Eynar Ueda, a young Mexican of Japanese descent, who has decided to spend a year as a volunteer in Plovdiv, shares with us his impressions at the beginning of his experience...


In a few days, I will have spent two and a half months in Bulgaria and, as far as I am concerned, I can already say that I have experienced some incredible things and that I have come to know some wonderful people. I'll never forget the first day I arrived. I was a little nervous not knowing what I was going to find in Bulgaria, but, at the same time, I was very excited to begin a new life here in this community, in this house.

I came hoping that I would make new friends and anxious to discover the country, the language, and, above all, to get to know the Eastern Church with its liturgical celebrations filled with mystery. At the same time, I was hoping to find myself as well.

I got off the plane in Sofia and, I don't know why because I should have expected it, I was shocked that the first people I saw at the airport were three religious, two women and one man. But it wouldn't be the last time this would happen.

After a quick visit of Sofia and participation in the feast of Saints Peter and Paul at the nunciature, I set out for the place that I would call my home in Bulgaria.

After having lived here these two months, I can say that I have begun to understand the young on whose faces can be read the pride in being Bulgarian.

The way of life in Plovdiv, very calm and without stress, has been quite an agreeable change; that's understandable when you know that the last two cities I lived in were Tokyo and Mexico City.

I had often read about the ancient Roman cities in Eastern Europe, but I never imagined that one day I would see in an ancient Roman theater a live presentation on the history of Bulgaria.

Likewise, I had often read about Communism, but for me it was like a tale, something you'd only encounter in books, a lie that someone had told me in order to make me read into the wee hours of the night. Now I know that everything I had to read in books to pass my exams is true.

I have changed a lot here. I have plenty of time to think about myself, about the feeling that I had one day of being called by God for a reason that I do not yet know, and to reflect on my future and my past.

Obviously, two months is not enough time to think about all this, but I am quite sure that things will become clear in time, because I feel I am where I should be, at the right time, with the right people, to do something interesting in my life; something wonderful will happen... I sense it but haven't grasped it fully.

I have tried to flee the Lord's call. I have sought out places where he would never find me. That was all useless because one day, without reason, in a foreign country, I found a house where I could live, an organization to know, and something great to discover.

Well, now, I understand... I can flee the Lord, yes; that would be the most masochistic thing I could do to myself. But now here

I am, lost in his immense glory. If someone had asked me before, I would have told him that this would have impossible for

me...and yet it has happened and now I understand.