Today is July 31st, 2017. I leave for Bulgaria in less than a month. That is certifiably crazy.
One could imagine that the days leading up to departure are endlessly exciting, that my life at the moment is simply bursting with packing and preparations. Allow me to dissuade you from that notion. Much of the build-up to exchange, and indeed many significant life events, consists primarily of waiting. Waiting for acceptance, waiting for travel dates, waiting for placement. Over the past month since PDO, I have tried on several occasions to sit down and write a post for you all. I wanted to find a way to share all of my tumultuous thoughts and feelings without it becoming nothing more than a diary entry made public. But for that, I needed news. And, as a byproduct of the aforementioned waiting, news has been hard to come by. Only now, finally, at long last, do I have actual, tangible information to convey:
I got my host family!
I got my host family.
Oh my god this is real.
I have a host family!
As some of you know, I was fortunate to have an absolutely wonderful host family for my AFS Global Prep trip to India in 2015 (s/o to the Narangs for being the best) and had a lovely time with the Schirra family in Germany last summer, so I was both optimistic and terrified as I anxiously awaited news of this newest addition to my international family tree. Thankfully I am once again blessed beyond belief, this time in the form of Надежда Панчева, or Nadejda Pancheva (an approximate transliteration), my wonderful new host mom. We have emailed back and forth a few times already, as well as chatted on Facebook (where she sent me adorable pictures like the one to the right!), and I could not be happier. She’s kind and adventurous, and seems just as happy to have me as her exchange daughter as I am to have her!
She lives in a beautiful house in Herakovo, a small village just to the northwest of Sofia where I’ll be going to school. Nearby in Sofia are my host brother, Simeon, and my host grandparents — from what I can tell I’ll be seeing a lot of them, too!
It’s possible you are, as I did, wondering about the logistics of living in Herakovo while attending school in Sofia. Once again, the situation is ideal: Надежда works near my school and is going to drive me into town each morning. As far as getting around on my own, my house is a five minute walk from a bus stop from which I can travel to a metro stop from which I can get into town. Not the most straightforward of routes, but I bet I’ll figure it out quickly. If not, random Bulgarians are probably nice, right? They’ll help a girl out?
As departure day sneaks closer and closer, I couldn’t feel better about the life that awaits me 6093.34 miles away. Though I’m sure the many goodbyes ahead will be hard (and you can bet you’ll be hearing about them), I know that they will be closely followed by some truly beautiful hellos. I can’t wait.
Until next time, Довиждане!