If home is where the heart is, then we’re all just f*cked, Fall Out Boy claimed in their bittersweet hit “27” back in 2008, which is just about as long as I’ve been wondering — what really is home and how do I find mine?
I was born in the tiny town of Botevgrad, Bulgaria 24 years ago, but living there never felt right. I used to read books and daydream about exotic places before home computers and the Internet became available in the average Eastern European household. Once I got my hands on a PC, there was no stopping me. I Googled New York and Paris tirelessly, imagining what it would feel like to live in a cosmopolitan city surrounded by an international crowd, as opposed to feeling stuck in the boring old town of 20,000 where any given neighbor could draw my family tree in a blink of an eye. When I was about 13-years-old, I would constantly ask my parents to take me for a ride to the next town over, just so I could get a rush when passing the “now leaving Botevgrad” sign. Thankfully, apart from all the daydreaming, I had been taking English lessons and when I was finally old enough, I applied to every student exchange program I possibly could. It wasn’t easy, but I won my own scholarship and three months later was on a plane to Boston. It was my first solo trip ever, at the age of sixteen, and I was more determined than ever to discover what was out there.