It’s been 15 Valentine’s Days since Paul and I tied the knot. Yeah, as in forever, for some of you youngsters out there but whatevs…
We actually got married twice. Once on February 14 (which happens to be Wine Day in Bulgaria and there’s some serious drinking going on on that day each year) and again on June 21. Both weddings were in my hometown, Veliko Turnovo. The first wedding was very small – just a legal ceremony really, so we could start the process of getting my green card. In the summer, we had a bigger wedding for our families and friends.
Our first wedding almost didn’t happen though because our chosen date coincided with the worst of Bulgaria’s transition from Communism to a market economy. Inflation was about 1000% (no, it’s not a typo), the economy was in the gutter, the government was about to fall, there were food shortages, people were justifiably upset and there were demonstrations and riots across the country. Paul and I were living
in sin in Kyustendil at the time, which is on Bulgaria’s Western border. My hometown is about 250 km/150 miles East, not far at all but it took about 12 hours by train/bus to get to my parents’ place. Paul was a Peace Corps volunteer at the time and as such was not allowed to drive. I had just graduated from college and was too poor to own pretty much anything, least of all a car.
I had gone to my parents place a couple of days earlier to get ready for the wedding. Paul called me the night before the wedding and said that there were blockades along the way and he was not sure he’d be able to make it to my hometown for the wedding. That was not exactly music to my ears but life can be “funny” that way. Luckily, he did make it to the wedding, after paying some taxi driver an exorbitant amount of Bulgarian leva (not that much in US$ thanks to the above-mentioned crazy rate of inflation) to circumvent the blockades by going half-way around the country and bring him safe and sound to his distraught bride-to-be (moi) in Veliko Turnovo.
It was Paul’s idea to wear traditional Bulgarian costumes at the wedding. I was not enamored with the idea at first because I thought people would laugh at us but looking back on it, I am so glad we did. We didn’t have costumes and they were not easy to find at the time but my mom knew someone, who was in a dancing troupe, and arranged for us to borrow the costumes for the wedding - that was our “something borrowed.”
Fifteen years, a couple kids and a couple of cats later, we are still going strong. I am so lucky, I married an awesome guy – unassuming, smart, funny, a terrific dad and the absolute bestest friend ever!!! What more could I ask for?
Happy Anniversary, My Love – and here’s to 115 more!
Here are a couple of pictures from our first wedding and an article about the coolest weddings of year (1997), featuring us, which appeared in the local newspaper “Borba.” I apologize for the poor quality of the pictures, they were taken before the digital age (and I really need to get a decent scanner!) The article has several typos and misstatements in it but we weren’t allowed to edit the content, so it is what it is… and don’t we just look so happy and in love?!!
Happy Valentine’s Day!