August 3 - Plan A: This is what was supposed to happen. Our van, with automatic transmission and large enough to carry 6 people and their luggage, would arrive at 9:30. We would load up, and Susan would drive the 3-hour trip to Lom with stops in Mezdra and Montana to visit some of our kids. This is what really happened: The minivan arrived a little late; it had manual transmission, and it did not have room for six people and luggage. Susan bravely offered to drive anyway, but there was no way we were all going to fit in that van! I use the word bravely because roads in Bulgaria aren’t great and are mostly two lanes. Bulgarian drivers are known to pass other cars any time, anywhere.
Plan B - Sadly, we didn’t have a Plan B, but Steffi quickly got to work and made one up. She and the hotel manager began phoning rental agencies. No luck. They even phoned some of their friends who owned vans. No luck. Fortunately, Steffi was able to get in touch with a transportation company who worked with her school. They had a van! They had a driver! It would be large enough for us and our luggage! It wouldn’t be available until 2:30, but it was our only option.
Van and driver were a little late but they did arrive. The driver was skillful and uncomplaining. The main highway to Lom was closed, so he had to take a longer, bumpier detour. He will return to Lom on Monday morning to take us back to Sofia. We continue to be impressed by and thankful for the kindness of Bulgarian strangers.
We stopped in Mezdra to visit Bobby and Sylvia who were originally in the orphanage in Lom but were moved to Mezdra when the orphanage closed. We always refer to Bobby as “Smiling Bobby”; we have never seen him without a smile on his face. We were able to give them news of some of their friends in other group homes and a few of the girls who had been adopted and were now living in the United States.
Our next stop was in Montana to see brothers Zoran and Alex, mine and Wayne’s special favorites. They left the group home to be reunited with their mother in 2012 and are doing well. As usual, the brothers argued back and forth about who was the smartest, the cutest, the most athletic, etc. We also met Zoran’s girl friend who seemed shy and maybe a little overwhelmed by us.
It was after dark when we finally made it to Lom. As soon as our driver dropped us off, he headed back to Sofia. He didn’t get home until after midnight. It had been a long and stressful day, but we still had one more task. We met with the directors of the three group homes and Lom’s Director of Social Services so that we could plan for our days in Lom. We managed to have supper around 10:00. It was a long day but a happy one filled with meeting old friends and making a few new ones.
Bobby and Silvia
Zoran and Alex