I have read this thread from start to finish and I think the op has had the question answered in so many ways.
I have a different take on this
We have been here in BG for nearly 7 years and we are likely to remain here. The reason we will remain here is that we are trapped. We do not have the means to return to the UK and re-establish ourselves and at 50 plus have less opportunities in the UK than we would have had when we were younger. We were not fortunate enough to be able to afford to maintain a base in the UK and move abroad and so burnt our bridges
We came here looking for a new way of living and for 3 years we really enjoyed our life. The excitement of settling into and westernising our house, setting out our veg plot and integrating into the local community kept us absorbed and entertained. But then as the novelty wore off and we accomplished most of the things we set out to do, the reality of what we had done set in. Read down for an explanation.
Seven years on and we would like to return to the UK if we could and the reasons for this?
First and foremost it is about quality of life. By quality of life I am not referring to how comfortable our house is and whether we have enough food to eat and can drive a car and pay the bills. For me, quality of life is also and probably more importantly about the social aspects. It is about family and lifelong friends and using your native language to communicate properly. The longer we have been here the more we miss being able to pop down the road to visit family. We miss our old friends. Our grandchildren dont really know who we are etc etc.
Unfortunately despite being able to communicate reasonably in Bulgarian and trying very hard to integrate into the local community we have not been able to replicate the social aspects of our life in the UK. In fact the longer we have been here the more we have shut ourselves off. Bulgaria is a beautiful country but in general and with a few exceptions- the Bulgarians in this part (South Eastern/Yambol) of Bulgaria have turned out to be extremely dislikeable people.
We have found them to be fundamentally an arrogant, selfish, cruel and heartless race when you get beyond the initial hospitality they show. They then start to rip you off - which according to them is ingrained and accepted and they do it to each other as well. What it boils down to (and this became apparent when we started to speak enough Bulgarian to communicate with them) is that they have no compassion. They do not care about their animals, they have no respect for the land and we have witnessed on many occaisions that they do not care about each other. And that is the ugly undertone to this beautiful country. I have to say that it is not Bulgaria alone but right across Southern Europe and into Greece and Turkey.
Yes I know all you wise people that like to sit behind your computers and "sound off" will accuse me of making sweeping statements but I am absolutely convinced that these people have a fundamentally different psychological makeup to mine and never the twain shall meet.
So we have tried befriending the Brit population over here without too much success. The Brits in our village are rarely sober and reasonably sane Brits seem to be few and far between
For those of you thinking of coming here for the climate. If you want to spend a good part of the year trapped indoors because it is either too hot at 40 plus degrees or too cold at minus 17 then please do.
The life we have here ticks all of the boxes we set out to acheive when we moved away. But without family and friends around it eventually becomes a rather isolated and somewhat pitiful existence. If I ever manage to find a way out of this place, these are the reasons I will be leaving.