Born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, the third largest city in the country, senior Kubrat Vrachanski (more commonly known as “KV”) loved to hang out with his neighbors and hunt with his dog in the forests around his town, sometimes wandering 20 kilometers from his home and returning when it was pitch black.
Despite the good times, KV and his family escaped the economic hardships of their southeastern European country for the United States just as we hit our own massive recession in April of 2008. Still, the financial woes of America seemed like nothing in comparison to their hometown.
“Back then, money for my family was really tight, even though my dad had a bachelor’s degree in engineering and my mom had a master’s degree in teaching,” he said. ” Everything costs a lot over there, inflation is high, and the wages and pensions are low. I remember we could only drink coke on Christmas and Easter, but here everyone drinks it like it’s nothing. People are struggling; the gap between the wealthy and everyone else is huge- the middle class is nearly gone, nothing compared to what’s happening here.”
When asked what he misses most about Bulgaria, KV said he missed the social aspect of living there.
“I would know everyone in our town by name,” he said. “It was like we were one huge family, and everyone looked after one another. That’s not the case here, everyone wants to be left alone. That’s why I love getting to know new people.”
Still, KV is thankful his family moved to the States.
“There’s much more opportunity here, even though the schooling is harder there,” he said. ” There were no tests, but we learned and got points for everything orally, and kids learn calculus in middle school. But college is so expensive there, so hardly anyone can afford to go. Now, it will be much easier for me to go to a college like Dayton or NIU for engineering and be able to get a job.”