What is EVS for you?
For me? Because I can say really simple – it’s European voluntary service, but for me it was 1 year of my life here in Varna. So I could say that it’s new life, new experience. I met a lot new people, I saw lot of places. Yeah, and life in Bulgaria is my EVS.
So what is Varna and Bulgaria to you?
Varna it’s a city where I live and Bulgaria is a country where is Varna. But if we speak honestly, then I could say that Varna is my home.
You really felt that?
Yes, I felt it. I really feel here like home. Maybe in the beginning it was different because of the period of adaptation – you have to see around and to get used to the place. But I fell in love with Varna . I really like to live here.
How did you came here? It was by an accident or you wanted to come to Bulgaria?
I didn’t choose Bulgaria as a country to live in and to do my EVS. I was just looking for interesting projects. So, I saw the project in university and it was really attractive to me and I decided to come here. Mainly it was because of the project.
You told that Varna is like home to you and what does Varna mean to you except that?
Varna is the city where people can feel free. Maybe Bulgaria is not the country where you can really feel free, but when you are foreigner maybe it’s different, but we’re not gonna talk about that… When I see the sea coast and sea I always have that feeling of freedom. So for me it’s really the sands of freedom!
What do you love in Bulgaria?
Food.! I love Bulgarian food, it’s so good. Of course not only. I also love Bulgarian nature, for me it’s so beautiful . Before my arrival here I never knew anything about Bulgaria and I came here. And mainly I wanted to discover the country and I am interested in nature because I really love it. So for me Bulgarian nature is много красиво*.
Is the nature the thing you like the most in Bulgaria?
In general I like nature, so yeah, is favorite thing what I see here.
What do you do here? What is your job?
As it’s the very end of my project I don’t have a job. But my project was in University of Economics Varna International Relations office , so mainly we were dealing with Erasmus students, most of them were incoming students. We were also dealing with partner universities, also other foreigners who are coming here for full time studies. Mainly my job was to help students, teachers who are coming to university. Our part also was cultural program and events in university, so we were working on that as well.
Basically your work was really international?
Yes, everyday we were meeting new people and that was really nice.
Did you work with lot of Bulgarians too?
All of my colleagues are Bulgarians, so I could say that I’m working in Bulgarian team, but all my colleagues speak in English so I probably never used my Bulgarian in the office.
Did you use your Bulgarian anywhere else?
Yes, when you are traveling it’s useful to know at least some phrases. Specially when you are hitchhiking and others doesn’t know, so this is useful. Of course, with old people, in supermarkets, in market – to buy something or to order in cafes. I like to use my Bulgarian. And it’s more fun!
Would say that you know Bulgarian good?
I can not say that I know Bulgarian good, but I have that survival Bulgarian, that you can leave me in any place in Bulgaria and I will manage.
Will you add Bulgarian to your CV?
Probably it’s not enough to mention it in my CV, so I will not do it. I will mention that I lived in Bulgaria so people will know that I have that understanding but it’s too strong to say that I know the language.
How were you surprised by Bulgaria?
I came here with really low expectations so nothing really surprised me. For me, you know I was like a kid, everyday seeing something and thinking that it’s so amazing. Sometimes it’s amazing in bad way and sometimes it’s amazing in good way. So it was a lot of small surprises but I can not say that something surprised me that much that was shocked or something. No, it’s ok now. I accept the country and the people as they are. I don’t feel that they have to be how I imagine.
Is there something with what you can’t live or agree in Bulgaria, what disturbs you?
I don’t know. It’s hard. Maybe administrative offices and staff there are really slow and if I would like to stay here for longer it would be a bit annoying, because of those rude faces in pharmacy, banks and post office. I really feel that people hate their jobs, so I guess it would be not so nice.
Is there something you don’t like in Bulgaria?
I guess it’s what I just told. That people during working hours are rude.
And that is the only thing?
Now I’m really close to leaving this country and I don’t really want to think about those things. I love Bulgaria.
What will you bring home from Bulgaria?
Magnet with Bulgaria.! I guess I will bring home all my experience that I got here. Some sirene to make Shopska** salad. The most important thing is the experience and the feelings that I got here, so I will keep them for I guess the rest of my life. This was nice year. And it is the most important thing that I wanted to bring home and that I want to spread in my country. Because Lithuanians are not really informed about Bulgaria, so when I will show my pictures from trips and when I will tell my stories I will always mention the good parts about Bulgaria. Because when you have never been to a country you should know some good things about it. Because you know, media is always spreading the bad things – how it’s poor and so on.
How did you feel about the climate here?
As you know I am from Lithuania and it’s a bit difficult for me because I’m not used to heat and hot weather. So for me it’s a bit hard. I’m suffering sometimes like a husky dog because sometimes it’s really hot. But you know, I can not change climate so I just have to get used to it.
And how was in the winter? You didn’t miss snow or coldness?
We had several days of snow, we enjoyed it and everything was fine. I’m not fan of winter. My birthday is in winter but I like summer more. Ok, maybe not summer but spring. It’s my favorite season. And in Bulgaria winter is not that strong, there was just few cold days.
How did you deal with the home sickness?
I don’t feel that my home is somewhere else. I am bringing my home with me. You know, my home it’s not a house, my home it’s the feelings that you share with people where you live, in environment around you. I am creating my home everywhere I am.
So you didn’t also have something like reverse home sickness when you miss some other place and not home?
Probably that is not my thing. I never miss. Maybe I’m thinking about people and some moments, but it’s not that you feel sick or get depressed and can no move your ass out of the bed.
What is your life outside of work?
(Sarcastically) I’m not a social person, usually I’m not going out. I like to just sit and watch movies at home. No, no, it’s completely not true! I consider myself a social person so I like to go to different format of events. And I like to meet the people. I like to be outside. Also it’s amazing that Varna has the sea and the beach, so I really love to stay there with friends, with my favorite Zagorka. I like to enjoy life. Also there was so many parties. I could say that every day it’s a holiday… After job.
Did you get involved in the local life, in the local culture and events?
It’s a bit hard to say. Maybe not really in Bulgarian life because if the language of the event is Bulgarian I will not be able to participate and to join events. But Varna is kind of international city and here is lot of events in English or in other languages. I was joining only those events in English.
Have you found some new hobbies here? Or started doing something new?
I could not say that. Maybe I stopped reading so it’s not that I started to do but I miss one of my biggest passions . But new hobbies here… I don’t know. I am the kind of person who really likes to try new things but not the person who keeps them for a long time, so no.
Have you fallen in love with something new here?
I guess it will be the freedom feeling. That you can go to sea garden and you see the sea and you feel free. I love that feeling.
In one word describe – what is your future?
Thank you very much!
*много красиво – very beautiful (translated from Bulgarian)
**Shopska salad – also known as Bulgarian salad (made from tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, raw or roasted peppers and sirene)