|I don’t know what people from Varna call themselves (“people” probably), but I like to make up terms: “Varnians” would please C.S. Lewis, and “Varnese” would make Italians feel at home. And for the Americans in the audience, um… “I’m from Varna. Heh heh.” I obsess mildly about such appellations because I’ve been here 16 days, with two more days left before the last, intense period of the summer begins. So I’ve been living here, in a way, adopting routines, eating, drinking, washing clothes, going to the beach. It’s not like I’m paying taxes or anything, but then a lot of Bulgarians don’t do that, either.
I’ll be happy when this so-called vacation ends; it’s been exhausting. Amongst activities such as non-stop cappuccino swilling and barber-pole swivelling I’ve been enduring three work-outs a day at the local fitness club. One buys a number of gym visits here, as opposed to monthly or yearly memberships; I purchased 16, to be used within 45 days. I would have used them all consecutively except I needed to stretch it out to the end of my stay here, so I took a day off after 8 workouts. And worried about it the whole day. They’re getting sick of seeing me, but they’re nice about it.
That’s what I do with vacations; I undertake self-improvement. Oh, of course I relax; I’ve tossed and turned at the beach five times, tanning my pale Irish hide and breaking up the monotony with periodic manic swims in the still-cold Black Sea.
And Varna is a happenin’ town in the summer; there is a huge, very old summer music festival and lots of theatre and opera. I saw Rigoletto the other night, although whenever I look at the title in Cyrillic I think I’ll be seeing the version that starred Miss Piggy: Ρиголето.
There’s been a little bit of work to do, as well—writing the creative template for Ghost Mountain, the next project I go on to; writing the script for Identity Theft, the project I go to after that; and doing the design concept for Jacques and His Master, which I direct at Acadia directly after Identity Theft. Add a drama that unfolded in Africa with the AUCC internship, and mandatory logistics for the rest of my travels this year—yes, I have already purchased European flight tickets for September, and my Toronto flight ticket for Christmas—and it becomes clear that my concept of vacation probably needs some tweaking.
But hey, the beach culture here is, shall we say, relaxed about clothing standards, and Primorski Park, where my little hotel is nestled, is as unkempt and beautiful as ever. A good dinner will set one back about 5 Euros, and there are a lot of good dinners to be had.
But I’m charged and ready. Got the obligatory haircut, got the base tan, crossed my eyes and dotted my Ts. Time to put creation in action.