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A Bulgarian woman in London tells her story

Tatyana Daskalova lives in the UK but writes poetry about Bulgaria

A growing number of Bulgarians have been leaving Bulgaria to live in other countries – temporarily or for good. Seventeen years ago this was a choice made by poetess Tatyana Daskalova from Rousse.

She travelled to Great Britain tempted by the idea of finding out more about the different world and culture there. As a certified journalist Tatyana applied her communication skills in her work in the UK. She founded a housekeeping company and helped dozens of Bulgarian women find work legally. At the same time she worked as babysitter for a British company and was able to come in contact with different people and different cultures in the cosmopolitan city.

She was deeply impressed by the reaction of a small English girl. When she showed her a photograph of a Bulgarian woman in national costume she asked if the woman in the picture was a real princess. Tatyana says she has had many such experiences when she has felt proud of being Bulgarian.

“I live in London and I love it here. I write about Bulgaria in rhyme because it is part of my heart and I miss it! There are more than 200,000 Bulgarians officially living in the UK. I travel around the country a lot, it is a way to learn things about other people, to mix but also to spread your own culture and way of life in another country. The Bulgarians who settle here, in the UK, are mostly people with a good education. There are others who come here to gain experience, to study, and then go back to Bulgaria. But the beginning is always hard.

When I came to London, in the period before Bulgaria joined the EU, I needed a so-called business visa to set up our companies. And gradually, we were becoming integrated, more open as people and were learning to help one another. Love, respect for one another – that is what matters. Now, in these pandemic times it is becoming increasingly clear borders do not exist. I do not think the UK’s leaving the EU is necessary, or that it is any kind of convenience. But it is an independent country and it gave people an opportunity to make their choice and is now abiding by that choice. What I have always liked about Britain is the positive, optimistic view of everything that happens. The English do not give up easily but they have very strict rules – like going to school, treating others with respect, working and not lying to anyone – these are fundamental values.”

Tatyana Daskalova’s first book of poems was released in London a few months ago and stirred much interest among the Bulgarian community there. It includes 40 poems and is entitled “To the capillaries of love”. The poems are about the deep roots of love. These “capillaries” include some of the places Tatyana has been to and has come to love – London, Jane Austen’s birthplace, in Spain – the route to Santiago de Compostela, and also Varna and Bourgas in Bulgaria.

“The place where I live gives me so many ideas, it is my dream to make them come true someday, if I return to Bulgaria,” Tatyana says.

Photos: courtesy of Tatyana Daskalova


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