My journey through writing my first book & script, breaking into Product Management, learning more about the start-up world, running marathons, finding new cool projects to play around with, and everything under the sun worth telling a story about.
The vessel was waiting at Reykjavík’s Old Harbor. Around 21:15, we set out into Faxafló in search of the Aurora Borealis. The Harpa and Hallgrímskirkja shrunk behind us. Bellatrix, the 3rd brightest star in the constellation of Orion, and Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, were guiding us along the way.
We were out on the outdoor decks, in protective overalls to stave off the cold, surveying the sky for the nature’s own fireworks. It was a full Moon, with a clear, dark sky. In the middle of a pitch-black bay, it was a matter of waiting for the cosmic show to begin. We were patiently waiting on the decks for about 30 minutes, everyone was silent.
“Georgi, look to your left,” Kirsten marveled.
“Ahh! I see a green arch,” I said.
Wisps of green were twirling across the Icelandic night sky in a turbulent chaotic flow. We were all silent again, mesmerized by this natural phenomenon. The aurora show had begun. The Northern Lights were dancing in the sky in green and purple colors. They even had a rhythm to it. They had a color scheme. I was in a complete awe.
It was a jaw-dropping, surreal experience. Seeing the Aurora Borealis in Iceland was so thrilling. Hard to paint a picture of this overwhelming experience. It’s a must-see.
I met Genadiy at the Little Red Riding Hood kindergarten in my hometown of Septemvri, Bulgaria at the age of five. Right off the bat, we were up for shenanigans. He was such a visionary. The kids in our class called him the “commander.”
We shared a desk all through elementary school. I call the “commander” one of my best friends today. We continue the shenanigans, despite the distance between us.
14 years after we had met, he was with me at Sofia Airport, Terminal 2 Departures. It was 5:30 AM on 18 August 2009. While it would have been easier to stay in Bulgaria, I was at the airport ready to embark on my journey to America; a journey where I was going to encounter all kinds of thorns.
There we were Genadiy and I, waiting in the departures lounge, when he opened the plastic bag he was carrying and handed me a book. It was The Last Don, a novel by Mario Puzo. It was a gift for me. I would later lean on this book for support. But more about that later. Even the smallest piece of paper written in Cyrillic was valuable when I was far away from home and family.
I finished my 12th term at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and was staying in Worcester for the holidays. I was working on campus during the winter break. I was about 7, 415 km (4,607 miles) away from home. It was my second Christmas in Massachusetts. Second of the seven Christmases my seat at the table was going to be empty. Long conversations on Skype seeing my family on my laptop screen was the closest I could get to celebrating the holidays.
I was by myself in the apartment. My roommates had left to be with their families. Dover Street was dark and deserted. Weather was cold and windy. It was raining. It had snowed on the 23 December 2010.
It was 5 P.M. on 26 December when my cell phone rang. My English as a Second Language (ESL) professor had arrived. She was picking me up to spend the second day of Christmas with her family. It was one of the many random acts of kindnesses I experienced during the four years I spent at WPI.