Can you imagine not seeing your father for 23 years? I was 18 when I last waved goodbye to my dad. My relationship with him as a child was inspiring and full of samurai advice and adventures in Vitosha mountain - right on the outskirts of my hometown Sofia. When I emigrated in ‘95 I didn’t see my mom for nine years. Year after year she made the fated journey to the US embassy, year after year she wa denied a visa. Can you imagine a mother’s longing and pain? When I saw her come down the stairs at the US customs I was taken aback by how much she had aged. I didn’t recognise her face and had to look away ashamed of my feelings. (Skype was a rarity and she never liked her picture being taken.) Likewise, when I took my dad in the mountain this summer I had to turn away in tears several times. Last time we hiked together he was a little older than me. Robust and agile. Today, he was walking with a cane. As we descended back the slopes night befell us. I gave him my headlamp and held his hand as he felt his way down. Our reunion was a ritual orchestrated by this great mountain I love so much! Yesterday was Bulgaria’s national holiday - the Unification. It is my wish for any emigrant of any nationality to be reunited with their loved ones sooner than later.

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