Thursday, April 10, 2003

Well… I think that they call this place: Belarus!

Got in last night at about 1:00 am and Tatyana was waiting for me… had no problem crossing the polish border and, I got my passport stamped which means all of my Polish visa problems are done. Only had one moment of worry ande thids was at the Belorussian side of the border. But this was only because the border guard wanted to know if I spoke Russian or not. I do. In fact, I apparently speak pretty well and this morning had a long talk with Victor, Tatyana’s father, who is not feeling well at the moment with a kidney ailment that is leaving him quite tired, and with Tatyana's mom who is, like always, is as solid as can be though she is quite worried at the moment as is everybody.

Pinsk seems bustling, which is a good thing. There was a snow recently and the weather is somewhat cold, but not too bad. But it is good to be here again. People seem a little off but it is not too bad. I have not yet figured out what the mood is (I am trying not to blame myself)

But the best moment was on the train and the bus about one minute after we crossed the border. Everything was as Poland until we actually hit Belarussian soil, and at that minute, everybody on the bus relaxed, and became friendlier, sort of like a family. On the train it was exactly the same, just as I remembered. And, equipped with my more then workable Russian, we all talked politics and history, economics and culture… we talked about the war in Iraq, which no one thought of as a worthwhile thing (though a good theory as to why was that it was because we went into Afghanistan, which is a money trap (ask any Russian) and so now we need the Iraqi oil as compensation).

In a way, it feels as though I have been gone only a few days and the whole of the last year is only a dream (nightmare) for me. But then again, this place seems surreal and the rest of my life was maybe more to the point. I really don't know, but I suppose I will find out again in the next few days and weeks.

But at any rate, I am here again, and though the mood is not necessarily festive, I am here and I have hopes that all will be ok...

So, I just thought I would sent along this note saying what is up, and that I am here, and all is… well, as they say here, with great stoicism: Budish bete xorosho. (Things will get better.)

From here and not there,


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