If you're more interested in services and results than personalities you can skip this bit, we won't take offence. We've included it because at Bulgarian Buddies we believe successful business is built on an understanding of the importance of personal relationships and that people matter as much as profit. The information below will give you an idea of the people who you will be working with when you use our services.
Since Chris grew up believing that maps make more interesting reading than books it is maybe not surprising that he has chosen to live somewhere other than his native Cornwall. Master of many trades, Chef, Builder, Nurse... and supreme practical problem solver, Chris is happiest when working outdoors and with his hands.
Most notable for his incredible calmness and patience (I'd known Chris for 7 years before I saw him lose his temper!) Chris provides the stability and backbone of Bulgarian Buddies. He is currently helping several different people with their renovations.
After four years of living in Bulgaria and as a result of being involved throughout the renovation of our own house Chris is also our expert on where to buy almost anything to do with house repairs.
Chris's Bulgarian soul mate, by strange coincidence also a trained Chef, Army medic, Welder, Gardener... and another man who will find a solution to any practical problem.
What Ivan lacks in English language skills he makes up for in telepathy, imagination and the ability to bridge between Bulgarian traditions and British modern requirements.
He also customizes rotavators!
If Chris is the master of finding places, Ivan's strength lies in knowing people, he appears to be related to about half of the Veliko Tarnovo region. When searching for a lorry to take away the rubbish, the man who'll dig the septic tank, or just the place where you can buy good local honey, Bulgarian Buddies benefits enormously from Ivan's local contacts.
He also cooks us great meals and teaches us traditional dances.
A young lady of determination, intelligence and foresight, Villy is our 'lead buddy'. Having been asked by several British people for help communicating with neighbours or builders, Villy recognized the need for a service for English Speakers in Bulgaria over 3 years ago. Though not a formally qualified 'sworn translator' her work over the last few years means that she has build up an extensive network of contacts in many fields and in-depth knowledge of the various needs of British people who own property or live in Bulgaria.
Impeccably honest, occasionally outspoken, and sometimes fierce in defending the interests of her clients Villy is a pleasure to work with; we were delighted when she agreed to make some of her time available to clients of Bulgarian Buddies.
If Chris provides the stability of Bulgarian Buddies, Karen provides the inspiration and wild ideas (sometimes practical, sometimes not...) With an early background in tourism and a later career in healthcare, Karen's skills lie in providing a client based, individualized service and coordinating the various aspects of our work. She also gets to do all the jobs that don't directly fall to anyone else, secretary, accounts manager, website writer, publicist and general 'front of house'. When you phone or email Bulgarian Buddies she is likely to be the first person you have contact with.
When not otherwise occupied, Karen fills her time endeavouring to learn the Bulgarian language and to garden like a local and engaging in enthusiastic discussions on the social-political implications of this wave of immigration to Bulgaria.
Lecturer in English language, computer whiz, poetry writer, impassioned deliverer of Bulgarian history and a sworn translator, Stefan is another multi-talented soul who has made life in Bulgaria both easier and more fun for us. The biggest mystery is when he finds time to sleep!
Stefan designed and maintains our web-site and nags Karen into up-dating it when she gets distracted by other things. On occasions when your work requires the level of precision and accountability that makes a sworn translator your preferred choice or our recommendation it is Stefan we will refer you to.
Unless you happen to come to the house you may never get to meet these folks and it may seem strange to you that we include them as part of the team. Their main role at Bulgarian Buddies is in keeping us entertained, and reminding us that life is much too important to take it seriously.
Mrs. Underfoot actually owned our house before we moved in so we're suitably grateful to her for allowing us to share it. Her children, Trev and Tesne appear to be convinced they they're dogs, as they follow us on walks to the local fields. Sheriff has an almost unnatural relationship with the cats and is our resident clown.