• Leon de Leeuw

It might be a surprise to many, but I moved back to the Netherlands. Another surprise is that it's just for a short while. No worries, it's for good reasons! I found a new job, and got an opportunity I couldn't let pass. Since October, I work for the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam. Here, I'm a Contract Manager, working on contracts and negotiations for clinical trials. How do I find myself in this environment? Well, in Bulgaria I worked in clinical research, and have a solid experience in the field. The job market in the Netherlands is quite tight, meaning there are a lot of jobs and few people to fill these positions. That's a thing of 2020 and 2021, before that was hardly the case. After all, I left the Netherlands in 2014, and one of the reasons was that there were few jobs to come by.


Part of the deal is that I got housing in Amsterdam and will get to work remotely from Sofia after my onboarding period. So that's definitely a plus for me, I didn't need to move anything to the Netherlands except bring a suitcase. I left my belongings in Bulgaria and I just get back within a few months and continue my life there. Just with a new job. My work is very enjoyable. Because I negotiate contracts for clinical trials, these have a direct influence on the patients that I walk by on a daily basis. Unfortunately, they suffer from the terrible disease called cancer, and it's really hard to see the effect it has on people.


In either case. I find myself in Amsterdam now. The glorious capital of the Netherlands. The city of tolerance, of gay life, of the canals, and what not.. It is a nice city to live. I feel free here, to be myself, to live my best life, and to just take a breather and relax. After Christmas, I'll be back in Bulgaria. As the world is rather chaotic (best not watch the news), I just treasure the moments with my family, and appreciating what my country has to offer. It is far better to be back here than I ever dared to expect.


All the best and talk soon,


Leon



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  • Leon de Leeuw

Again a dynamic year. And what better time to be and stay in Bulgaria! Each weekend, I am out and about. Exploring, having fun, just bringing my hammock and hanging out. Now and then I meet some local people, have a chat with them, have a drink together. I got to drive a Lada, went offroad with a Jeep, and had lots of laughs with the Bulgarians. I love this place more than ever. It's an incredibly hot summer this 2021. People can do little more than relax, it's just too hot to be bothered to do anything more. Although I haven't been to the seaside, I've done many mountain trips. There's just too much to see inbetween Sofia and the Black Sea.


The food has been wonderful everywhere. Restaurants do a great job, with affordable, high-quality meals and good service. I took some pictures of my everyday summer scene. I go out to eat, go visit the pool of my gym, then make some trips on the weekend. Join me on this journey through this little picture album. For more adventures, check out my Youtube channel, I'm sure you'll learn more about Bulgaria and perhaps even be convinced to visit!


Have a great summer,

Leon


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  • Leon de Leeuw

Again this proves to be a challenging year to travel. In the sense that it requires testing and advance planning to go anywhere. However, in Bulgaria, all was fine. In spring, I made a road trip to Western Bulgaria. Blagoevgrad - Kyustendil - Razlog and many places inbetween. Re-visited the Rila Monastery and some other popular places, like Bansko. A great road trip with lots of surprisingly beautiful places. I drove all the way up to the Vihren mountain hut and also got to the Bezbog hut by cable lift. I had not been this deep into the Bulgarian mountains, so definitely worth it. All vlogs of this trip are on Youtube. Also I visited Egypt, but this was such a complex trip that it requires another blog post.


I've finally managed to visit the Netherlands in June. I hadn't seen my family in six months, a lot longer than I'm used to. It was just four days but definitely something I needed. A wonderful time to visit my country. The time for bike rides, getting strawberries and cherries and having a beer outside with my folks. It was tremendous. The week after, my brother came to Sofia. We went to some great restaurants, took a train to Svoge to hike a bit, and enjoyed our time in the city. We got him a haircut, he went to the dentist for some check-up, and then went back home. Indeed, my brother is far more satisfied with the service of my dentist than the dentist in the Netherlands.


Then I made further plans as well. I booked three trips to Italy at once. To Treviso, which is near Venice at first. I've done a trip here before but would love to visit Trieste, near the Slovenian border. Then to Bari the week after, for a full week. Just like last year. This was one of my best vacations. In terms of places to see, food, prices, weather and people it was amazing. I haven't really seen great beaches although I did swim. Beaches were pierced between the rocks and not as wide and sandy as in Bulgaria. I was limited by use of trains only so couldn't really venture out. I'll go again to relax and explore more. The last trip will be in August, to Rome, for a weekend. All flights cost 30 EUR both ways, making these great deals. Just the Antigen test, which I can do around the corner, will add another 20 EUR per test. Unfortunately, travel became more expensive this way, but we just have to deal with this now. Living close to the airport as well, this lifestyle can be afforded easily. It requires some flexibility and selecting cheaper hotels, but anything is possible. It is just wonderful to live here as an expat, still, and have these adventures while having great friends here in Sofia so this is really starting to feel like home.


Best,

Leon




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