When I first met Tiago at the end of the summer, I was immediately drawn by this Brazilian’s high energy levels, though it took me a while to find out how far they really stretched. The man is a machine: in addition to the official reason he came to Sofia – to teach Spanish to high school kids in the crazy suburb of Luylin (which he endearingly calls Luylin de Janeiro), Tiago plays the guitar, the drums and the pandeiro (Brazilian tambourine) – in parks, in bars and in concerts, sings and dances like there’s no tomorrow, speaks in a crazy mixture of Spanish, Portuguese, French and Bulgarian, makes a mean mojito and seems to know more people in Sofia from the six months he spent here than some who’ve lived here their whole lives.
Tiago’s fans range from one-year-olds mesmerized by his guitar-playing on the street, through high school girls who gush at the mere thought of him, his drum-circle friends and Sofia’s hipsters drawn by his South American spirit, to ladies from our parents’ generation smitten by his charming ways. Oh, and, of course, me (hi, Tiago!).
Among all the teaching and the playing and the charming, he even managed to take a couple of pictures for this blog. The top one is an apple frozen in a puddle. The one below is from Bulgaria’s most famous archaeological site – the ancient Thracian city of Perperikon (you can read more about it here, in a story I wrote a few years ago).
I was sad to see Tiago leave Sofia to go back to Spain and I’m going to miss his contagious energy and his unending enthusiasm. But most of all, I’ll miss his ability to have a good time in any situation, which made him an ideal sidekick for running around night-time Sofia and making the best out of all the unpredictable situations it presented. I’m sure he’ll find his way back before too long and that, in the meantime, he’ll have plenty of interesting and exciting grounds beneath his itchy feet.