It was with a great deal of excitement, and not a little anxiety, that I woke the next morning.
I was so looking forward to seeing our house again, and really excited to spend our first night in it!
But also, as a parent responsible for keeping 3 children warm and cared for, there was a good deal of stress in anticipation of whether the house was OK and even fit to stay in when we got there!
For all we knew, there was no electricity or water supply there, it could have had squatters living in it that had broken in thinking it was empty, it could even have fallen or burnt down!
So I’d also devised a contingency plan in my head that if there WERE any problems with it when we arrived, that we’d ask the taxi driver we had booked to pick us up and drive us there to take us back to Vratsa and we’d stay in the hotel we’d stayed in during our previous visit.
But before all that, we had to get breakfast and a week’s worth of shopping and household supplies!
We found a nice little café on the corner of the block the hotel was in for breakfast, and ordered coffee for the adults, hot chocolate for Alex, and Coke for Dom, with croissants all round.
Dom’s breakfast of croissant & nutella with Coke!
Then off we headed to the Billa supermarket for a mammoth shopping spree!
The staff seemed very suspicious of us and the store security guard followed us around for most of our visit LOL!
After that, there was nothing else we could do except sit in the hotel lounge drinking surprisingly delicious vending machine hot chocolates whilst we waited for the taxi driver to turn up.
He turned up very promptly and helped us load up the car, then we were off at last!
Dom was quite excited to see snow on some of the ground on the drive there, but it had all long cleared by the time we arrived at our village.
We turned up the now familiar road and were so relieved to see the house again after so long, STILL standing, perfectly sound, with NO squatters LOL!
Alex was out of the taxi and doing another Insta ‘first-impressions’ video for his friends as soon as I’d got the front gate unlocked!
We then unloaded the taxi and carried everything into the cottage, as we’d decided to all stay in there for this visit.
The back room had two beds in it, and the middle room had one, so we’d initially planned to give the boys the back room so they could have a bed each, and then we’d sleep in the middle room all together in the one bed.
However, we hadn’t anticipated quite how cold that first night was going to be, and the fact that we only had one electric fan heater to keep the whole place warm meant that compromises had to be made!
So the two big boys slept in one bed, and we slept in the other.
We had NO bedding yet either as the delivery we’d ordered to arrive after 4pm that day still hadn’t shown up…
Thank goodness for two superheroes called C and D!
I had been emailing C after making contact with her on an expat forum and had mentioned our plans to get the bedding delivered the night we arrive.
She was far less naïve in the efficiency of Bulgarian delivery services than I was 😉
This isn’t the UK, and we weren’t ordering from Argos, with a 3 hour delivery window pre-booked 😀
So they very kindly drove over from their village and brought a huge supply of spare bedding for us; sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, as well as another fan heater AND two tubs of delicious home-made soup!
It was wonderful to meet them and there are some people in this world that as soon as you set eyes on them, you just instantly feel you can trust them and you feel like you’ve known them all your life!
That was how I felt when I met them that first time!
AND our asses were SAVED from freezing all night too!!!
They couldn’t stay long that evening as they needed to get home before it was dark, but we made arrangements for them to come over in a couple of days when we were more settled and spend the day with us.
The Freecycle electric grill made a useful makeshift stove with the pan place on top for heating up one of the tubs of soup, and we added some bread and butter from Billa, and had a delicious first meal in our little cottage, sitting on the floor as we had no table and chairs!
We had been on the go since 3am that morning and were absolutely worn out, so pretty soon after we’d made up the beds, we all just piled in fully dressed (as it was really cold once the sun had gone down, even WITH the fan heaters going), and crashed!
Sadly, we were way too busy to take any photos!