Every once in awhile, however, I just need to get away! Especially now when I've been an emotional spaz lately and don't see that ending any time soon as I anticipate the end of this phase of my life here in the Bulg...
Enter one of my new and perfectly appropriate invented words - "daycation." During any season other than the current one, this act usually involves a little day trip to Sofia to go see a movie at the mall and eat a McD's cheeseburger, but during this lovely winter period, I like to hop the bus up the mountain to the beautiful winter wonderland of Borovets. I'll be the first to admit that I'm a bit spoiled having this place only 15 minutes up away from Samokov. Not only are there restaurants, coffee shops and bars with good music and ENGLISH speaking people, but the snow-covered Rila mountains simply cannot be rivaled in my opinion.
Today I loaded up my bag with my Kindle, a notebook, my iPod (its working again!), and my Eastern European travel guide, and set off for a much needed "daycation." It was so nice. At first I just walked around under the low-hanging, snow-covered trees, and allowed my stomach to turn as I watched people dart down the visible ski runs (I don't think that sick feeling or leg-throbbing will ever go away long enough for me to actually try strapping ski boots to my leg ever again...). Then I curled up on a leather couch in one of the big hotel lobby's and spent the next hour and a half people watching and planning an entire week in Croatia on the Dalmation Coast for this April (woot!). Then I packed up my books and relocated to a little Bulgarian restaurant with a cozy fireplace that I like to frequent when I'm up in the ski resort area. I came in here the first time early last spring season with two colleagues of mine. Now, every time I go in I get the "local" (read BULGARIAN) price on everything. Which actually makes my hot cocoa, french fries, or mulled wine quite reasonable for a resort locale! And it makes me like the owner so much that I usually end up tipping him the difference anyway. ;) We have a great, unspoken agreement, and I love the huge smile I get when I walk in.
I took my time with my tea and cheeseburger (note - just because it looks like a cheeseburger and they call it a cheeseburger, does NOT mean that it is in fact a cheeseburger), and then relocated to a different hotel lobby for a little more reading while I waited for the bus. When the bus came, I opened the door and crawled in, only to be greeted by the driver and his son - two friends of mine! The driver is married to the nurse at my school, and with their son, Sasho, all three spent the entire ten days with us at camp on the sea as an NGO last summer! I caught up with Emil for a bit, got a free ride, and a HUGE smile from my buddy Sasho. :)
All in all, a good mental health day, and a perfect daycation.