Archive for March, 2013

Farewell For Now, Poland

March 21, 2013

Editor’s note: This post is a tardy, half-baked one I wrote upon returning from Poland this winter. Maybe sometime I’ll write more about the whole experience. Initially penned on Dec. 14th, 2012

Here I sit for the first time in 3 years in front of my family’s Christmas tree. I am listening to Bing Crosby instead of watching the news coverage of the Connecticut shooting.

The last few days were a total blur, again. I keep deciding to move out of apartments and do trans-Atlantic journeys all in the same day. I’ve got to stop that. It’s stressful. But there is some masochistic part of me that enjoys it as well – why not do two painful things at the same time? One moment I was telling the smelly guy in the Poznań train station that I don’t have money for him and the next I was walking by the guy ringing the bell outside a restaurant in Bloomington, effectively doing the same thing.

There was the transition from uncomfortable bliss of not understanding those around me to the reluctant acceptance that I do have to listen to the two guys behind me in the plane go through the whole “Hey, I don’t know you, but we’re sitting near each other so let’s have an awkward conversation where we compare the Christmas markets in different German towns to sound interesting.”

It’s a transition, but this time a short and quick one. In many ways it feels like I just left, even though when I was walking through the cold in Poland I would have argued otherwise. There’s more to think about now. You need to find a job. Get your life back on track again. Sort out the immigration stuff. Figure out those medical bills that you couldn’t fight from abroad. Get a SIM card. Move again. Try to find normalcy after a two and a half year absence.

The thoughts of the journey home are already dissipating, so let me capture the main points. Here are my thoughts along the trip, triple cold filtered to bring you only the most pertinent:

  • I hope this is the right train
  • It is uncomfortably hot in this train. I am expiring at a rapid rate at the beginning of my trip.
  • This muesli and yogurt combo is amazing (Lufthansa)
  • Wow, he’s counting the time between stamps? Germans don’t mess around. Glad I didn’t try anything fishy.
  • I feel like a terrorist trying to board this Chicago-bound plane (thanks, America)
  • Why is there no free alcohol? What European wants to pay $6 for a crappy American beer? (United)
  • I feel like a terrorist again (customs form onboard the plane)
  • Yet again I must be a terrorist (deplaning and passport check in the little plane docking tunnel thing)
  • Surely we are all terrorists (standing in line for 30 minutes with OTHER U.S. CITIZENS JUST TRYING TO GET BACK INTO OUR COUNTRY)
  • ARRRRGHGHG (having a homemade gift to my family thrown away by an asshole customs guy)

I can’t imagine what a bad taste our deplaning process leaves in the mouth of any visiting tourist.  I understand it’s a necessary evil in this age of terrorism, but it even left a bad taste in my mouth (as a non-terrorist).

This Blog is Still Kicking

March 19, 2013

Contrary to what you may have thought, I haven’t completely given up here. It’s just that, well, I don’t really know what to do with it.

As soon as Peace Corps ended and I went to Poland the scope of the blog expanded and changed. It got ambiguous. And for some reason I didn’t mind sharing every detail of my life and thoughts while serving, but now that I’m doing other stuff that doesn’t sound so appealing.

Part of it is privacy. The other thing is that I am rarely inspired to write these days.

Still, the urge to write smolders. Besides that, there was the sweet, sweet connection with the readers of the blog. There weren’t many of you, but your readership meant a lot to me. I found that the blog was a good way to nurture friendships even from afar.

Some volunteers wrapped up their blogs so nicely and set them aside as if they were putting them in storage along with that -20 degree sleeping bag they’ll never use again. Sometimes I wish I did that too, but I just couldn’t. Mine took an abrupt Polish turn and has since gone quiet.

It’s awkward. But I have a lot of experience with awkward. Sometimes you just need to embrace awkward.

Here are some things I may occasionally write about here if the fancy strikes:

  • Armenia (duh) – My interest in the geopolitical affairs of the little Soviet Republic that Could will fester for a long time
  • Peace Corps – I still have some homies in the corps you know
  • The Journey – Going from A-18 PCV to RPCV to the great uncle who served in Algeria I think
  • Language Learning – Because if you’re not learning then you’re forgetting something
  • Poland – For obvious reasons
  • Other Random Life Interests – Stuff I think is worth sharing with anyone who still comes here
  • So this blog ain’t dead. I don’t know where it’s going exactly, but it’s going to go there.

    What do you think about the ambiguity? Your comments are the bellows to my fire.