This isn’t what I imagined my life would be like at age 30. To be perfectly honest, I never really bothered to dream about the future that much. I suppose that occasionally, while dating particularly lovely people, I considered a family life. But up until the Peace Corps, I was too busy planning my next three months to think about my next three years.

Now my husband and I live in a small apartment on the outskirts of the 2nd/3rd (depending on the time of year) largest city in Bulgaria, which still feels small compared to San Francisco. We have a three-month old son, and very little routine. We live from income to income, despite how affordable this country is, mostly due to unforeseen immigration expenses (oh, and having a baby). Although both of us can make between $20-30/hour working online, we tend to spend too much time in bed, or playing with our son, to actually make a sizable profit.

My main concerns these days are the color of poop that comes out of my son, and a diaper rash that comes and goes. Somewhere, deep in the recesses of my heart, I want to be able to write again, but it just doesn’t seem as important as singing, “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” or tickling Peatuk’s toes to hear him giggle. My biggest frustration is the smell of slightly sour milk coming from our kitchen sink at the moment, and the fact that half of our apartment is still not set up. My biggest desire is a real, live, working, washing machine (next month!).

My days look like this:

Wake up and feed our son. Put him back to bed and wake up his father. Watch glee while feeding the baby. Look for articles to write online. Debate what to cook for dinner. Decide to make a salad instead of cooking. Take a 2-3km walk around the new neighborhood. Decide that the sea views and adorable houses, mixed with the young, family atmosphere was worth moving away from my awesome mother-in-law. Stop by the local store and pick up ingrediants for our salad. Go home. Watch That 70’s show while having dinner. Take a family shower. Go to bed. Wake up in the middle of the night to a screaming baby. Sooth him and put him back down. Lure my still-working husband into bed. Repeat.

Occasionally, there are visits to Peatuk’s doctor, which involve an exciting bus trip into town, and the inevitable “breast-feeding-in-public.”

Sound boring? Perhaps, but I am strangely satisfied by it. Although I have some desire lurking in me, such as adding daily morning yoga to our routine, and getting in dance classes eventually, for the most part I am happy.

Last night there were fireworks being set off over the sea. We had a perfect view of them from Nikola’s office. They were huge, and loud, and the three of us sat on our front steps for a moment and just watched. It was perfect.

However, I am still missing one key thing: that perfect female friend. I am not an overly social person. I find small-talk tedious and I don’t really enjoy having a lot of aquaintences. However, the happiest times in my life have been when I had a good female friend. I am thinking back to Jez, and Holly. These two women were amazing. They brought out parts of me I didn’t even know existed. Going for coffee, a run, out dancing, or just hanging around the house, possibly cooking, was so basic that I took it for granted. Now, even though I talk with both of them, I am realizing I need to find one of those good friends here.

But I run into the problem I have always encountered: How does a shy, socially demanding, woman cut through the bullshit and find a friend? Both Holly and Jez were magical work finds. Working from home cuts that out. I have never been particularly good at finding friends in dance class, or yoga, although those will be places I am looking. Internet friends rarely turn out sane (except Maria and Eva- those were good finds). Babies are supposed to be friend magnets, and although Peatuk does get quite a bit of attention while we are out, I haven’t made a magical connection yet.

So, perfect life, almost. Just one more thing. Operation, find that perfect lady friend. 

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