Hi, I am Gabriela, from Bulgaria, currently living in Milan. Actually the “currently” lasts since the far-off days of 2004. My biggest passion is to travel, so sometimes I might be out of town for a month, or two or six.
I started learning Italian when I was 11 so Italy has always been the most obvious choice (big thanks to my parents who made this possible). I came to Milan to continue my education and liked it so much that I stayed long after I graduated. I am still here also because of my boyfriend who is from Milan 😉
Likes/dislikes about Italy and the Italians?
I like everything about this country. I enjoy living the Italian clichés every day, like having a breakfast at the bar with a cup of cappuccino and a croissant, riding a Vespa around the city, meeting with friends over a gelato after dinner, etc.
If I have to name one thing that I dislike about Italians, it is their narrow-mindedness. Sometimes they could be very adverse to trying new things, like foreign cuisines, for instance. They believe that theirs is the best in the world so anything else is just a waste of time.
Do you feel yourself integrated in Italy?
Italians are very friendly and helpful, especially when you speak their language. I have felt at home since the first day. Even more after Bulgaria became part of the European Union in 2007 and it wasn’t necessary anymore to queue in front of the Questura in order to get my permit of stay.
How does Italy fit into your success? if you were back home would you be doing the same things?
If I wasn’t in Italy I don’t believe I would be doing what I do now. Before I came here fashion was not at all on my radar. I actually studied economics and was dreaming of the corporate consulting world. Only after five years of full immersion in the glitzy Milanese life my interest about the fashion industry started to grow until it became the main goal for my career. I believe that only three other countries could give me the opportunities and inspiration that I have here (USA, UK & France) but Italy is without doubt my favorite.
Could you tell us a few words about your blog?
The blog was another thing I had never imagined I could have. The impulse to start it came while I was getting my hair done in one very unusual place in Bangkok. I suddenly wanted more people to know about it and other interesting places I was discovering. The initial name was “secrebangkok” but I changed because I didn’t want to limit it to just one city. Now I write about my travels, cool eateries and boutiques in the cities I visit, a glimpse into the local fashion and street style from Bangkok, Milan and soon Yangon.
What brought you to Bangkok and what were the highlights of your life in Bangkok?
I wasn’t feeling like I was fulfilling the purpose of my life at my job. I decided to give a little twist to my routine and change my ambiance, Bangkok was amazing beyong words. There wasn’t anything I didn’t like, except the rats occasionally crossing my way. I learned some Thai which allowed me to have a major exposure to the local way of life. The best part was all the people that I met and with whom I am still in contact on a regular basis.
What is the the first thing you do when you go back to your home country Bulgaria?
Eat as much Bulgarian food as I can. And if there is space in the luggage I always take a couple of goat cheese packages back with me.
Advice to a new expat who is thinking of moving to Italy?
To learn Italian as soon as possible, to travel extensively and explore the country inside out.