I’m a single dad for the next 24 hours. This morning Sasha and Alexis took the train to do some paperwork in the city of Kostenets (where her family lives). I’m taking care of the older two girls tonight. We will drive out to Kostenets tomorrow.
The girls are in school now, so I had the morning to get some legwork done. I went downtown to the local Christian bookstore to look for some discipleship materials for some young men who want to learn more about their faith. Afterward I stopped by my old language school. The secretary at the school is a friend of ours. I thought I would see how she is doing. It was fortunate I stopped by.
As I popped into the office I saw a somewhat frustrated maintenance lady. She helps out around the office keeping the place tidy and organized, but she is not the secretary and does not speak English. She informed me that there was a man in one of the classrooms and she had no idea why he was there. The secretary (our friend) was out sick, and the director had not come in yet. She asked me to translate to find out what he needed.
The man was an Egyptian who wanted to learn Bulgarian. He had come to pay his bill for the class that starts next week. I informed him that he could wait for the director, but we were not sure when he would come. The Egyptian man decided to come back later.
As we walked out together I told him what a good school it was. He asked how long it took for me to learn Bulgarian. I told him I was comfortable speaking after about a year, but I have improved quite a bit in the three years I have lived here. I also told him I have a cheat in that I have Bulgarian family. He told me he also has a Bulgarian wife. He moved here with her from Egypt because of the conflict in his home country. I told him I have been praying for Egypt. He seemed to appreciate that.
As I headed toward the subway to go home, I thought about those first few months in Sofia almost three years ago. Back then everything was new and unknown. How things have changed. I really feel at home here. We are going back to the U.S. next year. I am looking forward to it, but honestly the U.S. seems a bit foreign to me now. I’ve spent most of the last decade outside of America. Pop culture references that I hear from time to time don’t always make sense, and the U.S. news reports I read and hear sometimes make America sound like a very different country than the one I left. Bulgaria has changed dramatically in the past three years. I can only imagine America has too. What will it look like to me next year?