So, as most of you know, I am a Sudoku puzzle addict. (Don’t know what Sudoku is? Click here.) When I say addict, I mean ADDICT. I MUST do at least one or two puzzles a day or I just don’t feel like myself. I find that doing math puzzles relaxes me, especially in intense situations, you know, like moving to a new country…Hey, you Crossword fanatics are just as bad!

Well, during all of our plane shifting and running, I managed to lose not one, but TWO pencils. The only two I had, in fact. And as any mathematician will tell you, it is impossible to complete a math puzzle in pen. I mean, what if I make a mistake??? No problem, I thought. Surely they have pencils in Sofia. I mean, it’s not like it’s another planet or something.

So, after we moved into the flat and got a little more comfortable, I was desperate to get back to my Sudoku ways. I began my quest for a pencil. For days, I walked the streets, looking for a store that looked like it might sell pencils. But to no avail. I vaguely remembered seeing a sign that said Office Superstore. Now surely, they must sell pencils. Clearly, offices need pencils. If I could only remember where that store was. So, everyday, on the way to the office, I would force Mark to walk a few side streets with me in search of the mysterious Office Superstore. We never found it.

On the third day, I could wait no longer. I had to do a puzzle. So I did the unthinkable. I did it in pen, complete with scratch marks and scribbles. Unacceptable. I would continue my search. Or, dare I say it, ask for help. So I did. I asked Niki:

“Hey, Niki, are there any pencils in Sofia?”
“Of course”, he replied. “I have some in the office. Do you want one?”
“It’s because she can’t live without her dumb Sudoku puzzles”, Mark chimed in. Who asked him, anyways???
“Sure, I’ll take one”, I responded.
“Ahh, but the real question is where to get them. You need to know where things are”, Niki said.
“Well, yes, I would prefer to know where to get them”, I said.

So, Niki walked me to a computer store. A computer store? Weird, I thought. All I saw were computers. But alas, there was a downstairs. A beautiful, glorious shiny downstairs complete with every imaginable office supply! Imagine my delight. I mean, I am a teacher. And as everyone knows, teachers have a bizarre love for all things office-y. It felt like home. I just wanted to bring my blanket and pillow, curl up and snuggle in the aisles of the office store. Ahhhhh.

So, I bought a pencil, and some Post-Its in pretty pink and orange for good measure. I mean what’s a teacher without Post-Its???? I went home and began my flurry of Sudoku solving, and magically, much of the stress of moving disappeared. Never underestimate the power of a pencil!!!

By the way, guess what I found yesterday?? You guessed it! The Office Superstore!! But no matter, I’m in love with the computer store.

My shiny, new pencil and sticky notes: