Posted by: Mark Wollemann: On the move | March 23, 2012

Wow, that was fast.

The road to Rila.

It’s been almost a month since I’ve written and I don’t know where to begin. Since late February, we have traveled to Zagreb, Ljubljana, Sofia and Thessaloniki. We are planning a quick trip to Plovdiv tomorrow. We are plowing through a spring semester that seems to be picking up speed as we head for the finish line. And I’m back on my bike for the first time since late December — SPRING!!!!

There is still snow on the mountaintops, which stand in stark contrast to the wet, muddy, freshly plowed fields that almost seem to be basking in the first warm rays of sunshine this year. We’re also seeing a few plants blossoming and a few trees starting to bud. And there are flowers everywhere — including on our balcony. Tulips that Melody bought in Amsterdam this winter, and a few geraniums that she picked up this week to add some color to the still-drab surroundings (come on, green!!).

Melody had an interesting post earlier this week about friends. Take a look, if you missed it.

I haven’t felt the same friend-void as Melody. For one, I’ve got my No. 1 pal to hang out with. So I’m lucky that way. I’ve also been so fascinated with the whole experience of living here, trying teaching on for size and doing this mountain biking thing that I just haven’t really noticed the friend void as much. That and I’m probably — well, more than probably — more of a loner than my darling bride.

I’ll say this, though: She’s become the Pied-Piper of AUBG this year. She has taken kids to film festivals in Macedonia, Greece and last weekend in Sofia. It’s been a treat to watch up close — and to get to know these special kids a different way. They’re great in the classroom and they work hard and care about getting better as writers and reporters (that’s my experience with them). But you really get to know them until you travel with them a bit, get to see them out of the school environment, sharing dinner and conversation and laughs. That’s been super special and it absolutely wouldn’t have happened if Melody wasn’t, as my good friend John Moore called her years ago, a “force of nature.” She makes things happen.

I guess that’s why we’re a good match: I let things happen. She makes things happen.

I’ll jump in here a little more often — now that the sun is back and I’m feeling reborn. Winter. Did not like it. Do not like it. Will never like it. Give me spring, summer and fall … all day long.

The snow won't be up there for long.



  1. spring here too. hope the wild dogs leave you alone.

  2. Spring is surely here too! Chairs out on the deck… March, in Northern Wisconsin! Unheard of. But the snow shovels are standing ready next to the front door. We’ve applied tick repellant on the dog after picking some wood ticks off. But no mosquitoes and that is a good thing. Happy that you are back riding and writing. Nice article in the StarTribune.

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