It was a hot and sunny afternoon. I was making a connection in Ruse, the border city in Bulgaria on my way from Bucharest to Varna. It was a busy train, but I could pick my seat in front of a very cute guy. It was an open-type coach and all the windows were open, but everyone was sweaty. I was desperate for the train to leave to get some air. The train left on time, Varna was four hours away. It was slow and wheels were banging heavily at every rail joint. With the swaying and the air, I fell asleep…
When I woke up, I opened my eyes to realize a lot of people had got off. But the cute guy was still here. After some reading, playing on mobile phone, we were both facing each other, looking out the window, sometimes looking at each other. He actually started the conversation.
After exchanging the basic “Where are you from, where are you going to” (which I should shorten as “Wrufwrug” in later posts!), he explained further: “I’m going to Varna for the summer to find a job and be with my friends and brother.” His name is Neno, he’s 22 and a student in computer systems in Ruse.
“My term is not finished, but I need to get quickly to Varna to find a job. Everybody’s looking for a job for the summer, and it’s first come first served.” He expects to get a job in the supermarket where his brother works. “Work is important, I need money”. He was working in a bar in Ruse during the year.
“I wanted to go to the US to work for the summer, but I didn’t get the visa. I went to the interview, but the guy rejected my application because I had missed my first year at university. I told him it was because of money and family problems, but the guy wasn’t very nice… A friend of mine got it although he was in the same situation, but he was interviewed by someone else.”
I had noticed he was wearing fancy Italian clothes and shoes, and he had an Iphone.
“I got it two years ago in the US. I worked at the bar in a massive luxury resort in West Virginia: hotel, golf, tennis, swimming pool. I was serving drinks to annoying rich people, but they were giving good tips. I would like to go to the States again, visit New York and Chicago. I will apply again next year for the visa.”
Then I told him a little bit about myself, my work in the media and Internet, in the travel industry, and my plans to live a nomadic lifestyle around the world, working whenever and wherever possible (I’m explaining again here in case some of you haven’t got it yet!).
“You give me hope”, he says. “It’s good to see someone as optimistic and cheerful as you. The economic situation is tough here. When you are lucky enough to have a job, you just get enough money to spend a holiday by the Black sea, and you have to get back to work… Most of the people around me are depressed. Hopefully, working in computers I can earn a more decent living.”
He has two more years to study. He’s not entirely happy with his university because the quality of education is not very good. “It would be little better in Sofia, but I don’t like it there, and I can’t really afford it. And I don’t have friends there.” He lives with his parents in Ruse, and from what I gathered, this little guy doesn’t like to be alone.
He’s packed a pretty large suitcase, and for now his plan is to spend a good summer by the sea. “There are also lots of pretty girls there, so this is going to be fun!” He’s just split up with his girlfriend in Ruse, he’s free to indulge in many pleasures.
His English is really good, he already has a pretty good experience of living abroad, seems smart and open minded. He’s young and has his whole life ahead of him. I’m sure he’ll be doing well for himself.
The conversation went on and he tought me some cyrilique as train was meandering in a slightly hilly landscape. The sun was slowly going down, as we were approaching the sea, the air was getting fresher. When we arrived in Varna, his friend was waiting for him. We exchanged warm goodbyes, and wished each other best of luck. I was really happy to have shared this moment.