Keeping Cool

“This is the heaviest snow we’ve had all year! In fact, it’s the heaviest we’ve had in years!”

snowyWe’ve come to Sofia, Bulgaria, for our spring break in early March. It has been snowing off and on since we arrived. Everyone here has commented on the snow and telling us how unusual it is. They’ve been apologizing for the foul weather.

It’s weird: just last week, Bulgaria celebrated Baba Marta, the beginning-of-spring celebration centered around “Grandma March” who ends winter and brings spring. People are wearing martenitsi, red and white string bracelets or brooches, which are celebrations of the start of spring. (You take them off when you see the first stork.) The weather was warm(ish) and sunny. Tulips were starting to come out.

But then the snow came down. And is coming down. The sidewalks are covered with slush. The skies are grey. Vitosha Mountain is shrouded in clouds.

sleddingWe’re having a great time! The cold and wet weather makes for a terrific break from the hot, dry climate of Addis Ababa. Nadia has been sledding in many city parks. The falling snow puts a hush over the city and softens the urban jangle. It has made our Spring Break a real excursion into something different.

It’s funny how people apologize for their “bad” weather when you’re visiting. I guess they’ve had months of winter and they’re ready for something different. They also know that inclement weather doesn’t show off their home well (the light is awful for photographs). Some people, I presume, will let less-than-perfect weather spoil a holiday.

But we don’t travel for the perfect weather. We travel for the experience. And an experience that is without hiccups or blemishes or obstacles is one that is far less memorable. It’s the challenges that make the enjoyable parts stand out more – if something comes too easily, it loses some value.

So we enjoy the snow, and put up with the frozen fingers, the slush-splashed ankles, the darkened skies. Because it’s a richer experience and one that will be more memorable.



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