In 1964, my father fled communist Bulgaria to Ethiopia and later to Canada. In 1989 when the USSR dissolved and the Iron Curtain crashed to the ground, my father was able to return to his homeland. And he did just that. He built a sanctuary in a town, not far from his childhood city. There he spent much of my childhood. While I've no meaningful connection to the place, i've always wondered what that life looked like.

In 2015, this curiosity drove me to investigate. I followed him to Bulgaria, joined him during outings with friends and family I had never before known, stayed at his house in a village in the Rodopi mountains, and tried to understand this place where the melancholy is as tenacious as the draw to return to it.

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