In March this year I went to Sofia, Bulgaria, to help with the organization of an AIESEC conference there. I spent 7 days there and flew the first time with an airplane.
It all started as we arrived at the airport. Check-in was pretty easy and fast. We arrived more then an hour early, so I was waiting a lot at the airport. Slowly the time was passing by, and I was finally checked in. Learned that I can take my mp3 player aboard with me, so the trip back was a bit better. The first memorable experience was, when the pilot announced, that they have technical difficulties, so we will start later. At first 10 minutes later, then another 5, then a specialist will look at the case (one of the doors for the luggage couldn't be closed...). The pilot already prepared us for the possibility, that we might have to change the plane, when it was fixed and we flew off. As I believe, that the security and technical standards need to be very high for a plane to be allowed to fly I wasn't nervous about it at all. Then we started to roll. The plane started to raise, and the feeling of sitting in a roller coaster calmed me – yes I know this feeling, everything is alright. Then I looked down, and as the houses grow smaller I started to believe I'm watching Google maps :P It was like I have experienced these feelings already. It was fine.
The blue sky above the clouds calmed me, but I believe, that looking up on a nice summer day the shade of blue is much nicer then up there. The next surprise was, when we started to sink, I saw a vast white surface. As I wasn't sure how high we were I though it was some kind of a plant, or manufacturing facility. I saw whiteness and black squares below me. Then after a minute or two I realized, that everything is covered with snow! And the squares are houses.
The landing in Sofia was perfect, no complications at all. And I was picked up by a very good friend, Didi, at the airport, who I thank this whole experience. I was taken for lunch, put down my luggage, so that the ex-socialistic countries do look alike, so I didn't feel to lost. Although it was a bit dirtier, then what I'm used to.
The first meal I had in Sofia was “Kavarma” with bread. Delicious.
In the afternoon I went with two AIESECers to a small restaurant, which served fish. I was surprised, that I could smell the fish already 2 blocks away from the restaurant, before I could even see the place. I'm not a big fan of fishes, because of a few bad experiences, but I enjoyed the small fishes, which were fried and served like a snack. The beer was fine, too, and we had a good talk. It seemed I left a good expression. :)
The next day I took my first pictures in the center of Sofia. I was surprised when in one of the streets I found the quote below. Sándor Petőfi is the biggest Hungarian revolutionary poet. He was one of the people who started the Hungarian revolution against the Habsburg Monarchy in 1848. He got lost after a battle in 1949.The quote says: “Love and freedom is what I need. For love I sacrifice life. For freedom I sacrifice love.”
The dinner was perfect afterward. I order a 2 liter beer, cause I didn't know what they will bring me. I was not surprised, when I saw a jug, but a bit disappointed. I would had love to hold some kind of 2 liter glass. :P The think that I ate there was called mish-mash and said it was a specialty in Bulgaria. In Hungary we call it lecsó, and I do believe almost every country has this dish, as it is quite simple to make (scrambled eggs with paprika, tomato, onion and spices).
I was accommodated that night with two facis at Zlaty's place. It was a great place to stay and we had the opportunity to eat some home made jam and a lot of lutenica. Lutenica is a mix of vegetables and spices which is sold in bottles in every supermarket. It tastes very fresh, and I'm very sorry there is none here in Slovakia.
The next day it was the first time the organizing committee of the conference met. The people were great. The fun thing was, that exactly when we finished our meeting there were fireworks above the city.
The first day of the conference started with a global village, where I started to perform a folk dance from Slovakia. It was horrible, when you take it from the view of a dancer, but the people enjoyed it and I had build up a small reputation for myself :P This was my first appearance before people, dancing folk dances.
The place we were was just beautiful! It is a red cross facility pretty close to Sofia.
During the conference there were as usually some problems as also upsides. Some of the reasons of being in the various OC was for me to enjoy the team spirit, which builds up in a very short time, but is extremely strong at the end of the conference. To be able to stay calm in crisis situations and understand, that everything has a solution. To know where to be and when and last but bot least to smile. I do believe that I managed to learn all this. But I lost a bit of my enthusiasm on the way, which came from various adrenalin rushes, mainly, when there was no time for anything. But I loved the fact, that I work nonstop, when work is needed.
Here is the right place also to thank my roommates for offering a helping hand anytime I needed some :)
All in all the conference went fine, the people were satisfied, the parties were awesome. And I had my share of dancing. I even tried to show some people the folk dances I dance.
The last day was very said. With barely the money to pay for the taxi I checked in on the plain and with a tear in my eye I left the great people back, and wrote down the great memories.
Special thanks to: Didi, Vanya, Zlaty, Chris, Dave, Filip, Peter, Niki and Tina. I may not be the best person to hold contact with anybody, but I thank you for a lot of great memories and just give a note if I can help in any way.