months

Izabella Plutowska

How would you say, what is EVS?

It’s a volunteering service. And it’s like a place when people can help each other and help other people. And I think for lot of people it’s like an escape from their normal life and problems. As I was speaking with people here, for lot of them it’s like an escape to leave the comfort zone and also not to be there where life is harder. Because here it’s something like utopia.

What is Varna and Bulgaria to you?

Really, nothing special. For me it’s just a city and country. I don’t feel any big love. I really like the nature here but it’s nothing like really “wow, wow, wow!”.

How did you end up in Bulgaria – was it by an accident or you wanted to come here?

It was by an accident. I decided to stop my studies and I knew that I don’t want to go to work and if I would go back to live with my parents I would have to go to work. But I didn’t want it. I didn’t want to have this life with 8 h work day. I needed to change something in my life so I decided to go to EVS. And this opportunity was the first one I saw on Facebook. And when I saw that it’s with kids, I knew that I can do it. So I applied and they chose me. And one more important thing was that I needed sea. I am from a sea city, but last year and half I was not living next to the sea and I really need it, because it’s more open space. So I knew that I need kids and sea to become happy again. And I did it!

As you said Varna and Bulgaria is nothing special to you, but does Varna mean something to you?

Hm.. Parties?! I think parties, yes!

What do you love in Bulgaria?

Kartofki ss sirene*! Zagorka**! And also people.

And what do you like most about this country?

Kartofki ss sirene! (laughing) And also I really traveling here because hitchhiking is really easy and people are open. Some people are really closed but some are really open. When you find some open minded person he’s really, really open, there is nothing in the middle.

What is your job here? What do you do?

I am volunteer in the foundation Balkan kids. And I’m working with disabled kids, with blind people and in two orphanages. In the blind center we are just making some crafts and after that they are selling them because they are really poor, so we are helping them to do it. In the daily center we are helping kids to do some exercises when they need to. And in orphanages we are just playing with kids and showing them that they are important.

How were you surprised by Bulgaria, if you were surprised by something?

I was surprised that it’s really like Poland. It’s more like Eastern Europe but it’s exactly like Poland, everything is the same. Only the roads are worse and people are darker sometimes or more poor. But in general the mentality is the same.

Really? No difference with Poland?

Maybe there is some but I haven’t found them.

Is there something with what you can’t live or agree here, what disturbs you?

That poorness. The cats and dogs, that they don’t spay them, so there are many on the streets and when you walk around you can see them and that no one takes cares of them. and also lot of gypsies, the little gypsies are coming to you and ask you for money, it’s too much. And I think that the government doesn’t do anything with that. Maybe in Poland we have the same with gypsies, but maybe just little less. But I can’t agree with that poorness.

Is there something else you don’t like in Bulgaria?

I think only the poorness. It didn’t surprise me because I knew it’s like this, but I feel really sorry.

You feel more sorry or it’s disturbing you and you can’t live with it?

It’s too sad to be disturbed. And the worst feeling is that I know that I can’t do anything about it. Maybe I’m more disturbed by the feeling that I can’t do anything.

How about the climate? How do you feel about that? Do you like the climate here?

I like. But I really don’t know Bulgarian people. I really like the EVS climate. But I can’t say anything about Bulgarian because I was hanging out all the time with EVS so it’s hard to say.

And about the weather?

It’s a bit hot, but after these 5 months I’m okay with that. My face is all the time wet, but it’s normal now. Now sweat is already part of my body.

What will you bring home from Bulgaria? Is there something you will bring home?

For sure, lot of memories because they will always stay with me. And I bought one piece of Bulgarian traditional dress. I became happier and I became stronger. I think the strength is the thing I will bring home for sure. Because right now I’m feeling really strong and before I thought that I was strong but I realized that I wasn’t. And now I am.

How did you deal with the homesickness while being here?

I didn’t have it. Sometimes maybe I was missing my friends but I didn’t feel homesickness. I have never been homesick, I don’t have problem with that. Because now we have Facebook, so I feel like it’s normal. Before I came here I was living the same just in Poland, but it was still far away, so I didn’t see people I love for long time also. Here it’s the same.

So you didn’t also have something like reverse homesickness when you miss some other place not home?

Sometimes I’m missing places and sometimes I’m missing places I have never been to.

Like which? 

I’m missing places in my imagination. I know that they are in the world, for example, when I’m traveling sometimes I’m finding these places I had in my mind. For example, in Bulgaria there are some waterfalls I wanted to go to, but I don’t have enough time to do it. And that’s the place I really miss. I have never been there, I saw 1 picture and I feel that it’s my place and I didn’t go there. It’s the reason I know I have to come back to Bulgaria, just to see this place and it’s really close to Varna.

How do you deal with this feeling when you miss something that is not home or some imaginary place?

I just try to feel like I’m there and it helps a lot.

Have you found any new hobbies here? Or started doing something new?

No, but I realized that I would really like to work with people with down syndrome. It is going to be my next project.

Have you already planned it?

Little bit, yes I have. I think it will take something like 2 years to make the documentation and after that I will do it, because my friend is already working with people with down syndrome and I will join her.

So you could say that you found a new passion?

Kind of. I noticed that they feel good with me and I also feel good with them, so it’s a good combination.

How much have you been involved in the local cultural life and events? 

Just a little. When it was still school year I was going to some events, but during the holidays I was also going, but not so often. Only sometimes, to some concerts. I saw one really good jazz concert here during one festival. I was involved enough but not so much.

Have you fallen in love with something new here?

Kartofki ss sirene. New people. And that freedom. I mean I have my work to do, but it’s not so much and I know that I have day free and I can do whatever I want or take holidays every week. I really fell in love with freedom because I knew that, but I didn’t know that it’s so easy to make it.

In one word describe – what is your future?


Thank you very much! 


*Kartofki ss sirene – french fries with white cheese

**Zagorka – Bulgarian beer


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