This Is How I Ended Up In Bulgaria

Estella sits by the cliff overlooking the Bulgarian mountains at the Seven Rila Lakes

“Nothing excuses your behaviour. Your apology doesn’t warrant an automatic forgiveness.”

This article is dedicated to a true friend of mine.

Reality Far From Expectations

Back in 2017, I went to Sweden thinking I had everything, a boyfriend, an exchange student life, a mum to support me back home etc… And I left Sweden losing everything.

In March 2017, we broke up. He moved out. At the same time, my mum lost her job. I thought losing a boyfriend would hurt tremendously, but turns out, it didn’t hurt as much as not having money to pay rent.

Pressured to make money while not telling my mum about my emotional roller coaster ride, I decided to get a new flatmate. Lucky for me, the perfect candidate was found in a day. A Bulgarian student doing his internship in Gothenburg.

Filtering out candidates was not a luxury I had, given the urgency. He was the first one to contact me and we sealed the deal instantly over the phone, the quickest lease I had ever signed. Getting cancelled by his landlord one week before his arrival was the reason he was in a desperate state as well.

Late on the first day

It was early morning when he arrived. My friend Sharon and I made a crepe cake for him the day before but we both overslept. By the time we woke up, he had already been sitting at the bus station for 30 minutes. Frantically rushing out to get him, I was not in my best shape that morning.

Being the only one sitting at the bus station, he was easy to recognise. A blonde, skinny, well-dressed man about my height, holding his suitcase, standing in his navy blue down jacket, not even looking a tad annoyed. As soon as he saw me, he gave me a big hug and a huge smile, thanking me for picking him up from the station. Didn’t even mention I was 30 minutes late.

My first impression of him was how polite and grateful he was for everything, complimenting my place and the crepe cake, passionately talking about his internship at a travel agency. Things seemed to be off to a good track, or so I thought…

Failing As A Friend And A Host

Those months were filled with heartbreaks and stress. Burdened by my own financial and emotional issues, I wasn’t as eager to socialise as I was at the beginning of the semester. He was still the same kind person since Day 1. But I wasn’t the same friendly host anymore.

Refusing his invites to hangout became normality. Staying out and walking by the sea alone so I didn’t have to spend so much time at home became routine. Nothing went wrong to cause this, and yet everything seemed wrong.

Living together for three months felt so long and yet short at the same time. I knew his routines and his habits, what he liked for breakfast, what time he slept, what kind of songs he listened to. But I never knew him as a person. What did his parents do? Why did he want to be in Sweden? What was his favourite childhood memory?

I wasn’t the nicest to him. So many other things happened that I’m not going into details now. He remained the kind gentleman he was.

It was mid-summer in Sweden when I left for my solo trip around Europe. Packing up and leaving this place was hard. I came here with everything and I was leaving with nothing. I thought leaving a sad place behind would be easy, but it was also a place that marked my unforgettable journey.

A little surprise three months later

Never thought we’d meet again anytime soon. Towards the end of my trip, he was asking me how I was and I told him I was looking for a place to stay for a few days in Gothenburg before flying out. Without hesitation, he immediately offered his place.

Sitting down with him after three months, catching up on life. I felt different. I wasn’t the same naive girl whining about not having a boyfriend or money. Those three months changed me a lot.

The one who never got the apology he deserved

Apologising was the hardest thing to do, especially when you know you did something really wrong and the other person seemed to forgive you without having you to say anything. He never said a word of how I treated him. He even sent me off to the airport on my last day. Always the welcoming, kind flatmate, who never got the apology he deserved.

I tried so hard to make excuses for myself for not treating my flatmate right. I was emotionally wrecked, I wasn’t able to finance myself, I was in a foreign country, I was stressed. All the excuses I could think of, I gave to myself to cut myself some slack.

There will never be an excuse good enough to justify your way of treating people. If you treat someone awful, that’s just who you are as a person. And that’s just who I was as a person back then.

Denial would be nice, but that would be a lie. I wasn’t the best person, still am not, but I’m trying to be. Acknowledging the mistakes I made was the key to a better me. Humans tend to repeat 80% of their mistakes. Let’s just hope this was the 20% that I can change.

This is how I ended up in Bulgaria

A year after Sweden, I ringed him up and asked him if he would be free in the summer, I’d love to visit him in Bulgaria. To my surprise, or maybe within my expectation, he started planning every spot in the country he wanted to take me. Still laughing and smiling, thinking it’s a privilege that I’d want to visit. Little did he realise, the privilege was all mine.

And that’s the story of how I ended up in Bulgaria. All because of my wonderful friend, who stood by me during my tough times, and did his best to cheer me up every time I went to him for comfort. May all the blessing and love be upon him and his kind soul and finally, I would like to say,

“I’m sorry.”

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