Until we meet again – goodbye from Radi


My one year in Bulgaria is going to end very soon. It has passed very fast, but at the same time, it was extremely long.

So now, looking back to it, I want to put together everything that happened with me this year, all my achievements and fiasco, all experiences and, of course, all the people whom I’ve met and who drastically have changed my life.

One year ago, on the 2nd of March 2020, I have arrived in Sofia airport and my adventure with Smokinya has begun.

I was warmly greeted in Plovdiv, an apartment full of people! I met Agita, Aleks, Kristina, Melanie, and Mei Ling. We were six people, it was incredibly loud, live, everything was so diverse, things were happening around me and I happily dived into this whirlpool of events.

And then “this thing” happened, that divided the whole world for ‘before’ and ‘after’. Previous volunteers started leaving Bulgaria very fast and already after 2 weeks, I was alone. The first week was the most challenging one, I even slept with the light turned on a couple of nights. The world got deep into uncertainty and everyone was feeling anxious.

Back then I got lot support from my friends and from the Smokinya team. Even online we continued to do everyday meetings, some tasks, and it brought some hope that better times will come again soon. Also, back then I started to do online language classes, which gave me much strong self-confidence.

Then summer came and life started to move on again. It felt like everything and everyone started to wake up after the long-long winter sleep. Events started to happen. Smokinya Foundation got a new home at Betoven street 12 in Plovdiv. And of course, adventures were calling, so I departed to discover the North-west of Bulgaria.

September always has been a special time for me. Because even now, after so many years out of school, I associate it with a new academic year, a new beginning, and also I have a Birthday in September. On the 4th of September Smokinya Foundation and Peyka Caffe officially opened their doors for visitors in Plovdiv, and autumn was a very intense time, with different ups and downs, events, and tasks. Smokinya family became bigger – we had Rosa, Christine, Kalda, Lois, and Vladan on board!

I believe that my ESC experience is very unique because of the lockdown, but even during my pandemic year in Bulgaria I have learned so many things! How to write and implement projects, Bulgarian language, and last but not least, how to celebrate my success instead of ignoring it!

I have achieved the ability to organize myself with daily routine, be flexible and adapt to different circumstances, and to become as productive as possible during my working time.

I have met many special people. Even someone very special.

Discovered new sides of Bulgaria and of myself.

Now I leave Bulgaria with much wider view about what and how to do in my life, and I don’t say ‘Farewell…’ I say ‘See You soon again, Smokinya Foundation!’

Thank You for this year!



Should you have a question, contact us: info@smokinya.com.

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Until we meet again – goodbye from Radi
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