Street Without a Name

Kapka Kassabova was born in Bulgaria in 1973. A remarkable woman, Kapka writes about her childhood growing up in communist Bulgaria. She begins the book by stating “I come from Sofia. I was initially happy, then at the onset of consciousness unhappy, then with the advent of adolescence wretchedly miserable, and finally, in the last throws of my domestic incarceration, convinced I was born in the wrong place and had to escape at all cost. In other words, an ordinary childhood, followed by an ordinary adolescence, followed by an ordinary emigration – more or less.” Her childhood was anything but normal by western standards, however, there were similarities.  
Like most children, Kapka faced the same dangers of early childhood developing motor skills and learning about her environment. Early in life, she nearly fell out of the 8th floor window of her family’s apartment ”trying to explore the world below”.   She celebrated birthday parties with the other kids, and delighted in her childish imagination coloring pictures of flowers and princesses with crayons. During the days she played hopscotch, cops and robbers, and other games with the kids in her neighborhood and at night watched TV with her family. In winter, she went sledding and played in the snow.
At age 4, she faced the anxiety of going to Kindergarten and learned to cope with the typical childhood challenges of school food, mandatory naps, bullies, and interpersonal conflicts.   In 1979 her sister was born and she had to adjust to sharing a room and her mother’s attention.
While in summer camp in 1979, her grandparents came and took her away on vacation. She ate vanilla ice cream and explored the villa they stayed in, imagining it was her private palace. She learned to enjoy the solitude and developed an appreciation for exotic places and things. Kapka’s adventurous spirit and imagination grew during this time forging fond memories of this period in her life.
As Kapka approached adolescence, she became more...