Friday’s planned “drinks after work” with the new guy brought together only 3 people, but we made the best of it—staying out until midnight. In these 6 hours, the new guy, an American, convinced us to check out the Tango exhibition and lessons that take place on Sunday afternoons in the restaurant we were eating at, and to form an English-language theatre group.
I groggily awoke around 10:00 to a phone call from Shelly the diplomat; she asked if I wanted to go skiing—in a half an hour. An hour later, I was standing by the street dressed in my fashionable skiwear and holding my skis and boot, waiting for her to pick me up. After the last person she invited (out of 6) cancelled on her, we were on our way to Borovets. Arriving around 12:30, I bought a lift ticket for only 10 leva from a guy leaving for the day, making this the cheapest ski trip ever—six dollars for a half day of skiing (Shelly wouldn’t accept any gas money—oh, but I bought a Pepsi and 2 candy bars, so adds a couple of leva.Forrest Gump reference) The weather has been warmer of late, and the conditions were not the best (heavy, crusty, grabby snow.) Never the less, it was a worthwhile ski trip. I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself on Saturdays now that ski season is practically over; I guess I’ll have to get back on my bike (actually, I saw two cyclists on the way to Borovets.)
Saturday night was Doriana’s “Spring Party.” She lives in a spacious apartment in one of the ubiquitous old-school high-rises of Sofia—I was envious when I heard what she pays in rent. Doriana fixed quite a spread; unfortunately, I had made myself some dinner after skiing, so I didn’t get to try her pasta or tomato, cucumber, & avocado salads. Everybody showed up except Ryan, who was in Boston attending a friend’s wedding—also making him the loser of our unofficial “who can stay on this side of the big pond the longest” contest.
Sunday I woke robbed of one hour of sleep since Europe begins daylight savings time one week earlier than back home. Since I was running late, I went to the International Baptist Church, where I hadn’t shown my face for a few months now. Interestingly, I met an American guy who is in a PhD program here in Sofia, and whom I had previously met at the MBA fair a week and a half ago—another one of those mutual “why did you come to Bulgaria” conversations, as most of the other Americans here either work at the embassy or are making good money to be here.
Sunday was really a warm, sun-filled day, so I happily met the Hash House Harriers for a run around Lake Pancharevo. Thanks to the great weather, we had a sizable turnout—11 runners, and plenty more walkers. This also brought out tons of Sofians, who were enjoying the lake and surroundings despite the fact this area—as many heavily visited areas in Bulgaria—is strewn with trash. It really bothered me while running; I don’t understand how one can relax in the sun or even picnic when surrounded by garbage. It was better when we headed up the mountain to a higher trail, but this revealed another ugly truth: I am out of shape! Today I am still sore—from a 5 km run.