Something tells me that my life is going to change pretty radically in the next few months. All the signs are there. Perhaps this is the big life lesson – the one I need to learn – the one that involves the C word – compromise.
I’m away to Bulgaria for a weeks, says I.
Whereabouts, they asked.
Bourgas, I replied.
And they made a funny face. All of them. Every person who showed any interest in where I was off to. None of them had ever been themselves, mind you, but the word was out. Apparently Bourgas ranks down there on the list of places to visit in Bulgaria. But it’s a straight flight from Dublin and a straight flight from Budapest. It has sand. It has sea. And it has sun. And that was pretty much what life was prescribing.
I arrived first. Welcome to Bourgas where the local time is 8am. I could have sworn there was a time difference. And sure enough, by the time I got to the hotel, I’d lost an hour. Our family room with balcony and sea view has neither. But it’s big and airy and has air con. I asked to see the one with the balcony and the sea view and while it had both, the balcony looked out over a busy road and the sea was actually a lake. So the first of many compromises was chalked up. There was little point in kicking up. She’d already charged my credit card and the fight just wasn’t in me. She did tell me later that the manager is going to change the room description on Booking.com to reflect the omissions.
So, five minutes from the sea, says I, looking forward to an afternoon swim. Yes, says she. By car. Another omission. And another choice. Yes, there’s a fine 20 minute walk to the beach but the walk is through a park. You give, you get. Not quite what I’d envisaged. So much for sipping my preprandial cocktail while contemplating the calm of the Black Sea from the balcony. Or walking through the French doors out on to the golden sand. Or coming in from the sea and popping straight into a cold shower. So much for expectations.
But then, in fairness, I hadn’t done my homework. I’d booked a hotel that had decent ratings and didn’t cost the earth. I believed the descriptions as I’d no reason not to, but I never went to Google Earth. I didn’t check the local neighbourhood. I didn’t figure out times and distances. I left it to chance. And chance is what I’m dealing with. And within that chance, there’s an element of blind discovery.
On my way through the park yesterday afternoon, I came across a show jumping competition. The lads, rigged out in their finery, popping over fences to a decent-sized crowd. Not quite the classy event I’d have expected of the Bourgas everyone but me seemed to be familiar with. And then I stumbled on a sand-sculpture exhibition by artists from Holland, Australia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, and Russia – all of Africa and its animals. Amazing.
The next week should be interesting. About compromise. My cousin, an ardent Kilkenny fan, wants to watch the match today. Me? I wouldn’t lose any sleep if I missed it. But compromise – that’s what I need to learn. And I’m grateful that I’m being broken in gently. And I’m grateful that life, in all its wonder, continues to afford me opportunities to grow.