It is more than a year, since Maria and I spoke about guest blogging. She wrote about me in the Summer this year, and I…with all my engagements and stuff, managed to translate and post her piece today, the first day ( and last as it turned out) of my winter break.
It might have taken me longer than I expected, but I am glad I can give this post as a Christmas gift to you, so you can get to know an amazing Bulgarian woman, which has often served as my inspiration, and to her, as amazing as she is with everything she does. I won’t try to describe Maria for you. She is like Sofia( the way she sees her)- you have not only to see her, but to feel her, to breathe in her creative fragrance, to touch her work and overjoy looking at her images.
She cannot be simply categorized or defined.
She is unique, positive and dangerous creative power, you can only get to know by yourself.
She is simply Maria.
Here she is:
“…..Annie has invited me to be her guest blogger so long ago, that I feel uncomfortable even remembering, but I wanted to gather a collection of pictures, which will give a better understanding of how I see my favorite places in Sofia,their faces, colors, impressions, and memories.
I don’t believe I have succeeded of course, because in order to understand a city you have not only to see it, but to feel it, to smell it. I chose my pictures to show details of the city, because I believe this is how people who haven’t seen it will understand it better.
For these people, who have visited Sofia or live here, these pictures will remind them to look not only at their wrist watches, cell phone screens or the top or their shoes.
If you are sightseeing, remember- to see you always have to look up.Sofia is one of the cities you have to see.
Sofia is my city, without a doubt or a question. I have lived in the suburbs and abroad, but Sofia always calls me back. Sofia makes me breathe, in spite of the polluted air.
Sofia makes me smile, in spite that everyone around me is not smiling.Sofia makes me feel free, in spite of all the people and traffic.
I have dreamed of returning to Sofia much more than I have dreamed visiting any other place.In Sofia, the curbs of the streets are mine- I have been walking on them forever. They hold my memories, they remember my footsteps, they remember my heels breaking on them and my shoes been taken off, so my feet can feel the warmth of the street.
Sofia’s buildings know me. They have been witnesses of my life and everything that has happened to me, my happiness, my disappointment, my choices and tears.
Even if someone paints the whole city in gray, Sofia will always be full of color for me- a little indulging, in slow motion compared to the big cities, but nevertheless life in her will always flow faster than the smaller cities. In Sofia each street and place has their own smell. The smell of violets, of smoke, of grass, of ice cream, of banitsa, of hair spray, of paint, of gas.
Sofia is not Paris, Rome, London or Barcelona. She doesn’t have to be. Sofia is her own unique city and for me it is like a harbor, in which the sea suddenly went dry. Sofia always calls me when I need it the most, especially when I don’t realize it.
Sometimes I want to go back just to touch something I love, to hear words, which I know, to run through a busy street that I know.There is a lot I don’t like about Sofia, but I don’t necessary feel the city has to change right away, because Sofia has its own pace, no matter how much people want to change that.
My favorite streets are so specifically chaotic for Sofia, that there is no way you can confuse them with any other city. Sometimes these streets are narrow and cluttered, but they are still beautiful to me, reminding me of a time I was in love, kissing on the curb, or when rain has been poring over me, while my umbrella was safely tucked at home, or when someone has called me to come back, and I couldn’t hear from the noise the cars made. In Sofia you can sit in a cafe and forget that the world turns. In Sofia you can make miracles happen- you can be invited, accepted, find a safe harbor, you can open your window in the morning and see the whole city from it. You can also go skiing after work, to celebrate until 8 am and have a breakfast at noon. You can smile to someone and they can ask you “Why are you smiling?” in return.
Sofia can also be strange, unwelcoming, sharp, gray, dark and shady, yet Sofia can also be full of sunlight, fragrant, open, friendly, pink.Don’t walk through Sofia’s streets with your head down, look at the buildings, look at people’s eyes, smile at the kids, sit on the benches on the street, turn your head after the beautiful ladies that walk by, drink your coffee slowly in a bohemian chair, feel the wonder of Sofia’s quirkiness and don’t look for logic in it- sometimes there simply isn’t any logic. Sofia has to be touched and felt, and her many faces sometimes can confuse you…