Meet Tamar Weisert, Open Sofia’s editor and writer

Why Bulgaria can still offer beautiful surprises even if you’ve seen the entire world

Written and photos Tamar Weisert, edited by Lindsay Martin.

 

I was raised as a Third Culture Kid (TCK), meaning I am American, but because my father was a diplomat, I grew up in different cultures around the world. This lifestyle apparently suited me, because after attending university in the United States, I married my high school sweetheart, another American TCK, whom I met when we attended Jakarta International School in Indonesia. He joined the Foreign Service in 2002, shortly after we had our first daughter, and we started the nomadic lifestyle all over again with our own family.

We had our second daughter shortly before moving to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. We then moved to Guangzhou, China, where we had our third daughter and subsequent postings (but no more daughters!) in Yangon, Myanmar; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and now Sofia. We also had years living in the Washington, DC area between these moves, so that my husband could learn the languages of all the countries we lived in.

Before we began moving overseas, I was a Juvenile Probation Officer and did a lot of work with at-risk youth in Colorado and Virginia. Since our family joined the Foreign Service, I worked in several different embassies, and eventually became a Background Investigator for the Department of State. It is a great job to have, with a lot of flexibility. I feel lucky, as finding a job and maintaining a career is often one of the most challenging aspects of being a Foreign Service spouse.

Tamar Weisert's family

As you can see from our prior postings, my husband and I spent much of our lives in Asia, and though we felt at home there, we were very excited about the opportunity to live in Europe. We knew very little about Bulgaria before finding out we were assigned here and have been pleasantly surprised by how much we love it. One of the most enjoyable surprises has been the stunning nature that surrounds us. Seeing Vitosha Mountain takes my breath away every single morning, even though we have lived here for almost two years. A perfect day for me would be a family hike, followed by lunch, sitting outdoors at one of the many delicious restaurants Sofia has to offer.

Speaking of the restaurants here, something that always makes me laugh is how “honest” Bulgarian waitstaff is. Often they tell us that we have ordered too much food or that the wine we want does not suit the dish we asked for. I love this straightforward nature of the Bulgarian people, as I feel that Americans can often be too polite and, therefore, not entirely honest. I appreciate hearing someone’s genuine opinion.

If given the option, our family would love to stay in Sofia for several more years. The nature of our job is to move every two to three years, so, unfortunately, we only have another year left in Bulgaria. My advice to a newcomer would be to take every opportunity you have to explore this country. Sofia is a fantastic jumping-off point to the rest of Europe with its many affordable and convenient flights, but Bulgaria itself has so much beauty to offer, from the Rila Mountains to the Black Sea.