July 01, 2013

Dampening Sofia

The rain didn't stop me from going to Sofia city's center. I resolved that the dampness shouldn't deter me from going on an adventure, exploring a city with a very sparse tourist presence. I even had a positive post in Facebook while having coffee. Least did I expect that a series of events would affect me.

1. While having coffee, a woman in her 40s randomly approached people. I thought she was either begging or maybe a little crazy. She stopped by my table. Talked in Bulgarian. I replied in English. She replied in perfect English. Told me about how she couldn't reach for her dreams because of no money, the government being corrupt, and Bulgaria being poor. She studied social science. She thanked me for giving my time to talk to her.

She was intelligent.

2. A Syrian guy whom I'd been chatting online for a couple of days called. I agreed to meet up outside a restaurant. He turned out to be a refugee who lost everything because of the current civil war: his two shops, his house that he bought with his hard earned money, and his family whom he doesn't know if they're alive or not. I went so far as to ask to see photos of his family which he kept in his phone. It tore my heart.

He was in pain. 

3. While walking to the train station with head and heart in turmoil of the Syrian's story, I saw what I had been warned all week about: an ongoing protest outside the parliament building by Bulgarians wanting some politicians to resign, the same politicians they elected a few months back.

They rallied despite the rain.

4. I happened to sit beside a man who smelled of alcohol. A few stations past, he asked for the time. I didn't have a watch. He started being chatty. I kept replying in politeness. When he learned I'm Filipino, he started saying he heard Filipino girls are nice. He followed me where I got off. Good thing he didn't persist when I said I had a friend waiting outside the station.

I was very scared. 

These series of events in just one day seemed a bit too much; however, it's a nudge for me to evaluate my outlook in life, to answer questions such as: 
How quick do we judge by appearances?
How often do we take for granted the things and family within our reach?