2. ARTIST BLOG – Looking back
Hi and welcome to the second post of my artist blog.
Today I’m going to write about – Why we left Denmark and ended up living in Bulgaria.
The first thing people ask us when we meet is – WHY! Why on earth did you leave one of the richest and most secure countries in Europe to live in the poorest and probably most wild part of Europe within the EU? That is a good question and I’ll try to answer the best I can .
The backstory is that in 2009 my husband and I had bought a farm very far out in the countryside in Denmark. Both of us came from relatively big towns in Denmark so when we decided to move out into the rural countryside we didn’t really know what we were in for. We wanted to live off the ground, have some animals, raise kids and have a really authentic lifestyle.
It was a question of money as well. We could buy a house cheap in the countryside and money was not growing on trees for us.
My husband is a pensionist because of several illnesses. He got diabetes 1 when he was 33 years old (normally you get it when you are a kid) and he has chronic depression from many years of too much work and too much stress. Those conditions meant that he got a pension for the rest of his life from the Danish system when he was in his late 30´s. It also means that he has to relax a lot and not start too many big projects. Fat chance when you buy a farm
I finished my education as a teacher from the university and wanted to get a job teaching theatre. For ten years I had been an actor and teaching theatre. I wanted a job where theatre was a big part of my job description. I was lucky and got a dream job. So the scene was set – now we just wanted kids! That took a while but in 2011 after a few years of IVF we had twins. Perfect!
So everything had changed very quickly over a 6-year period. I had a full time job after being a creative for very many years. On paper I had everything I wanted – husband, kids, house, job, security, stable income and then I realised – Gasp!
Was that it!? Would I just go to work and come home dead tired and unfulfilled every day for the rest of my life?? I panicked! It is difficult to explain. I had it all but I couldn’t recognise myself anymore. I had lost my creative side and my freedom. I really wanted that back. I craved what I was when I was in my 20’s.
I know that I was very spoiled!! I couldn’t really see what was wrong at the time. Now I know, that I thought, -“this is how it is to be a grown up”. The responsibilities and behaving like everybody else thought you were supposed to behave. I didn’t realise how encreatebly important my artistic side was! There had to be another way of being a responsible adult.
For many years my husband and I had joked that if everything went wrong we could always go to Bulgaria. Some friends of Simons had moved there as a kind of a getaway a few years earlier. We were kind of at the point of “everything had gone wrong”! We were in a crisis and our life was about to go into a new phase in any case. I didn’t want to live in the countryside anymore. That meant that we were selling the house, new job, new kindergarten, new friends anyway. Then we got to talk about Bulgaria a little bit more and we thought, – hey why not!? We sat down and talked about what was really important to us.
On top of everything else, my dear and fabulous mother-in-law had died of cancer not long before. Very quickly, she was much too young and that was a huge blow to us! She was traveling right to the end, which I found extremely inspiring. She left us quite a big sum of money when she passed. We wanted to do something in her spirit with this money. Something that could change our life. We dreamed of more time with the kids and each other, more freedom, traveling and not being a slave to bills, bosses or banks.
Bulgaria is the cheapest country in the EU and our money would go far there. If we moved abroad we would be able to live off my husband’s pension in the beginning, plus we had the inheritance as start-up capital if we decided to settle. None of us had to work and we could see a part of Europe that we had never been before. The kids were 4 years old at the time which meant there were 2-years until they had to start school. So if we decided to travel, this was kind of the ideal time!
When all of that was settled it was kind of a no-brainer – We were going to Bulgaria!!!!
From my first blog posts in 2016 when we had just left Denmark and arrived in Bulgaria: “….It is completely unbelievable that it was only a few days ago that we set off from little Denmark on the big adventure.
For months, weeks and days we were so busy in our house, preparing for sale, cleaning up and packing everything we had gathered over the years. So much to do!!! I felt lighter for every kilo thrown away, sold or given away – I hope Simon didn’t feel poorer for every kilo…if so, well he just needs to get over it, ha ha ha ….”
“….A few days ago we landed in a small village called Sokol with our Danish friends. Their village is so small that you don’t have an address. The house just has a name. So there we were one early morning with nothing but a village name… So nothing else to do then to drive to the village and ask for the Danes at the small grocery store. A nice local jumped in the car (as it is very difficult to give directions when you don’t understand each other) and drove with us to the small section of a very bumpy dirt road to a couple of very surprised friends – who were still in bed. They didn’t even think we had driven from Denmark yet .
I think Sokol is very typical for a small Bulgarian village. Somewhat motley to the unadjusted Danish eye, but very cozy and authentic with horses, pigs, cows, goats, chickens, cats and chain dogs in a large samsurium. Some fenced in and just as many free range…”
There was so much to experience and digest in the first days and months. I will tell you more about our first meeting with the Bulgarian people and culture next time. Take care and thanks for reading!