Cycling through the park yesterday, I walked past a woman and her daughter. The child was wailing – not crying, but that full on blood-curdling, toe-curling wailing that I’ve only ever heard from bereaved people in an African hospital, and children. As I walked past the screaming child, I thought to myself, “I’m with you sister” – because to be honest, I’ve had a RUBBISH weekend.
It started off badly. First, I was told that I wasn’t allowed to cycle through McDonalds Drive-Through. Then my flatmates wouldn’t come with me to the Irish bar to watch the England football game so we had to watch it at boring old home. (If only we had gone, maybe I’d have picked up a bit of the luck of the Irish). Then I had plans to go to the south of Bulgaria, but due to a combination of my disorganisation, and my flatmate dithering about whether he wanted to come, we left it too late to go. So we decided that instead, we would go to a wine tasting that was happening in town. I’ve heard a lot about Bulgarian wine and not drunk much yet so it seemed a good opportunity to make the most of a weekend in Sofia.
So with a positive mindset, I left the house. Only for my flipflop to break on the way down to the tram. I tried a temporary fix involving a keyring. My temporary fix proved to be useless when we had to run (or should I say, hop) for the tram. I tried a new fix on the tram, but this broke shortly after I got off, so I went into a market stall and bought a new pair of (ugly, men’s) flip flops.
We went to the park and drank some wine in the sun, then headed to the wine festival. I’ll talk about it more when I’m in a more positive frame of mind, because it was actually quite good. After a few hours I was an easy target – I was drunk, and flashing my camera around, taking photos of all the excellent wine. But it was a ticketed event, the atmosphere was good, the people seemed nice, and we were in one of Sofia’s nicest hotels. It seemed an unlikely place for someone to steal my handbag. But they did.
Normally I’m quite careful about what I carry around here, but because I’d been intending to go away for the weekend, I had EVERYTHING with me – my lovely cardigan and scarf, money, credit cards, driving license, keys, phone, penknife, MP3 player, camera. ALL gone. The telephone numbers of my new friends here are gone, the phone number of the man who said he would buy my bike off me when I leave is gone, my music is gone. All the photos I’ve taken since I arrived are gone. I am ABSOLUTELY GUTTED.
And that was only Saturday. Sunday involved:
- A trip to the hotel, to check if they had found my bag. They had not.
- My mother kindly helping me to re-order new bank cards, but in virtue of her not knowing the answer to one of the questions asked by my bank, causing a security breach which means that I cannot get a replacement unless I go into a UK branch with my passport.
- A trip to the police, who laughed in my face when I said I wanted to make an incident report without any ID. I tried to point out that my driving license had been stolen, but this was of no use.
- A consolatory purchase of a burger to cheer myself up. It was burnt.
- A cycle to visit a park I’d not seen before. I was attacked by a Bulgarian dog, and then so lost that I never found the park.
And then, to top it all off, my less-than-24-hour-old flipflops broke.
To reiterate, I’ve had a RUBBISH weekend.
But to stop there would be defeatist. My rather inspiring friend Andrea is now on her 89th day of participating in the Happiness Experiment – in which she reflects on 3 good things that happen to her every day. So here’s the flip side of my flop of a weekend:
- My flatmates have been very good to me, getting me home safely on Saturday night and letting me borrow their laptops and mobiles.
- My mother being, as ever, incredibly supportive and helpful, despite me asking for her help at 7am on a Sunday morning.
- Seeing a woman pick up her child horizontally to drink from a water fountain, which made me laugh.
- The nice men at the bicycle market who sawed off the bike lock from my bike (because I had lost the key) for no charge.
- The fact that the lady on the market stall refunded me for the broken flip flops with no complaint. I didn’t like them anyway.
- The view of Vitosha and the sound of crickets in the field where I got lost on my cycle ride at sunset.
Here’s hoping that this week is more flip than flop.