Suddenly this is starting to feel real, people. My departure to Bulgaria, which once felt like a distant milestone, is now merely 3 weeks away. It’s hard to pinpoint anything specific that brought me to this abrupt realization. Instead, I think it’s the combination of many things–buying my airline ticket, selling my furniture, booking a hotel for my first night in Sofia (the capital), and starting to set aside things to pack. Perhaps the event that most alerted me to the reality that I’m down to 3 weeks in the U.S. was my brother Andrew’s wedding last weekend. While it was an overwhelmingly happy and fun weekend, it ended with saying goodbye to Andrew and his now-wife Kelly, as our travel schedules will prevent us from seeing each other again before I leave. Whatever the cause of my change in thinking, I know that August 8th will be here in no time, and that I have many more “to-dos” and tough goodbyes ahead of me between now and then.
Andrew and Kelly’s wedding in the Duke Chapel
All that said, the most dominant feeling I have is excitement. Travel and culture are two of my biggest passions, and I’ve got an onslaught of both heading my way. Thinking through my first couple moves after landing invigorates me. How will I navigate to my hotel? How do I avoid getting ripped off by taxi drivers (I’ve heard that’s very common for visitors)? Where will I find my first meal? Previous travel and living abroad experiences have helped build my confidence, but the reality is that this will be unlike any other challenge I’ve faced. Not only is the language (Bulgarian) foreign to me, but it’s based on an entirely new alphabet (Cyrillic)! I’ve got my work cut out for me; and I can’t wait.
I’ll leave you with a youtube video I stumbled across today that made me smile. It was filmed in Silistra–the town I”ll be living and teaching in for the next 10 months. Looks like there is plenty to be HAPPY about!