There’s nothing quite as bittersweet as the last day of a trip. We wandered around the city of Sofia, browsing the shops and the sights, trying not to think about the fact that the hours were running out.
We started our walk by the National Palace of Culture, a conference center built during the peak of communism, and continued down Graf Ignatiev Street once again. We had lunch at a little place called Otto’s, and I had the most distinctly Bulgarianized pizza ever: hot dog pizza with savory spice. After a long stroll around the city, we headed home to have one last dinner with my grandma. I left for Boston early the next morning.
The last day was a big day of reflection for me. I thought about the time I got to spend with my family, how much I cherished every minute I got to know my roots and my heritage. Being in Bulgaria made me feel whole, and family was a big piece of that. The city of Sofia felt familiar and foreign, all at once. I’ve been there before, but it’s been years, and though I speak the language with my family, I don’t speak it all that much now that I don’t live at home anymore. Wandering around Sofia was like discovering another part of myself, something that’s been a part me all along, but that I forgot was there. Getting to live my Bulgarian identity for a while was what made this vacation truly incredible.
Those two weeks were the most intense, exhausting, exhilarating, and fulfilling weeks of my life, and I still can’t quite believe they’re over. I’m looking forward to my next visit, tentatively set for next summer, and being able to share the experience with Ethan.