Traffic was a bitch. Every turn something was going wrong.
The coffee shop I initially was going to was crammed…. with an at least 15 minute long wait. Naturally I muttered some cuss words n’ drove around in search of another.
When I tried to get to the other one, I missed a couple of turns. I made it eventually though.
“Fucking USA rush-hour traffic,” I yelled. Spending so much time in a prison box (AKA car) can really do a number on you.
Why was I getting a coffee in the first place anyways? I was working at a friend’s office, helping their company out with digital marketing stuff.
I wanted a break from life, and this coffee was gonna be it.
Some feeling was rising up within; a bit of sadness for my ex, a bit of anger for the traffic, a bit of frustration for a myriad of other reasons.
I finally made it to the coffee shop. She asked how I was. I said something about having a bland day.
The old woman barista started talking about how me having a bland day is better than a bad day. I didn’t hear at first.
“What? Oh no, today has been bad. That’s what the latte is for.”
“Oh, well I hope it helps,” she said kindly.
“WAIT, IS THAT BANANA BREAD???” I hadn’t seen banana bread in a long time.
“Yes, we have banana bread, pumpkin bread, and..” I cut her off.
“Give me one banana bread.”
The total was ridiculously expensive, but holy shit this was banana bread.
I hadn’t seen this stuff in months since…
While waiting for my latte, I sat down in a chair. I pulled a totem out of my pocket: a circular nut case thingy gifted to me from a dear friend while in a village near Sofia, Bulgaria.
It is said that if you put a wish on one, put it under the pillow and sleep on it, the desire will manifest soon. You can then eat it the next morning should you desire.
My friend gifted me 3. This one had the wish of living abundantly in Sofia, Bulgaria; that my visa should be accepted and I may go to live there.
It’s my “happy place.” I’ve never been happier than in Sofia. I have my best friends there. It’s the best city for a walkable lifestyle. Things are quite affordable so you don’t need to be rich.
I need to get a visa to live there however, and I’m currently waiting on some documents. Within the next week or two I shall be flying to the consulate in the USA to apply, and pray that it goes through… if not, I don’t know what I’ll do with my life.
Now to the banana bread: I opened it out of its wrap. I took a bite.
“Meh, the banana bread in Sofia, Bulgaria is so much better.”
Suddenly I realized: that’s not true. It’s delicious. While the texture was different, the taste was equivalent.
The smell was fresh & magical. Did you know that smell is the most powerful form of memory? Smells are associated with the deepest memories; that is, should you smell something that you’ve smelled before, it’s highly likely you’ll remember the memory perfectly.
And… I indulged in a lot of banana bread in Sofia, Bulgaria, especially during my happiest times.
Suddenly every memory from Bulgaria associated with banana bread came as vivid as can be.
Sitting in Green Cafe reading & studying. Surprising my then-girlfriend with food. Hopping to a coffee shop because my foot was hurt. Living on 53 Aleksander Stamboliyski (my most favorite apartment ever). Hanging out with my then-girlfriend at a cafe. Giving my then-girlfriend a piggyback ride and running around cheering because I knew she’d make it to her desired University. Having a stranger photograph us because of how passionate we were & post it with joy on Facebook. Hanging out with my best friend, laughing and dancing and exploring. Meeting my Greek friend by surprise in the cafe.
There were more. Lots more. Memories that came up brought up associated memories.
It didn’t take long for the tears to come. These were the happiest months ever, and now I’m slaving away on business, spending hours each day in a torture box (AKA car), and missing my friends and ex.
The old woman barista brought over the latte. She had observed my sadness clearly because she put a cute happy monkey sticker on the latte for me to cheer me up.
I left the coffee shop instantly, as more memories surfaced. I ate the banana bread in my car, allowing it resurface forgotten memories as vividly as if I was living them in the present moment.
Even forgetting my ex-girlfriend, there are so many genuinely happy memories with strangers, friends, and other people.
What is it that’s so fucking magical about Sofia, Bulgaria? I don’t know. Things just feel awesome there.
I’ve tried to delude myself about wanting to live in the USA, Asia, and South America, but deep down what I’m scared to admit is just how much I want to make my home base Sofia.
Even scarier is applying for the visa, for if it is rejected then what next?
I must admit, I feel quite vulnerable confessing this banana bread crying experience, but that’s the truly authentic & strong thing to do.
Let’s hope those magical nut thingies from the village in Bulgaria work because I’ll be applying for that visa soon…
In the meantime, I don’t think it to be a coincidence that things “went wrong” and I ended up at that coffee shop today. I haven’t seen banana bread in any coffee shops here until today.
Maybe I needed that banana bread, yet another memory of what I’ve been trying to forget. I have seen but two photos of my life in Bulgaria; I have avoided looking at any photos, and the two I did see was from a friend that took out his phone and showed me the photos.
It’s scary. I feel vulnerable admitting this. But it’s the truth, which is ultimately more important than anything else.
I know returning won’t be the same as before, but I do know who my friends are and what the lifestyle is like. When the wish comes true, let’s just hope it was the right wish, shall we?
For now, taking things one step at a time…
That was some intense banana bread.