Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Future

Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand-
                                                                               - and melting like a snowflake.

                                                                                                                                                 Marie Beyon Ray

When I titled this blog "8 Months in Ukraine" the idea of eight months seemed like a very long time. Now it's already month six, soon to be seven, and I feel like these months have just been a warm up, like I'm just beginning to open my eyes underwater and make out the shapes that surround me.
Eight months?- I've never made it this long before in a foreign land. And before I always felt ready to move on, find something new and superficial. In that sense it appears these six months have been a success. After so many moves in Alaska it's pleasant to want to stay somewhere.

I think D feels the same way. I'm not sure he would judge his time here a success (not yet) but we've both been happy being in Kharkov. It's allowed us to do more than survive- it has allowed us to appreciate life, each other, and ourselves. It means than we analyze things a little more than usual, maybe because it's in a strange language or done in another way, and that we react slower, more consciously, more thoughtfully. A lot of my friends have found happiness (or at least contentedness) in their post-uni lives by following the traditional path in some order- job, marriage, own house, kids- but those things never drew me as strongly as the lure of this. (No, I don't know exactly what "this" is.) It was like I lived near a river but could hear an ocean somewhere, calling, and I was desperate to get there. Anyways, my birthday is coming up and it's a reminder that the stakes are serious now. I'm not 30 yet but eventually I will be and 30 seems like a nice even number, a good point to stop, look around, evaluate the situation, decide that all is well or decide to adjust course. I want to have something to look at when I get there, to 30, which means starting now. Which brings us to the heart of this entry, the eternal Stay or Go riddle?

It we leave now it'll feel like starting over again, like we'll lose anything we gained here, any headway we've made. I feel too tired to go to a new country (no energy for the language and culture now) and not ready to resettle somewhere on the dream list (like Arizona, New Mexico, or California). Some days life doesn't seem particularly promising- we're not (yet) highly-sought-after expats fielding job offers overseas, rather just me going to work, teaching, coming home and D, working on projects. Just regular old life most days. I'm a master at the English bubble- why practice Russian if I can get out of it?- yet I'm still thrilled to at least be here and know that it's possible that I could go make xerox copies by myself instead of dragging along D to specify color and resolution. On the overall satisfaction scale I'd rate life as a 97% (3% being lack of rainboots and umbrella because I'm too lazy to buy them, occasional toothache of a class, not-too-occasional making a fool of myself). Ah, long story short, we want to stay. It haven't come out definitely yet, instead we've been flirting with it but the idea interests us both. The decision has to be made soon if I want to extend my work contract.


  1. I want you and Denis stay here as long as possible!

  2. Oh, the eternal question - should I stay or should I go? Much luck in your decision. :)

  3. I am kind of surprised with your hesitations, but again, it's up to you to decide. Wish you good luck, guys!

  4. Living in Ukraine can be very disappointing (to say the least), so a robust backup plan is a must.