May 5, 2012. Central Bus Station in Sofia, Bulgaria.
I arrived at the bus station with my close friend Alina from the little town called Blagoevgrad where I go to college. We only had a few hours together at the station before we would go our separate ways. Being incredibly hungry, we immediately caught a cab and went to the closest McDonalds.
And then, one hour later, we said goodbye.
I headed West – to Istanbul, Turkey. The bus ride took 9 hours. At 7 am next day I arrived at the bus station in Istanbul. My flight was gonna be in 5 hours, and I had no idea how to get from the bus station to the airport. Luckily for me, one guy in his 30s, who was on the bus with me, was going to the airport too. And he spoke Russian! He took me to the Turkish subway and together we arrived at the airport. I called my family, passed through security and was on the 11-hour flight to the Big Apple.
It’s been 3 years since my last visit to the US, and now I was going back. What an incredible feeling! My seatmate on the plane turned out to be a young Canadian girl that spoke both English and French. Thanks to her, 11 hours felt like 3. We talked, laughed and shared stories. In a blink of an eye, I was in New York, JFK.
Having no internet at the airport and being extremely tired, I didn’t take subway. It seemed too confusing. And besides, I didn’t know what train to take and what station to go to. A shuttle directly to the Hostel was a perfect and cheap option. I shared the van with a few people including an American from midwest and an old man from England exploring the US for the first time in his life. The shuttle dropped me off. I checked in, left my suitcase in the room and walked around the hostel for an hour. It was about 11 pm, so I didn’t go far. I just strolled in the streets, went to the nearest Deli, ate the best hamburger in my life, came back to the hostel and crashed in the bed. The most desirable dream that I had in 3 years finally came true – I was the USA again. In New York City. In the middle of Manhattan. What more could you wish for? Tomorrow I was going to fly to Denver, Colorado. Ahead of me was a peaceful night and a beautiful day in NYC and then – my second home, my friends and my family in the beautiful state of Colorado.