IS this The End?

Hello and Goodbye.

Almost 4 month ago I started this blog as it was a requirement for one of my class- Multimedia Journalism, JMC 220. At first I was struggling with it. I did not have a plan, I did not know who to interview, what questions to ask, how to avoid academic style of writing, to which I was so used, and to start writing more freely, the way I know I would like. Almost 4 months later, I am not struggling anymore. I have a plan. I know who to interview. I know how to ask uncomfortable questions in a comfortable way so that I get a satisfying answer. And vice versa. I can ask for the most comfortable truth in a very disturbing, but influential way. Get even more than just the truth. And I do write more freely, I believe. Come on, I even let myself use slang and censured swear words. If that is not an improvement, then WAT? Oh, and questions…my favorite questions that I use even in research papers which is, by the way, a total mistake. Now I know how to use questions, where in the text to ask my readers… for the obvious.

If I have to be honest, I did not learn this FROM this class. I learned it THROUGHout this class. MMJ set the foundations of my career as a journalist. I tested my abilities to ask random people for interviews, to bribe friends to participate in videos, to spend 4 hours on editing a video, ignoring the midterm I had on the next day.  And I did it. And so did all of my colleagues. We “survived” as Professor Melody Gilbert likes to say. I am so happy for all of them. I believe they had fun and they all learned the 80/20 rule of Twitter. Now that I mentioned Twitter… Gosh, I never thought I would be obsessed with another social platform other than Facebook. But here it is…. My first thought when I find something on the Internet is to TWEET about it. I used to hate even the verb…TWEET…it sounds like something very annoying. Now I do it all the time. I tweet on events, I tweet on parties, I tweet on video shooting, I tweet from EVERYWHERE (well, not from the bathroom..I have not gone that far…for now.)

We are all up and running, just the way a real journalist should be.

I believe this class just realized my full potential, gave way to what was already there to grow. Grow steadily, with time. For this reason, I am not going to “abandon” my blog. This is not going to be ONE OF THOSE school assignments that you can just not wait to be over. This blog means more to me. So I am going to continue asking random people for interviews, bribing friend for videos, spending 4 hours on editing.

With this post I am not saying goodbye to my readers and to my blog.  I am saying goodbye to a class I took during my sophomore year at AUBG. A class that taught how to use Thinglink and Storify, how to work with Moviemaker, what is VO and SOT and NEVER TO PUT A DOT OUTSIDE THE BRAKETS. I am saying goodbye to Professor Melody Gilbert (at least for now) who taught me that deadlines are more than IMPORTANT and that being late is just not an option. I am not saying goodbye to my blog. I might shift the perspective and the topic, but it is always going to be there, for those who still have not gone on Work and Travel. Or for those who do not know that red does not go with pink (that much.) Or for those who need an advice at that very moment of their life and stumble upon my blog “50 shades of Souls.” Changed perspective, as I said. These are only future projects, though. A blog is like your personal journal; like a diary even. There are a number of examples in my class that used their blog posts for their own “adventures.” Or for the “adventures” of other that are part of their life.

I am not going to say much about my blog because if you have ever read even a single post, you already know what it is about. For those of you who have just know discovered it, well… it is about something that I was passionate about in the beginning of the semester and that I am still passionate about. Because it brought such a huge change to my life, you cannot even imagine.

You remember how I promised to reveal my secret when I am finishing with the blog? Most of you probably assumed that this is going to be at the end of the semester, that I am going to put the GRANDE FINALE and just leave it and forget about it. Well…not really, no…sorry for the disappointment, but if you want to know WAT happened to me on August 22nd, 2014, while I was on my WAT in Anchorage, Alaska, you gotta stay and wait for me to get fed up with asking people around. But I am warning you…I am quite persistent when I am interested in something. I might not write every single week, especially not during the holidays (I just cannot wait for Christmas, I LOVE HOLIDAYS) but you will hear from me from time to time, when I decide that there is an interesting story I want to tell you. Like all those stories I have shared by far. About Georgi and his adventurous nature, about Ventzi who saw the not-so-sugar-coated face of the US, about Boyana who changed so much, even her friends cannot recognize her, about Ceco who I now call Mr. MG (for Magellan), or about Ani, who found her true love. Like all those stories I am about to share….one of them being mine.

Thank you, people. Thank you, friends. Thank you, everybody…

Almost 4 months ago I started this blog. Almost 4 months later I am saying Hello again.

And Goodbye.

You decide if what you want to hear is Hello…or Goodbye.


1 out of 10

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the waaaaay…oops

It is December already. Cannot believe how fast time flies. Are you in that typical Christmas mood, you know… you are dreaming of sitting by the fireplace, wearing your favorite socks, drinking hot coco….? Well, I sure am…But there are 20 days….20 more days until the time for Home Alone and all those cute Christmas movies comes.  By then, dear readers, I am going to be entertaining you with my weekly blog  posts. This week I will introduce you one of Santa’s favorite Snow Whites (yeah, Santa in my imagination has 7 Snow Whites, not 7 dwarfs….grow up! haha) – Anna Nikolova.

Ani is a friend of mine, sophomore at AUBG, majoring in Economics and Mathematics (for those who know me- what a surprise, I do have smart friends….) who is local- from Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria. Ani was not really sure if she wanted to give me an interview because the subject of the questions was kind of…personal, but in the end… we had a really nice conversation. One of those during which you just sit, drink coffee and have a nice time talking about your amazing moments on WAT. Because, yes, Ani’s time in the US was incredible, with one-two exceptions of course.

Ani arrived in the states, more precisely- North Rim, Arizona- on the May, 12 and that is when her adventures began. She had everything set already- housing, work, even food and although she went there completely alone, she did not have such a hard time adjusting. For her Work and Travel she chose Usit Colors as that is what her friends had advised her to do and she was satisfied with the job they found her. Ani was working as a busser and basically she lived off the tips ($100 per shift… Jeez)  because you know…Americans have this AMAZING tradition of giving HUUUUGE TIPS (unlike in Bulgaria, where if you leave 10 stotinki you feel like you got robbed -.-.) However, it was not only the tips she was happy about…. Being a busser she did not just make a lot of money…she made herself believe that Americans ain’t that stupid after all…And all of this because she ….fell in love.

(In the meantime, I am listening to IT IS NOT ABOUT THE MONEY, MONEY, MONEY…had to share)

Her name- Anna, His name- Scott. If you ask Ani,the first thing she found attractive about him was that he had two Bachelor Degrees so..he was not one of those dumba** Americans, that just sit on the couch, eating chips and shouting at the TV. And that really impressed her. That (and probably his motorcycle) was what made her fall in love with him. Cute, right ?

I have always enjoyed writing about love stories because when you are asking that person questions, he or she gets excited even over the little things. You can SEE the spark in their eyes while talking about the person they love. And that is what makes love stories special. Not just the STORY, but how people INTERPET it and talk about it with their HEARTS. Ani is no exception. When I asked her “So you are really in love with that dude?” she just smiled at me and asked me back “Are you in love?” and it took one look for me to understand her.

I just realized something. Even though I am a future journalist, I do believe in privacy and the importance of not violating it. I really want to tell you everything about Ani’s story as it is really sweet and is not one of those that will give you diabetes, but it is a REAL one. It has its ups and downs, but that is the way it is supposed to be, right? But it is Ani’s love story, which she will probably tell her grandchildren, who are then going to tell it to their grandchildren and so on…you know how that works. It is something special for her… However, since I am good person and I know how curious you already are…I am going to reveal A LITTLE BIT of what she told me, just so that you do not “starve.” Deal?

Ani and Scott had a really nice summer. They did not waste even a second of it (unlike me…oh wait…I am not allowed to talk about this, not yet.) They did all sorts of crazy things together, but the most memorable one was their regular hikes in the Grand Canyon. They went on a trip to Las Vegas, Utah, South Rim …so you can say that she also saw SOME of the other states besides Arizona.  The two lived together, worked together, did everything together. And did not get fed up with this routine, can you imagine? I don’t know how you’ll call it, but for me this is genuine PASSION. So wonderful…

What’s more… they are making plans for their future together. Where to go, what to do…plans that couples usually make. He is even going to come in 20 days, all the way from Arizona to Bulgaria… a country he probably had never heard about before he met Ani. Because of love. Sorry, I got carried away, got too romantic all of a sudden. I really like that kind of optimism that is not just delusional, but that is TRUE and GENUINE, no hidden agenda, no nothing…. pure optimism. And I believe that they will manage to make things work despite the distance and  other obstacles…:) But wait…how could I know? It is not like I have any experience in this whatsoever *cough*cough*

That’s how much I am willing to share with you about Ani’s love story. But I promise I have another interesting story. *wink*wink*

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you beat someone’s a**  at work? Let’s assume the answer is yes… well, my dear friend Ani tried her luck and showed her violent, barbaric Bulgarian side hahaha. She did not stop laughing while telling me what actually happened because now when she thinks about it… she could have got not only fired, but extradited from the country. Basically, there was this dude at work who just broke up with his girlfriend and was being a total jerk. That very day was Ani’s turn to face his attitude of a 6-year-old boy that did not get the toy it wanted. But Ani, being a Bulgarian and being a woman/snake (that is how one of her friends calls her) did not put up with him. As usual, he was being mean, but this time things would escalate. Everybody from the restaurant she worked at knew about her relationship with Scott and everybody was fine with it, knowing that they were simply IN LOVE. There is nothing wrong about that. However, that jerk decided to make fun of them and Ani heard him saying Yeah, Scott is giving his sl*t bigger tips so that she will then pay him back you know how hahaha. And that was the turning point, that was what Ani was waiting for. She turned around and slapped him so hard her hand hurt. Everybody- the servers, the other bussers, the manager…everybody just stood there, not knowing what to do or say. They were just STUNNED by what they just witnessed…. I have only one comment for this…GO ANI, GO, SHOW THEM JERKS WHAT THEY DESERVE! (#Feminismmuch..)  Lucky for her, she did not get fired, in fact nobody said nothing…they were probably afraid after seeing her throwing punches.

Having such experience with Americans, Ani gave me this advice

Do not trust Americans. 90% of them are lying to you or just saying something FOR THE SAKE OF SAYING IT, not because they care for you. Two-faced, that is the right word for them.  However, the other 10% are those who are worth not giving up on your faith. If you find those 10%, consider yourself lucky.

From what she said…I really do consider myself an EXTREMELY LUCKY PERSON…but let me not pull the Devil by the tail. Why am I lucky? Wait for the next post and I will finally reveal MY SECRET and Wat was my Most Memorable Time while on WAT….

Keep your spirits up! And the usual- follow me on Facebook and Twitter. I cannot promise you presents from me, but I can certainly talk to Santa and figure something out.

Oh by the way, I was looking for some cheerful Christmas tweets on Twitter and I made a story from them 🙂 I guess I am not the only weirdo who cannot wait! Check it out!


Loooooking Myself In the…..Window

Guten Abend fellow followers, precious readers, and whoever else is out there. November 27, 2014. Thursday has come, and it is time for your regular portion of me and my useful (I believe) posts about people’s wonderful (and sometimes not so wonderful) time in the US as part of the WAT program. This week I am going to put my friend Radoslav Nikolov on the operating table, grab a “scalpel” (I mean pencil, don’t worry- he is still alive) and go through every single layer….of stories he has to share. I don’t know where I am going with the whole Doctor Sexy (for you- Supernatural fans) thing, but we’ll see. Rado is a sophomore at AUBG and comes from a little town in the east part of Bulgaria– Targovishte. He is majoring in Business and Economics and this year-2014- was his first time in the US. What is peculiar about Rado is that unlike most of the people I interviewed, he did not choose one of the big companies to deal with his paperwork and stuff, but put his faith in the hands of GTCE.

did a pretty good research, asked a lot of people, and the only company that nobody had anything bad to say about was GTCE. So I went with that and do not regret my decision.

My story about Rado is not going to be one of those full of emotions and life-changing events. Rather, I would concentrate on the pragmatic side, meaning MONEY. Because, come on… being AUBG students we start appreciating every penny really early in our lives and most of us go on Work and Travel for this reason- to make money and to secure their studies. His journey began on May 12, when arrived on Nantucket Harbor, the state of Massachusetts. Only 15 minutes after his arrival, Rado and some of his other Bulgarian friends found a place to stay… another Bulgarian. Overall, in the summer, Nantucket gets flooded with Bulgarians, Rado told me that he met around 30 and that was nothing. He and other three friends stayed at a basement which had nothing to do with the basements we picture. In fact, it was a lot like Skapto rooms (not sure if this is a compliment to Skapto or a way to say how crappy everything is….won’t express my personal opinion) with the only difference that there were 4 guys. Rado’s summer was a hard one. His usual shifts were of 12-14 hours, when summed up equals to more than 80 hours a week. He and his friend Kristiyan (again a sophomore from AUBG) worked as window cleaners which is assumed to be one of the best paid jobs you can find while on Work and Travel. At first when he told me what his job was, I was like “meeeh….every woman is doing that on regular basis.” But daaamn… when he showed me some pictures. No wonder his starting wage was $15…I can guarantee you, one of his jobs requirements was surely “Be Spiderman” or “Circus abilities, such as tightrope walking, necessary.”  They had to climb on ladders up to the 4th, 5th floor of houses. Scaaary… I found it a little sexist when he told me that his boss was only looking for guys…Well, now I get it. His time in the US, though, was not only occupied by work and sleep. Rado and Kristiyan went to a pretty average American party where I have never seen more alcohol in my life, all together. And more drugs. Booze and drugs everywhere. And all the Americans had this stupid look on their faces. It was sooo disappointing and in the meantime- hilarious. They went on a couple of other Bulgarian parties, but Rado told me I almost never let myself get drunk. Cause getting drunk and skipping work meant $300 less…Ain’t nobody can afford that. (By the way, almost all of the WAT participants follow this logic. After all, you can make money and spend it on far cheaper alcohol in your home country, right?) Rado and Kristiyan worked only for two and a half months. After the peak season ended, the need for window cleaners dropped and thus their hours dropped. And you might think “Omg, they had a month left and no second job, what did they do, they probably lost a lot of money!!” Well, no, actually. Those two and a half months were absolutely enough for Rado to save $9000, something most of us can only dream of… Rado, however, did find a second job but it is not like he needed it. He was bored and wanted to work to make time pass by faster, so he found a job as a server, but went to work only 5-6 times. In mid August it was time for Rado and Kristiyan to go and do some travelling. For their surprise, it turned out that some of Kristiyan’s relatives lived in L.A. and they invited them over for a couple of weeks. So the boys went there and Rado says Those two weeks were just amazing. We did not pay FOR ANYTHING and we had such a great time. His brightest memory, the one that made him smile like he had won $100000, was of their stay at one of the most expensive hotels in Las Vegas. The living room was with the size of the balcony on the 3rd floor of Skapto, the bedroom was 3 times bigger than the one in the dorm, and the bathroom….o, the bathroom had a Jacuzzi that had space for 5-6 people. What can I tell you, real Hugh Hefner-s. Only the bunny ladies were missing. (or maybe not?) They spent two weeks in L.A. during which they also went to Hollywood and went on an organized excursion all around Hollywood. They saw The Sign, the expensive houses of Tom Cruise, Sylvester Stallone etc. and took pictures at the Walk of Fame. (This excursion was also for free, by the way. I wish I had such relatives, you know…) Rado came back to Bulgaria not only with a lot of memories, money and experience in window cleaning, but with a lot of souvenirs and CLOTHES. He told me that basically he renewed his wardrobe completely.

I was amazed how cheap clothes in the US were. Actually, how cheap everything was. Except for vegetables and fruit. Now I know why American women are so fat…McDonald’s is $1, a quarter of a watermelon is $9.

One of his advice to my readers is Buy clothes while you are still in the US. Especially if you are from Bulgaria. Here, the Nike shirts I bought would be 3 times more expensive…at least. Two other advise Rado think might be useful are: Do not go to American parties unless you are looking for trouble…and drugs… and Research. Research well. Research in depth. Know where you are going. Otherwise, it might be really hard for you to adjust and to start having fun. It’s summer…. You gotta…you BETTER have fun! Hasta la vista, people. And follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Merci beaucoup Oh and also- if you LOOOVE to procrastinate (like me), you can check out my thinglink where I ranked the top 10 (typical) American Party movies.

1519–1522/ 2013-2014

Hello from me- your WAT expert- for the 12th time now.

My last post I dedicated to my friend Tzvetan and his wonderful first time in the US. However, I did not finish the story of his adventures, as they were so many and all so different that presenting them in one post was going to be too much. Not only for me, a sophomore (suffer more), but for all of you, my faithful readers.

I promised that I am going to finish what I started last time, so let me introduce you Tzvetan Romanski..for the second time.

This post is going to be about Ceco’s second (and probably last) time in the US, when he travelled to…wait for it….10 MORE STATES and visited numerous attractions, went on numerous excursions, drank numerous shots of numerous types of alcohol…. And so on.

For his WAT in 2014, Ceco chose the same destination- Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska. He worked for the same employers- Aramarck and Princess, had basically the same responsibilities, so I am not going to go in depth about this. What comes after his final days in Denali, I believe, is more intriguing.

(Seriously, I am staring at the notes I took during the interview and I really do not know where to start from…)

After they left Denali, Tzvetan and his friend Ralitsa (you remember Ralitsa, right? The girl that was working with him, the one that had the guts to fly with a helicopter and ride on a roller coaster? Yup, that Ralitsa) went to the wonderful state of San Diego. 3 days on the beach on Coronado Island, where Ceco says “The sand was so yellow, at some point I was hallucinating that it was gold” and everything was just so magnifique. They visited the famous zoo- Balboa Park, where several of the biggest museums in the world are positioned.

Then it was time for the notorious  New Orleans– the birthplace of Jazz where it is not very safe to walk the streets alone…at night.  New Orleans Ceco compared to Sofia, giving a really picturesque example of how “it smelled like the garbage cans, in the summer, when they have been under sunlight for the whole day. You can only imagine HOW that smells!” Other than the stinky air they literally had to make their way through, Ceco and Ralitsa had a pretty nice time there. They went on a tour to the gothic cemeteries, to the film set of American Horror Story (the creepy American TV series that for some reason a lot of my friends find super amazing.) Actually, while they were walking around the old neighborhoods in the French part of New Orleans, they stumbled upon a movie shooting of NCIS. Ceco told me that for some time he felt like he was actually in the movie, because everywhere around him people were wearing masks, “shooting” each other, running like in a real movie. Aaaaand because you cannot be in New Orleans and not go to a Jazz club, on the last night of their stay, Ralitsa and Ceco went downtown to listen to some real music, drank shots from cuvettes and even took a video of a black woman dancing on the bar and pouring booze over them. His memories of what happened afterwards are pretty blurry ….wonder why….

After their adventures in New Orleans, our travelers went on a journey to Orlando where they spent 8 days. “It was more of a vacation there. We went to so many places that it is hard for me to remember all of them” Ceco says. Despite the fact that during those 8 days, it did not stop raining, they really did manage to go and visit a lot of places First, they started from Epcot Park, which is one of the parks in Disneyland. Number second on their list was Wet and Wild– an Aquapark where Ceco almost drowned. Number third, according to Tzvetan, was the place most worth visiting- Disney’s Magic Kingdom. In fact, by going to this place, he made one of his dreams come true. The park was one of the most crowded ones, people everywhere. Ralitsa and Ceco had a tour on a rollercoaster, for which they waited 2 hours in a queue. After this, it got time for Universal Studios, Orlando where they got on Hogwarts Express and went to Hogsmeade and Hogwarts .

Their time in Orlando flew away real fast and it was Florida’s tuuurn to try and impress our conquerors. Their first destination was Busch Gardens– a place which Ceco defines as “for older people, not so appropriate for children.” Even though their tummies were still feeling dizzy from the last experiences on the rollercoaster, they just had to try the longest rollercoaster in the world. Ceco told me that Ralitsa almost died up there, she was screaming like crazy and he thought she won’t make it. Thank God, they are both still alive, good job, Rali! The next two places they visited were Islands of Adventures where they tried their luck again and hopped on Incredible Hulk’s Roller Coaster and Sea World which was kind of a zoo with a lot of marine animals.

The next 4 days Ceco and Rali spent in MiamiMiami….can I just go there and never come back? Ceco’s most bright memory of those 4 days in Miami was of the storms that hit the islands every night…every single night, no exceptions. He told me it was actually something really beautiful to see, because you could really see the storm coming your way. They went on a cruise around the islands and experienced in person what we all see in Florida’s video clips.

After Miami, our two friends had only one day in Chicago so they were in a bit of a rush, but still got to check out a lot from Chicago. Starting from museums, Millenium Park, the Buckingham Fountain of Married… with Children (the series, you know), ending with (as Ceco described it) The Glass Statue that looked like a bean.

Their next flight got them to West Virginia where they had a friend- a Bulgarian girl, who just got married. She and her husband took good care of them, showed them around, even went together to Kentucky and Ohio where Ceco remembers the sushi..Gosh, that sushi, I will never forget.

The end is near…the end of this veeery loooong, but so amazing journey. Their last destination was Washington DC where they accidentally crashed on a homecoming dance (that is by the way one of MY dreams…) Cute cheerleaders, sexy football players, cheap booze everywhere. After the parade and the party, they ended up in a bar with all the other college students. It looked like I was in the 80s. It was a hippie party, with all the wigs and bright colors, pot and mixed vodka. The sun was just about to set, when they “woke up” in the most famous club in town..which happened to be a gay bar. They spent 2 hours there, “enjoying” a transvestites’ shows while trying to get themselves drunk (again) so that they won’t have to remember all the nudity…

From Washington, Ralitsa and Ceco got on the plane which brought them to Amsterdam….and then to Sofia, Bulgaria.

All in all, Ceco came back with a hand full of…. $70, but with a heart full of ….memories…

And that is what is worth living for.

I have to admit, I really am envious of my friend Ceco, but in the meantime- I am so happy about him. I am happy because most of us go on Work and Travel to make money and spend it on clothes, food and clubs. Ceco did something worth his 4-month-torture. He saw the world. Even though it is just a tiny bit of it…he still saw something. Which one of us can say that for themselves? Not a lot, I can assure you of that. I really wish you, dear readers, that you, one day, will get the chance and will go and see. Will go and explore…and feel the fear to be on top of the world.

I am gonna.

Check out the storify on Twitter…It will help you picture Tzvetan’s adventures better :))

Tell a Story

Today, during MMJ class we got to work with this very useful website. Storify is a social network service through which you can “tell a story” by using other people’s tweets, facebook posts, or Instagram.

Since my blog is about WAT, I wanted to find posts on the subject and create a short summary, a “manual” basically, presenting us every step of the way. All the dos and donts, all the the questions, all the who, what, when, why, how, all the worries and excitement.

Gotta tell you, it is quite fun to go through other people’s thoughts, comments and use them for the “common good.”


If you want to check out more about what I included, you can go on or on twitter.

PS: the one on twitter is cooler 😉

In the second half of the class, we got to play with Thinkglink. The purpose of ThingLink is to allow photos and other images to be made into web links, mainly for the purpose of advertising. Below is my way to explain what is WAT all about, but also it serves as a promotion for my blog. I need some advertising myself, you know. Don’t judge.

So, people, click on it and get some more knowledge. It’s fuuuun! You’d be surprised 🙂




This entry was posted on November 13, 2014. 1 Comment

Book a Flight!

Dear readers,

Hello from me again, your favorite (hopefully) travel agency.

This week I would like you to meet one person whom I have seen exactly one time. He and his friends were staying at the exact same hostel in Anchorage, Alaska where I was. I remember them preparing steaks and French fries, while discussing their previous times in the US. The guy that I am going to introduce you today is Tzvetan Romanski, a graduate from the Southwest University in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria.

Tzvetan’s story started from 2 years ago, his first time in the US. He had just finished his 3rd year of studies and decided to try out something different. Since everybody around him was talking about Work and Travel and how they all earned a lot in America, Ceco (as he likes to be called) and his friend Ralitsa set their minds and several months afterwards, they were at Sofia Airport, all packed up and ready to go…to Alaska.

Ceco’s working experience in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska is indeed a very intriguing one. Both times he worked for the same companies. He met really good people, but he also faced some that were a real pain in the ass, as he says. Tzvetan believes that his job at one of the best-known restaurants in the world (namely, the one in Princess Hotel) is a really beneficial one, not only because he was able to practice his English a lot, but because he had a taste of what it is like to run a restaurant of this rank. This, he says, would be extremely helpful one day, as he graduate with a degree in Tourism. Ceco really liked his job, he had fun with all his colleagues, and the time was FLYING. Probably because he dedicated himself fully to it, the managers decided to promote him and by the end of the season, from a simple housekeeper, he became a lead host in the restaurant. However, it is not his jobs I want to draw the attention to. It is what happens when you go out and LIVE. Really live and get the most of your time abroad.

My dear adventurer travelled a lot around the US. And by “a lot” I really mean…A LOT. He made me so jealous of how many places he visited, how many beautiful sunsets he saw, how many diverse people he met. For these two years, summer 2013 and 2014, Ceco and Ralitsa got the chance to go to more than 10 different states. OMG, you are jealous, too, aren’t you? Who won’t be, my question is? I got so much information from him, he was so excited to share that it took him two hours to tell me everything he wanted to.

In 2013, Tzvetan had the opportunity to travel around Alaska. He flew to the highest peak- Mount McKinley, went rafting, hiking, and even visited Husky Homestead– a specialized place where husky dogs are being trained for big competitions that usually took place during the spring.

The second point they reached was an island, 3077.62 away from Alaska. An island which most of us are DYING to go to and have a romantic vacation with their loved ones. An island called Hawaii.

According to Tzvetan,

This is the place with the most stunning nature I have ever seen. Everything was so preserved, there was almost no sign of tourist activity. 

There, Ralitsa and Ceco spent 3 days, in which days they went to the beach and had a trip on a helicopter around the whole island.

After those 3 days had passed, the two of them hopped on a plane and went to Honolulu where they spent 2 days. While Ceco was telling me what they were doing in these couple of days, I felt like I have passed out and I was dreaming. They drank from coconuts, while lying on the beach and contemplating at the beauty of nature. On the second day, they sailed in the Pacific on a catamaran and they were finally able to see the true blue tint of the water when it is not mixed with sun lotions and other substances like in Sunny Beach. To Ceco’s disappointment, they could not dive with dolphins in the coral reefs, but he is pretty sure that one way or another, no matter when and where, this is going to happen.

From Hawaii, they flew to the City of the AngelsL.A. During the three days Ralitsa and Ceco were there, they felt like movie stars because you know… L.A. makes you feel that way. it’s inevitable. The first day they bought tickets for a trip around L.A, to the Hollywood sign, strolled along the Walk of Fame and passed by superstars’ mansions and castles. On the second they bought tickets for a VIP tour around Universal Studios, where for hours they walked by different sets, decors, requisites, live performances  and demonstrations. On the third day, Tzvetan and Ralitsa went to the Warner Bros. Studios where one of Tzvetan’s biggest dreams came true. Being a true fan of the Friends series, I could only imagine how he felt like when he sat on the couch where Ross, Monica, Chandler, Rachel, Joey and Phoebe drank their morning coffee every single day for 236 episodes.

After the fabulous 72 hours in LA, the plane took them to Sin City, also known as Las Vegas. Despite the famous saying “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, Ceco most willingly told me about his 2 days there. Mesmerized by the lights, he remembers almost nothing from how Vegas looks like. The sole fact that they were in VEGAS, implies that they would try their luck on the slot machines in Ceasers Palace Hotel. And again, the sole fact that they were in VEGAS, implies that they lost, as,you know,… the Casino always wins. It either takes your soul, or your money. They enjoyed the beauty of the Bellagio Fountains and had a crazy ride on the roller coaster around the New York New York Hotel and Casino, which, for him, was the most incomparable experience, full of adrenaline…. and screams.

The next day, Ralitsa and Ceco organized a one-day trip to Grand Canyon. On their way to the next destination- San Francisco, they stopped by the Yosemite National Park . When they finally reached San Francisco, our two tourists went on a cruise to the notorious island of Alcatraz and to the Golden Gate Bridge. Tzvetan told me that if he ever had to choose where to live in the US, San Francisco would definitely be among the top 3.

From San Francisco, they moved on to the next city- Monterey, California. Tell me this, what pops up in your mind when you hear “California” ? I personally, associate California with……Benjamin Franklin…and the Highlander and Orange County… meaning MONEY, MONEY, MONEY, RICH PEOPLE, HOUSES, MONEY. And from Tzvetan I learned that I am not far from the truth. Monterey is a really small city, with territory of barely 8.466 sq. mi. and population of around 27 000. But, oh, those 27 000 people…they sure have a taste in houses…expensive houses. The “cheapest” one, according to Ceco, was probably around a million or two, judging by the look.  It was a gorgeous place, not only because of the expensive houses and the Lamborghinis parked in front of them, but because it was not a usual tourist attraction and its true beauty was still untouched by the destructive hands of the masses. Ceco and his Ralitsa visited the Chocolate factory there and bought a lot of “souvenirs” for their relatives and friends.

From Monterey, they went back to L.A. where they had to catch the plane to the city which Frank Sinatra extols in one of his most famous songs… Neeeew Yooork.

From his time in the City That Never Sleeps, Ceco was rather disappointed, but not because he did not find anything interesting to do or to go to, but because he had a limited time…of only 1 day. He said that everything there is just so vast that they could not even reach Central Park. However, they went on a trip to the eminent Statue of Liberty, then had a walk around Manhattan, but for him this was not that important. His goal was to find that very special corner of Bedford and Groove Street. Don’t know what this means? Well, me neither…. or at least not until I googled it…. I guess, only true fans of Friends would know right away. : ))

After the final verse of Neeew York  was sang, it was time for Ralitsa and Tzvetan to go back home. To return to reality because every song…has an end. Their song lasted for 3 weeks and

Those three weeks were the best. I could only hope that the next summer would be even a bigger blast.

As you might have noticed, I did not include all ten (and more) states in this post, as I was not even halfway through and there were already 1500 words. And I do not want to torture my dear readers with extremely long posts. (trying to be nice here, give me some credit ha-ha)

I wrote only about his trips during the summer of 2013 so… if you are interested to read more about Tzvetan’s adventures in the US from this year, you’d want to stay tuned for another portion. I promise you- you will not even notice how fast one week will pass : ))

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This entry was posted on November 13, 2014. 1 Comment

Stories, Stories Everywhere

Hello again dear readers 🙂 For those of you who are following my blog, you might have noticed that I did not post anything last Thursday. That is because every great mind needs to pause the flow of his/her thoughts for awhile and rest. I am no exception (though, I cannot refer to myself as a great mind, but….)

Unfortunately, fall break is over. I am on the train, travelling from my hometown Varna to Blagoevgrad, for another one and half month of torture.

You know, I do not like trains. I have never liked them. They are slow, stinky and you cannot even fall asleep to kill time because it so uncomfortable. I hate trains. But this time it was going to be different.


I met a guy on the train. His name was Borislav. He was sitting right next to me and was going to Sofia, too. We started talking. The interesting thing about the conversation and about him, in general, was that he did not annoy me and I did not try to cut him off right away. That is what I usually do… “Just leave me alone, I want to read my book so that the trip is more bearable” I say and I turn my back on whomever. But he intrigued me, he was not one of those guys that would just try his charms on me and see if he is going to get something out if that. He just wanted to talk to someone. So we talked. We talked about AUBG, his university, politics and how Bulgaria is doomed, we discussed the craze about the Cooperate Trade Bank and how everybody claims to know everything about it, but in the meantime they are just a bunch of rattle-brained people. To my surprise, we ended up discussing his Work and Travel experience. How did we reach that point? He was amazed to hear how much the tuition at AUBG cost and just asked me, straightforwardly: “Where do you get that money from? Do you rob banks on regular basis or what?” And I told him that I do what most of the students here do- I go, work in states, come back and transfer my earnings to the university’s bank account. That triggered his talking and he told me the story of his time abroad.

         Put-in-Bay, Ohio        Picture from Twitter

Put-in-Bay, Ohio
Picture from Twitter

Borislav went to Put-in-Bay, Ohio after his first year of university. He was working as a housekeeper and a dishwasher and his shifts were craaaazy. Bobi told me that sometimes he had to work 20 hours a day and after such a day, he would be so tired that would not remember getting home. He did not choose to work with one of the big Work and Travel companies like Orange or Usit, but put his trust in a small company which name he does not even remember. What I found a bit hilarious, but also interesting, was the reason he chose the hotel chain he was working for and the position. He was completely honest with me and told me “My English was not and is still not very good and I saw that that company was hiring people without even interviewing them. Things could not be better, I figured, so I went for that company.”

Bobi’s impression of the states is a mixed one. He really liked the place he was working at, the state and his co-workers. He was working as a dishwasher with Americans at an Irish bar and he was so thrilled to see how open-minded they were. In the end, they even started listening to Radio Veselina (a Bulgarian chalga radio station) and dancing to the folklore rhythms of our music. Bobi had so much fun with those people. But he hated his bosses with a passion. He told me that they were pseudo-demanding and that they did not really care if the rooms were ACTUALLY clean. What was more important was for them to LOOK and SMELL clean. He had a housing provided and the word he used for the place he was sleeping made me laugh out loud. “A bomb shelter. Me and 5 other people were sleeping in a bomb shelter and shared the same bathroom.” Despite the living conditions he had to put up with for 4 months, he was always looking forward to go back “home”, back to the bomb shelter. You might think that it was because he was tired and just wanted to rest his feet. Noooo… He had beer there and his favorite radio Veselina, which he would listen for hours to. The beer, he told me, was something you could find abundance of. Even though he was only 20 and most of his co-workers were also 20 (and by the way, most of them were Bulgarians), while they were cleaning the rooms, they would sometimes find cans of beer that visitors had bought, but had not consumed. They were not allowed to take them, the owners had expressly warned them not to do so. But who cares? They would get an extra large garbage bag, put all the cans they could find in it as if it was trash and put it in the trash can. When they got off, one of them would go, get the trash bag and bring it to the bomb shelter. What can I say, we Bulgarians can get creative when it comes to booze.

Lanikai Beach, Hawaii  Picture from Twitter

Lanikai Beach, Hawaii
Picture from Twitter

Bobi also went travelling. He went to the US with his girlfriend and wanted to surprise her with a trip to Hawaii- her dream destination. He did not share many details about their stay there, but said one thing “If you ever decide to go to Hawaii, go with a looooot of money because everything is so expensive there, you cannot imagine.” Bobi said that it was a really romantic and beautiful place and the people were sweethearts and would try to provide them with whatever they needed.

I was surprised to find out that there are still people that just want to talk to you, nothing more. I really enjoyed talking to Borislav and if I would met more people like him, then I would probably be using the train more often. From this experience, I realized one thing- you can find a story everywhere- you just have to ask for it.

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This entry was posted on November 4, 2014. 3 Comments


Away. Scary. Unknown. Mysterious. Different. Away. Challenging. Enlightening. Joyful. Beneficial. Diversifying. Uplifting. Mind-blowing…..Away.

Away from home. Away from parents. Away from friends. Away from what we are used to. Away from problems. Away from drama. Away from yourselves. Away from your hearts. Away from our hearts.

Home is where the heart is.

This quote is so famous, such a cliché and in the meantime- so true. Home is safe. Home is nice. Home is where you are accepted no matter what. Home is always there.

Gaining experience, living your life to the maximum means stepping out of your comfort zone. Stepping out the doorstep of your house and stepping in real life. Life with all its ups and downs.

One way to do this during your university time is going abroad, more precisely- on the Work and Travel program. This program not only gives you the chance to travel around the world, but also to make some money to go back home with.

I decided to dedicate my blog to this subject because this summer, the summer of 2014, was my first time as a J1 student in America. The very first moment of my 3 and half-month stay in the US that I remember vividly was when I was about to have a nervous breakdown in front of a stranger. I was feeling so scared, frustrated and lost, like never before. I wish I had asked more people about what to expect, but my stubbornness is my driving force and sometimes I can end up hitting my head against one and the same wall. The purpose of my blog is people, that have not yet experienced the fear of the unknown in the states, get an insight of what it is all about. That is why, every week and I am going on witch hunting, armed with my XI century camera and timeless questions, trying to find people who have interesting stories and valuable advice to share with me. One thing all of my interviewees agree on is that you might not get anything from WAT, but you would gain experience for sure…big time.

The first person the Inquisition (that’s me, I assume..) claimed as target for the witch hunting, was a freshman from Sofia, BulgariaGeorgi Dobrev. His time in the US was a really beneficial one, both from the side of experience and the side of earning money. Georgi simply fell in love with Alaska and America in general. He is 100% positive about going there as many times as he can because according to him:

Alaska and America in general is one of the best places to go and live, not just work, but live because that is the thing you are going to get the most of. It’s not about the work, it is not about the money, it is not about you getting there and getting over these 4 months. It is about you living and experiencing and getting the most you are supposed to get from there. That is the thing with Alaska and America…”

Thus, Georgi is strongly recommending people to go and just explore everything and anything, do not be afraid.

My second victim did not have such a mind-blowing time like Georgi. He had “one heck of an experience”  but that does not necessarily imply that it was a good one. Ventzislav Shabanski, an Alumni from Sofia again, showed, in a pretty ugly way, the mentality of a typical Bulgarian and got himself in jail for that. However, he was not disappointed, he does not regret anything because for him to this day:

I think these were the best $400 I could ever spend on myself .

So people, whatever you do- do not get drunk, especially if you are underage…or if you somehow manage to do so, do not try going back home at 3 am on a bike….Just do not.

I actually got another story related to Ventzi’s “drunk-and-ride” one but this time my source decided to stay behind the curtain and asked me not to reveal her identity. But I got my story…so I am good. Ms. A, the way I refer to the subject of my interview, did not get herself in jail, but got lucky with having to pay only a $250 ticket. The reason? Same thing, different day, different state. Ventzi got arrested in New York, Ms. A got arrested in Wisconsin for the exact same reason- underage drinking.  She says that in summer 2014 she

drank the most expensive beer in her life, but every drop of it was worth it.

A got a sense of what is like to face the real America, not the sugar-coated one, presented in Hollywood movies.

In regard to this, I somehow succeeded in finding an even shadier story, one from the really Dark Ages of history. To be honest, I was not expecting that the person I interviewed (who kindly asked me to stay anonymous, as well and no wonder…) would be actually so responsive and would not mind depicting this really colorful and vigorous picture of his time in the states. Mr. X was telling me the story of how he got detained for marijuana possession in such a detailed way as if it had happened a couple of days ago. I guess the whole experience left a really deep scar in his mind and that is why he was even mentioning dates. Exact dates. Amazing, right? And normal, as well. He had to go to court and pay a lot of money for court expenses and a lawyer, so he advises people:

Don’t get caught. Be cautious.

At a certain point, though, I felt that I am struggling with my posts and making people share their “dirty secrets” with me. And it was not only me struggling with it. You know, people were asking to stay anonymous, obviously they were not very eager to be exposed like that. I mean, they won’t get indulgences from me, I am not the Purgatory… so why bother? This is the reason I am really grateful to those who, out of good will or whatever floats their boat, decided to assist me by providing material for my blog. Thank you, people! However, as I finally realized that, I settled on finding people with positive stories, such they won’t be cautious about putting out there. Like Boyana Atanasova’s story….

Bobi, a freshman from Ruse, Bulgaria was the third person whom I made “confess” in front of me (does that make me the judge, or something?) She told me this inspiring story that would make even the most ruthless person sit down and think about it. Bobi did not only find friends in Alaska, but she found herself. Intentionally or not, does not really matter. The facts speak for themselves- those 4 months abroad changed her thoroughly. She achieved catharsis. From a “party animal” she turned into this responsible person, for whom others are wondering:“Where is Boyana and what have you, what has Alaska done with her?” She found home there, she found people who liked and appreciated her for who she was, not for who she was trying to be. That’s why Bobi says:

“It is worth it. You for sure have to experience this. It is gonna change you, especially if you do not feel good with yourself here in Bulgaria or wherever. 

See, people, it is not that hard. You can find home anywhere in the world as long as you are willing to explore. Explore within yourself, explore without yourself, explore everything and anything. Surely, you are going to gain SOMETHING from this. Life is out there, waiting for you to grab it and live it….

PS: Sorry about all of the History and Political Science-related terminology… This is what happens when you have two midterms and you try to memorize everything…

Oh, and follow me on Facebook and Twitter. 🙂 You can find more interesting videos, like the one beneath this sentence,…

The Moment We All Have not Been Waiting for…

Hey dear readers, for the second time today.

The midterm in MMJ has come, for good or for bad, nobody knows. My assignments were pretty much what we have been doing for this part of the semester.

First I had to find a news article related to my blog. I did some research and found out this really interesting piece about the green cards and that the US government, more precisely- the Republican party, has decided to stop the lottery. Annually, this lottery gives around 100 000 people the chance to go to the US legally and it comes as a blessing for those who cannot afford to pay for all the paperwork and lawyers and so forth.

Despite the fact that the article is from a year ago, this process is an ongoing one. Every year more and more people are denied the work visa, which is a requirement for participating in the Work and Travel program. And that is something many people have noticed. I guess the people at the embassies have become more suspicious of the motives people have to go to the states as many of them simply do not come back. It is a practice of a lot of people to either get married, or stay there illegally.

I interviewed two people from AUBG on the matter. What I noticed was that both of them had completely contradicting opinions.Martin Todorov, a sophomore from Ruse, Bulgaria, who I interviewed first, told me that according to him such restrictions should not be enforced as if only qualified people are presented the opportunity to go to the US and stay there, then there would be no place for other, not so qualified people and this would just not be fair.

In my opinion is not that good because the whole point of the lottery is getting people from countries that will not usually be able to come to the states.

The second person who shared his opinion on the question was Yanko Radenkov, from Sofia, Bulgaria. As for him, the idea of putting some restrictions on who is allowed to enter the US borders is something that is necessary. He believes that in this way people with education, people with innovative ideas, In general- those that are more qualified- would be given more chances to realize their dreams in the states and will make their “American dream” come true. Yanko thinks of going to the US after he graduates from AUBG so for him

this is a good thing as after I graduate I am going to have more points than those unqualified people and I will have more chances, so I believe those restrictions are really good.

Hear both of them discussing the subject… :))

A little 5 shot video of Yanko Radenkov looking up for more information on the case with the green card lottery.

Aaand finally my first trial to make a decent news reportage. Don’t know if I actually did it right but I guess my grade will show that…

PS: Martin Todorov and Chanko Valev (subjects of some of our interviews) wanted me to give them some sort of a present… sooo…here you are, boys, you are now F-A-M-O-U-S (if anyone can actually distinguish who is doing what on these pictures because of the amazing quality of the picture..)


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This entry was posted on October 16, 2014. 1 Comment

For this is the End…

Hello again, dear readers! The last sun beams are trying to make their way through the clouds, people are sitting outside, enjoying the weather while I am struggling with figuring out how to start the new post about Work and Travel. You know, when I chose the topic, it did not come to my mind that people’s experiences could be so… shady. I was thinking how everybody would just be so happy to share their time in the US (or Europe) and how everything is just going to be roses. However, it did not really turn out that way. With this post, I am putting an end to the not-so-dandy stories and I am turning a new leaf. I know that usually people are eager to hear more “bada**” stories, in which someone got arrested, or was caught doing something illegal. But come on, people, is not life hard enough already? Why putting people’s bad memories out? Why not talking about the positive aspects of Work and Travel? These two questions popped up in my mind the minute my interviewee asked me to be anonymous. This was the second person that asked to stay undisclosed. So I figured… maybe there is a reason for that… Figure X started his story in a straightforward way:

The brightest of my Work and Travel experiences was that I got arrested for marijuana possession. 

Unlike the other two people, who got themselves in trouble- Ventzislav and Ms. A– but got away pretty easy, X did not have the same luck. The whole thing happened on the 30th of June. It was his second time in the US, and the state was Virginia.  His memories of the event are pretty vivid. The situation went like this- he was sitting with some friends on the parking lot, smoking weed like everybody else was obviously doing, when a police car passed by and saw them. They started walking the other way, trying to avoid the cops, but then they called another car and eventually caught them. One police officer approached them with the words: I smell marijuana, it is not illegal to smoke, but it is illegal to possess. The officers asked them if they had any on themselves, and my interviewee, being high already, forgot that he actually had some in his pocket. He and his friends got searched. Everybody else besides him was clear and they got away with it. As for him, the gram he was carrying was found and the policemen filed a report, put handcuffs on his wrists and put him in the car. Mr. Anonymous commented that: It was really uncomfortable in there, extremely uncomfortable. The intriguing part is that he stayed cooperative and did not try to escape or anything of the sort because they would have f*****g shoot him and he did not want that, apparently. His summer went on, he did not go to jail, but because his mind was occupied with what was about to happen, it was a pretty f****d up summer. No one from his employers changed their attitude towards him because everybody from the restaurant, except for the general manager, was smoking weed. We were buying from the dishwasher. They even let him continue working for them. The fairy tale does not end here. It was mid July when the-one-that-must-be-named had the court where it had to be determined whether he had to get a lawyer himself, or they would appoint one. He hired one on his own despite that at first he was thinking that he can just go and defend himself. A month or so later, on the 14th of August he had to face the real court where it was determined that he had to pay for the court expenses, the fine and spend two days in jail. All in all, the whole “adventure” cost him around $1100- a big chunk of his Work and Travel salary and 48 precious hours around friendly people charged for cocaine possession, murder and so forth, who were waiting for their sentences. On the bright side, the interviewee did some travelling. He went to the glamorous state of New York and visited every place possible there. It was f*****g awesome, he said. In spite of all the colorful experiences in the states, he is not planning on going back next year. Rather, he is going to look for an internship and gain some actual experience in the field of his studies. What he advises my readers is:

 Don’t get caught. Be cautious.

With this story, I am moving from the dark side of Work and Travel to the light one.  Follow me on Facebook and Twitter if you would like to read more about the Work and Travel program has to offer.

This entry was posted on October 15, 2014. 1 Comment