I came to London not long ago and am in the middle of my second week of research and coursework at SOAS, University of London. My time in Bulgaria just before arriving was transformative and is serving as a foundation for my research. The people I met in Kurtovo Konare and Ivaylovgrad steered me in directions I previously had not considered and my PhD is now actually beginning. Bulgaria is an amazing place, one of shifting borders and a rich cultural heritage. I keep thinking about life along the borderlands in the small villages where so few people remain. The lights of Greek and Turkish cities are easily within sight at night. I imagine myself, three years ago, looking towards where I stood in Ivaylovgrad quite recently, wondering how the peoples of three nations live separate lives. What is shared? What is distinct? Do the crumbling fragments of empire still permeate everyday life, reflected in the food people eat for dinner? I write this blog surrounded by stacks of books about food and migration and the collapse of socialism in Eastern Europe, creating countless more questions.
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