Today started with not so good news. When I made my first visit to Marin’s orphanage, the director had said that with my travel schedule and trying to see Marin on Friday and then get to Sofia (three hours away) to see Anelia, that it would be okay if I did not have the brief visit I was planning with Marin on Friday and instead have the last visit today, Thursday. I had worked with my attendant/translator and we had it figured out that we could do the brief visit Friday morning, get back to Veliko Tarnovo, check out of the hotel, get to the bus for a 1:30 bus to Sofia, to get to see Anelia at about 5pm for the end of the day visit.
That was before we went to the bus station (not the bus/van to the town for Marin bus station, but the coach bus to Sofia bus station) and found out that despite being told there is a 1:30 bus on Friday, there is no 1:30 bus on Friday. Plus we need to be at the bus station by noon for the 12:30 bus, so it doesn’t arrive and decide no one is going on it and keep on going to Sofia. This pushed all our other bus times back making the Friday visit pointless, so I made the decision to check with the director if Thursday’s visit could still be the last visit and rush to the town for Marin bus station so I could spend as much time as possible with him for the last visit.
When I got to the orphanage, the director was still understanding about my schedule and said she could make an exception and my visits would be considered complete at the end of Thursday.
Less time with Marin (by a little bit), but it was mostly moving the “goodbye” day up that was the hardest. I gave him a present of some knock off Legos I bought in Vileka Tarnovo, and my attendant/translator and I mostly put that together, but he did like to play with it (the instructions were maddening and we ended up improvising its construction in the end). We also played more soccer with the basketball (Marin did compliment me and say I was better at blocking his shots than on the first day) and I took pictures of him, he took pictures of the yard and of me, and he took a few pictures of himself.
We played Frisbee in the shade at the front of the orphanage when it got hot and then eventually we had to say goodbye. It was hard for him, it was hard for me. Not sure how else to express it. We went to the director’s office for the paperwork we needed, I hugged him and kissed him and told him his family would be back for him. He walked me out, hugged me again, and then went back in with the director, and I could tell his eyes were welling up with tears. It was just hard – waiting all this time only to wait some more.
Tomorrow back to Sofia and my first visit with Nellie. I learned today that she is attending a school for the blind and I am curious to see what she is working on there.