Now, this was an intense and full month! Saying goodbye to Latvia was harder than I thought – I was missing Liepaja already at the end of September. However, being back in Bulgaria and allowing myself to look at it from a tourist’s point of view made me feel very happy and calm.
I procrastinated publishing this article as it meant that my Latvian adventure has ended. I am endlessly grateful for my time there, and I’m looking forward to going back next year to visit friends. <3
First days (01 – 04.09)
On the 1st, I had a mentoring session with Elina at a nice cafe. In the early afternoon, I spent some time with myself, cleansed old energy, and just enjoyed the experience of being in this body.
Friday, the 2nd, I met up with Linda, the author that got me to volunteer at the prison, to give her back some books she lent me. She treated me to the best quince mousse at the Roma Cafe, after which I went to donate clothes with Elina, and did a little souvenir/second-hand shopping. Talked with my mom about creative writing, narrowed down my ideas, and made some concrete plans about it before a colleague pointed out a mistake I made on the Youth House’s iG, and went to fix it.
On Saturday, I went to Jelgava, where Eduards, a new friend I made in August, showed me around. He was such a knowledgeable guide, my head almost exploded from all of the information. We visited a memorial museum of Alfons Alunans – the father of Latvian theater, which was wonderful, and even had costumes for us to put on!! We walked around, he told me about the history of the city, and we spent some time looking over the river before we headed towards his favorite cafe-restaurant for dinner. I stayed in Jelgava, we talked till 3 am about life, personal growth, and spirituality.
The next day, our tour continued, and we visited the History and Art museum. Seriously, Latvia has the best museums!! They’re so well-curated and comprehensive, the only downside is that most, if not all, of the information, is in Latvian. The actual sad part is that, as my guide told me, the museum staff is severely underpaid. Eduards translated so much of the information and let me wander in awe around the art exhibitions.
First week (05 – 11.09)
On Monday morning Elina and I were supposed to face our fear of heights in an adventure park, which turned out works only by reservation starting on the 4th of September. The park was right next to lake Beberlini, so instead, we sat around to enjoy the scenery and had a conversation. Close by was one of Liepaja’s wave breakers, so we went to walk on it as well. After that, I finished packing and checked in with the people that will be at my Human library event on Saturday, the 10th of September. I finished the day with a walk to the beach, which I’ll miss.
Tuesday was a day, focused on me – I wrote a bit, took it easy, checked in with people again for my event on Saturday. Because I’m leaving, the Youth House’s finances got difficult, which means changes for Manuel, and no new volunteer. In the evening, Jekabs and I went on a walk and watched the sunset at the beach.
On Wednesday, Manuel and I had a meeting with Ance, which went well as most of it was for Manuel. I’m proud of myself for not meddling in their business, trying to be helpful 😀 After that, I wrote, spent some time with myself, then browsed and searched for English translations of Latvian authors but sadly, I barely found any. Manuel wanted to make dinner for both of us but the potatoes he got were rotting in the bag already, when he opened the bag, it felt like a stink bomb was released.
Thursday was a self-care and writing day in preparation for Friday. I found and began reading Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes, which was a very enjoyable romance/chicklit book – it made me feel daydream-y and fuzzy, and I was done with it by Saturday.
On Friday, around lunch I went to a school in Liepaja to present Youth Mobility opportunities – it went well, and the pupils had some questions for me.
On my way there, I experienced a very interesting spiritual situation in which I was given the chance to decide a big chunk of my life. After that, most of my day went in a haze but after the school visit I had lunch and prepared for my last creative writing workshop. We went to the Nature House, where Justine (the organizer of the children’s camps in August) told us about insects, ants, and cockroaches – some of the youngsters held live roaches in their hands! Following the shock, we talked about Kafka’s Metamorphosis and about metaphors as the task for that day was to imagine the current pressures in our lives as metaphors or metaphorical situations. The youngsters that participated gifted me with a box of sweets when we were done. <3
Saturday and Sunday were easy days – writing, hanging out and cooking with Manuel, some energy and spiritual work for the new moon on the 10th. On Saturday, the Human Library event went smoothly and was nice.
I began the book The man from Constantinople, which effortlessly grabbed and kept my interest until I finished it on Wednesday.
Second week (12 – 18.09)
On Monday, I finished Confessions of a woman in love and published it on Wattpad, but it’s not available there anymore. Then I got the last bits of my luggage together, cleaned the apartment for the last time, and went to my improv goodbye hang-out at the Youth House at 1 pm. The girls were so sweet, asking about my plans and experience in Latvia – about an hour later, Elina gifted me a wonderful hardcover notebook with a sweet motivational letter and Ance brought out a very pleasantly fragrant candle. I went on a walk with my mentor to the sea to say bye to it, too.
I spent Tuesday with Charlotte in Aizpute – we went on a mini-trip to Kuldiga, where she was so sweet as to take care of me. We talked about the quantum shift happening in both of us and how it’s affecting our actions and our future. On the way back to Aizpute, I did an impromptu past-life regression for both of us. After that, I made sure that all my luggage is packed. In the evening, Manuel and I watched Disney’s Hercules as a farewell experience (it’s one of my favorite movies, and he had never seen it before that).
At 5.30 am on Wednesday, 14th, I got up to eat breakfast and do a final check of the house: I didn’t forget anything, took my toothbrush, and woke up Manuel, who helped me drag my suitcase quietly down the stairs. I had arranged for a transfer from Liepaja to Riga’s airport. We said goodbye and off I went. Thank you, Manu.
I arrived at the airport 4 hours before my flight, only to find out it’s been delayed by 2 hours. Alright, I waited, texted my mom, read my book (The man from Constantinople – amazing read), felt nervous, and saw how my flight got delayed another 2 hours. My itinerary was two flights with a 4-hour overlay in Berlin… The flight attendant on the first flight said that my second flight should also be late, but it wasn’t. In Berlin, I found out that all flights from Germany to Bulgaria until and including Saturday, the 17th, were sold out. My phone battery was dying, and hostels were too expensive at the last minute, so I decided on getting a bus to Bulgaria. A Turkish Bulgarian man at the airport heard my predicament as I was talking with my mom as my first try at buying a Flixbus ticket didn’t work, but the payment almost went through. He helped me figure out from where to catch the bus, calmed me down, and even offered me to stay with him and his family if I have nowhere to sleep that night. Teşekkürler!! I thought about how I really want to learn Turkish as it keeps saving me in dire situations. It took me an hour to get from the airport to the bus station using two trains, with no phone battery, but some nice passengers on the trains helped me, and we had a pleasant chat. At 20.30 German time (21.30 Latvian/Bulgarian), I reached the bus station, charged my phone through my laptop, and waited for my bus at 23.30 CET. A few more passer-bys came to talk to me, for which I was very thankful as then I didn’t feel as alone or scared to be out on my own so late.
At 8 am on Thursday, I arrived in Munich, where I had to wait 3 hours for the bus to Plovdiv. I went to buy gum, water, wet wipes, and food and changed my clothes in the station’s bathroom. Throughout my whole trip home, which ended at noon the next day, Friday, people came up to talk to me – I heard so many life stories and listened to so many struggles and joys, both past and present. That was an amazing trip with incredible people. The rest of the day on the 16th my mom was helping me stay awake by hanging out with me <3
Saturday and Sunday my second cousins came to visit – we went on a hike to Bekovi Skali, from where one can see a panoramic view of the Vucha dam in the Rhodopi mountains. I was reorganizing my wardrobe and trying to unpack my luggage, so a lot of clothes went into a donation pile and my cousin kept me company while I did that. We made banitsa together, and played Catan and Rumikub.
Third week (19 – 25.09)
From Monday to Friday, I stayed in Stamboliyski – I enjoyed my family’s company, helped with chores here and there, and had calls with friends. I’ll see my Bulgarian friends in person in October.
Friday, the 23rd, I caught the afternoon train to Varna and had a great evening with my dad.
On Saturday and Sunday, I went walking. I probably went around the center, sea garden and lighthouse a few times, and got to see my cousin and an acquaintance. On my walks, I was seeing Varna as if through new eyes: the architecture surprised me, along with the bright sun. I felt so at peace. Saturday evening, I, my dad, aunt, and my little cousin had dinner at Happy.
Fourth week (26 – 30.09)
Monday after another walk and some time with my dad, I went to Razgrad to visit my grandparents. My younger cousin on that side of the family came by on Monday and
Tuesday evenings to hang out with me, and the rest of the time there I spent in the garden, on the phone with a friend, or with my grandma.
Wednesday in the late afternoon I went back to Varna. My dad surprised me with pepper spray in my favorite color. <3 We had dinner together and I tried napping before getting on the night train to Sofia. There were no free beds, so I am grateful I got a few hours of sleep.
Thursday was a long but pleasant day – it started with my train arriving 20 minutes late. I went to see my cousin, where I stayed till the 2nd of October, and we caught up. After that, I went to a meeting with my ESC-sending organization to discuss whether I can use their office for my creative writing and how we’ll disseminate my project experience. I met my cousin at her university, got her keys, and went back to the apartment just in time to rest a little before my online interview for a job at TELUS Plovdiv. It went great, I signed my contract and began work on the 3rd of October. Right after that, I went to a networking event, organized by Voca Academy, where we played a goal-setting board game, I got to spread the word about the creative writing workshops and find a place for the first few ones. In the evening, I joined my cousin and her friends at a party at Terminal 1. At some point, four guys were trying to either dance or talk to me: each of them as if waiting for their turn. One, however, took my hand and began leading me to dance, spinning, dipping, and lifting me. I had so much fun!! We exchanged numbers and met the next evening as well.
Friday began at 10.30 am when I got the job offer from TELUS by phone. Right after that, a friend called for a chat, and my mom followed. At lunch, I went out with a friend for a walk and talk. Around 5 pm, I went to pick up my cousin from her eye doctor appointment – she went back to university, while I got home, washed my hair, and went on my wonderful date.
Let’s finish this week (01-02.10)
On Saturday, I learned how to play pool and got a tour of The Student City in Sofia, accompanied by great conversations. In the evening, the friend I saw on Friday, my cousin, and her friend came with me to Ogi23’s concert. I felt so loved, as none of them knew more than 1 song of Ogi23’s, and I was so excited to go. We enjoyed ourselves, talked, and then went to sleep.
“Early” on Sunday, I caught my train to Plovdiv, where my parents picked me up, and we went to vote. After that, a friend of my brother’s came with his mom to Stamboliyski – I rested for a while in my room before joining the moms on sunchairs out in the yard. When the guests left, my mom and I moved some furniture around, so I can have a home office for the next day: my first day at TELUS International.
Mentally, spiritually, and emotionally throughout the month
This month was very starkly divided into two parts – two weeks of mixed emotions and two weeks of melting into the flow with joy.
Putting the last dot in this story, in this chapter of my life was harder than I thought it would be. I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t want it to end so soon, but I couldn’t stay in a place, where I couldn’t relax, nor feel safe with someone who didn’t respect my boundaries at all. I struggled with setting them, yes, and felt a very big emptiness within me when nobody was crossing them. That confused me a lot as I know it’s healthy to be respected, but somehow my mind was craving the danger and sadness that come with not being fully accepted. It felt like I wasn’t ready for how healthy communication and relationships feel as they were uncomfortable, so I allowed and accepted being walked over. That was familiar. And even if danger is familiar, the brain likes what it already knows, so the craved safety is flagged by the mind as a big ‘NO. It will probably feel even worse than now’.
At the end of the month, when I was already in Bulgaria, I felt free but tired. I love my own company, but I also adore sharing my life with people. To some extent, I jump headfirst into potentially romantic connections in the hopes of him being the one I’ll share my life with. At the same time, I constantly choose people, with which it’ll be difficult to do so – either because of incompatible values, because we live in different cities/countries, or because they don’t want the same thing as me. I am very aware that this is a familiar pattern, that I am working on breaking.
I am so happy I got to rest and see my family in the last two weeks of September. A lot is happening for and to me spiritually and emotionally since I came back. I wonder where will it all lead. 🙂