On Sunday the phone in our hotel room rang. It was a woman named Tonya. Tonya lived in Sofia and explained to me that she had been following our journey since the beginning when we brought Archie home. She was so nice and it was really such a breath of fresh air just to talk to her. She wanted to meet us and do something nice for us so we planned to meet in the hotel lobby the next night.
Still to come: The Real Part 2
Lots of Love!
I was pretty excited for some adult interaction, especially with someone who spoke English. When we got off the elevator and walked into our hotel lobby Monday evening, we saw Tonya standing there, flowers in hand, and we had a big group hug. We chatted for a bit and then decided to head out to dinner. She took us on a little tour of the city on the way. It was really cool to see parts of Sofia I hadn't ever seen and to learn some history. We ended up at this giant mall where she told us we were going to be eating at a restaurant called "Happy". Ace was so pumped because we had always seen the huge "Happy" billboard when driving in and out of the city. She always wanted to find it and go, but I was slightly apprehensive that it might be an adults only type of venue. So I was thrilled to find out it was just a restaurant.
Before heading to dinner, we adventured around the mall, hit up the toy stores (obvi). But the best part was finding this giant hanging butterfly art installation. As soon as I saw it I got a lump in my throat. After my brother died, my mom told me that whenever she sees a butterfly, she knows it's Corby reminding her that he's still there. So naturally, for the last almost ten years, I have done the same thing. And the butterflies always appear when I need them most. I needed to know that he was there. That he saw me and that he was proud of me. And so he sent hundreds of butterflies to make sure I got the message loud and clear.
We finally got to Happy and had the best dinner ever! I think Tonya ordered one of everything off the appetizer menu. She wanted us to try it all. And oh my goodness it was amazing. Sevy was (inevitably) overwhelmed. She was incredibly giddy and excited. I had to really watch her closely because she was stuffing food in her mouth as fast as she could and hoarding as much as she could onto her plate so that we couldn't get it. It made me so sad. It also brought me back to the days when Archie was first home and did the exact same thing.
My little foodie, Ace, was in heaven. Never thought she would get to enjoy sushi in Bulgaria. She was so happy. Tonya and I talked about any and everything. It was like talking to an old friend. It can be really hard to go out anywhere in Bulgaria with a child with special needs because they are simply not accepted in their society. So it was really nice to have someone with us, who was from Bulgaria, who had our back. Made me feel very secure.
Sevy gave me some major attitude when it was time to go. This was the beginning of the arms crossed, glare as hard as she can thing she does. Quite regularly.
But as soon as she saw I was taking her picture.....This:
SUCH. A. HAM
Tonya dropped us back off at our hotel where we said our goodbyes. As we headed back up to our room I thought, "I wanna be more like Tonya." What an awesome person. She didn't have to do any of that. She went out of her way to give us such a special night. Brought us flowers, treated us to dinner. Nothing to gain. Just a woman who wanted to love and support us in what she knew was a crazy time. She told me many times how thankful she was for us. And we are so incredibly thankful for her.
Lots of Love!