Posted by: Mark Wollemann: On the move | May 14, 2012

The next time you see me …

Many, many fascinating trips this year, including to the mineral baths in Budapest.

… might be in Chicago … or Wisconsin … or Minnesota … or somewhere along the East Coast of the U.S. … or Denver … or Iowa … or, next fall right back here in Blagoevgrad.

Or maybe in Estonia. Or Finland. Or Slovakia again. Or Zagreb,  Skopje or Thessaloniki. Maybe somewhere else in the Balkans? Who knows. But we’ll be back in the fall and we’ll be “on the move” again, that is a guarantee.

So as we put the finishing touches on our first year in Blagoevgrad (and get ready for our flight first thing tomorrow morning), I just wanted to throw out a blanket thank you to so many of you — for reading, for responding positively to the blog. Thank you for making this a worthwhile little side trip of the mind.

Thanks, too, to our daughter, Jenna, and to our friends and families back home for being so in touch and so supportive and so enthusiastic about this year abroad (and the years ahead, too).

We were lucky so many dear friends helped us when we were frantically packing up our house in the fall (Trish Pearson, of course, was AMAZING!! — and Jerry Zgoda for that selfless trip to the hazardous waste recycling place when I was running out of time to get everything done on our last day in Minnesota last August).

My folks, Paul and Sylvia Wollemann, were awesome in clearing a spot in the big garage for our car (so we could come home and do a big road trip this summer!). Jenna, the light of our life, took the news that her parents were abandoning her with good humor (and came to visit us TWICE in Bulgaria). Our friends, Dan Bruggeman and Mary Rothchild, sorted through our mail and helped us pay bills and keep our financial affairs in order back in Minnesota. THANK YOU!

There were many more people who helped along the way, providing supportive vibes and warm wishes, at the very least. My newspaper, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, was generous in providing a leave of absence that allowed me to “try this on for size.” I’ll miss my former colleagues, but maybe I can entice a few to come visit. I can promise we’ll be good hosts and tour guides!

And, yeah, thanks to the students. This was a year in which I hope I taught you something while you were teaching me about yourselves, your traditions, your lives. It’s been an honor to be able to share in a small part of your growth and future success.

It’s been a trip — a tremendous one. If next year is anything like this year, well, I’ll settle for that.

Jenna during her guest-lecturer visit on April 4.


  1. Hope we can connect while you’re here!

  2. I hope to have the pleasure of seeing you while you’re in Minnesota — and I very much look forward to tagging along as your adventure continues. Happy homecoming!

  3. Chicago weather is going to beautiful this week – just in time for your arrival! See you tomorrow!

  4. Have a great summer! I am really happy you’ve become a part of AUBG.

  5. Nice! Great to have you stay in touch via the blog, Mark!

  6. Well, now you’ve landed in Chicago, gotten to Wisconsin, saw your parents, brother and his family, cousins, uncle and aunt, picked up your car, headed to Minnesota, taken care of business there, back to Wisconsin and now on the road AGAIN. What a whilrlwind. See you back in Wisconsin after your “vacation”. Happy travels to you both.

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