Tuesday, March 16, 2004


And yet, even as things change, still the can always be moments of hope.

I got a letter from Tatiana Menaker yesterday. It was group letter to some supporters, and it outlined the evidence against her. I thought it looked a lot like the stuff I have blogged up about my own case. I want to print that letter here, but she had said that the letters were not for publication, so I wrote her and asked her if I could blog it. I got two letters from her today. Both had something to do with signing her petition that she is sending around, and one of them had something like a personal note attached to it.

Now, I want to print here evidences and papers here. Hell, I love the idea of people who make there court documents public. Really I do. I mean what other recourses do we have against the legal system? I mean in Poland… well, I am not going to get into that. But I have not as of yet received permission to print any of this stuff! And the petition came along with some really good words about freedom of speech too! So as soon as she lets me, I will print what she sent me and you all can see and read for yourself what has been going on with her.


I know I have been sounding a little defeatist over the last while. And I think that I have had good cause. But still, I think in the end when all is said and done, the choice that we all have to make is really quite simple: To be or not to be. I know there are a multitude of variations on the theme, but the truth is you either live or you don’t

The last few days have been really very, very odd and difficult to negotiate. The end of my visa and the decisions that need to be made regarding how and where I will live have been very, very trying for Tatyana and myself. There are a lot of emotions at play, and there is no clear cut and absolute right and wrong in any of this. And this is the problem. You know you have to o something, but you don’t know exactly what that thing should be. For myself, I try not to be too emotional about things. Though you feelings can seem to make things that are not so decisive more concrete, in the end, you more often then not end up with less than if you had planned wisely. So this is an axiom for me.

For me here, it is all emotional. It was an emotional choice when I came; everything I have done here has been based upon heart far more than it has been about any rational choices; so this does muddy the waters a little.

So yesterday was an interesting day. For all intents and purposes, it was going to be my penultimate day here in Pinsk for a long time. It started out with a bike ride with Egor around some of the local streets. Egor has just learned how to ride a bike, and we took a bike from the bike school for the weekend to practice with. After that I hung around with Tatyana, who had the day off. Watched some TV, ate a lot- a nice day but nothing special. And then in the afternoon, I went with Egor by bike to the sport school. This ride was actually kind of a right of passage for Egor because he had to make this ride in traffic all the way across the town. It was as much a demonstration of skill and a way of proving his abilities to handle a bike as it was redelivering the bike back to the school. But he did it, and in a more than satisfactory way. And for myself, I felt it to be one of those classic moments that tells you that you have indeed done something worthwhile with your time.

Malodets Egor, Malodets!

Butupon arrival, I found that both Kolia and Sergie had come through for me yesterday. I mentioned here how I had had a reversal of some plans I had made, and that this was one of the reasons I might be at the end of my stay. But yesterday, both of my friends came up with things that are very good and solid potential replacements. Nothing in stone mind you, but a chance to do something worthwhile. All very good and interesting news.

And I’ve got to tell you this about Belarusians: They do come through for you in the end. Oh I know I bitch sometimes about all of the talking and such, but I really should say that over the last two years, both when I was in Poland and when I was here, it was Belarus that has come through with the opportunities far more than it has been the Americans- and certainly far, far, far more than the Polaks did.

At any rate, this had made today an even more interesting one than I thought it was going to be. I am still preparing for an exit, but now we also have two appointments today and either one of those might just fit the bill for what we were looking for. No, it is not any 100% solution to anybody’s problems, but it is something, and it will help.

So there you go. Just another day in the life.

So just a few minutes ago, Tanya and I were standing near the window of the internet talking about things. Outside the window the streets are wet and slushy. There are just the first few buds on the branches of the trees, and if you squint your eyes a little, you can guess that spring will be here soon. And I said to her that there are any number of philosophies under which one can live their lives. But for me, perhaps simply said that it is a road from where I am now to where I am going. And getting to where I wan to go should be as interesting as when we get there. Yea, this is bike shit. All of this is bike shit in the end. But it is also a pretty good way to look at things.

Let’s put a bike shop in here and see how it works. Let’s see what a little sport and games does to the local mood. And what the hell; while we are at it, why not throw in some new art and theatre and see what new ideas does to the place. Spring time will help, but perhaps a little life in the life will help as well.

I know that is what I was thinking when I got here. I still don’t see how I’m wrong. And I guess I am not done yet.

But then again, there is always this: Greenhouse