I'm not going to lie. I had a lot of anxiety before I came to Bulgaria. This is not my first time abroad, or even living abroad, but I didn't know what to expect. I have been to Bulgaria before, but my impressions of Sofia the first time around were not the greatest. Everything felt a little too post-Communist. Too gritty. Ugly sky-scrapers are not a promising feature of any city. (Then again, Seoul has a lot of those, but manages to retain its awesomeness).
However, after my walks around my neighborhood yesterday and today, this anxiety is being quickly replaced with delight. I'm re-discovering why I fell in love with Eastern Europe in the first place. One of the biggest reasons? The people. Bulgarians have already been very helpful with my awkwardness in adjusting, and also they are surprisingly good at English. (This last part is not good in the long run with my goal to learn Bulgarian, but useful for my first weeks of orientation). My landlady has also been a great help. When there were no pots and pans in the kitchen, I asked if it was my duty to buy them for myself. I'm not really sure what is included in a fully-furnished apartment, but she was quick to go out shopping and delivered them to my door tonight. I can now cook, which is one of those things that really makes a place feel like home.
The city center is about a twenty-minute walk from my place, and the walk itself is quite pleasant. Although lacking in the architectural beauty of other Eastern European cities, i.e. Prague, the boulevards are wide, with lots of trees and space for walking. Also, I'm very close to a huge grocery store, which is a relief when compared to Kangnam and its expensive grocery stores. Last night, on my walk, there were TONS of street performers. I can't really recall much in Korea besides the random guitar players in Hongdae. There was even a string quartet. I love Europe.