Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Living Belarusian...

Continuing on with my reprinting letters from the time just before my Polish "Being Had" events, today I have two letters written in April 2002. The letters are about biking, my living situation and what would eventually turn out to be my choise to try and stay in Belarus. I am posting these letters to go along with the approaching 5-year anniversary of my being introduced to the most corrupt legal system of Europe on May 15th of that year.

Tue, 9 Apr 2002 04:21:52 -0700 (PDT)
A picture taken in front of the Hotel Pripyat with my Red Scwinn fixie
Well, as far as Russia (Belarus actually) is concerned, yours truly is really feelin' it here. Things with Tatyana are going well; her mom fed me breakfast this morning and I thought I was gonna cry! I am going to Minsk on the sixteenth for a writers conference, my bike is up and running again since my last trip to Warsaw (not a bad place for a bike shop!) and yesterday, I met about half of the roadies (six) who are here in Pinsk. They led me on a little 50 kilometer trek down the road and back at a reasonable pace. I say reasonable because I am still a fat old man, and regardless of the fact that the bikes these dudes have to ride were probably out of date twenty years ago, a couple of the bastards can really ride. I tried to play a little head game and run with them, but you can't talk trash if the other guy doesn't understand the language, so unfortunately, I actually had to ride, which in this case was me watching this 18 year old get very small up the road ahead of me.

But I don't quit. And why should I? So I also got the computer fixed and my new pirate discs from Warsaw are a big hit with my computer nerd friends here. my Russian is coming along a little, my heart is fine, and my...well, as far as Tatyana and me are concerned, I'm living Belarusian baby and there aint no other way to say it!

Thanks for the bike help. Let's see if all that good stuff doesn't eventually come here...

Fri, 12 Apr 2002 00:45:00 -0700 (PDT)
If we are talking about the west, the world is just not like that here. They are not communist, but they live like they are communist though without the shared wealth, so it all is pretty bad. There are huge, and I mean huge political problems here, and the system does not really allow for very much independent business. To be honest, I am doing all of the things that you say, but they must be done in a particular manor or they won't work. The government owns 80% of everything, and to work for the government (as almost everybody does), is not the answer for me. But there is a good chance to fix the bikes and do my artist trip here. As of today, I am pretty happy again. Tatyana and I made up from our fight that lasted three days, and all I can do to help is all I can do. I go to Minsk in three days, and after, life will be what it will be during what time I have. And there are things I would like to do, but you just can't come "here" like you can in the Czech Republic or in Poland and buy yourself an estate for pennies on the dollar. They just don't buy that noise here which is why they rejected their "independence" a few years ago in favor of the Russian federation. So to be here, is to be here, and all I can really do, is to make, and this is by heart and not wallet, my name and my face as for who I am.

But the weather is getting nice here. Today is clear and warm and this is making for happier then normal faces. I guess it is kind of like Minnesota, in a way. I have been noticing the high sky, so like the Midwest. And the mosquitoes. At the root, Belarusians are a cold weather people, and the perpetual preparedness is similar to the Minnesotans, though, there are no resources here to do anything like what they do there. But maybe even the messed up politics of Minnesota (Governor Jesse?) are kind of similar. But because of how cold it is, the growing season is short but exciting (in farmer's terms) because the things they grow jump out of the ground and grow huge very quickly. And the presence of green in place of the grey of that really long assed winter mixed with the inherent calmness of the Belarusians make this a really nice time of year to be here.

I don't know Bill. I talked to Irena, Tatyana's mother this morning over breakfast, and I told her I wanted to rent an apartment in Tatyana's name and pick up the bill. Tatyana has a problem with this for all of the reasons you or I could think of. And Irena likes the idea, but more for the staying together of Tati and I then the real estate. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many real problems that to even start to try to work anything out is to agree to years...and if that is the situation. I am really worried about money, just like everybody else. So I am talking to Baba and she asks me what I intend to do and all I can say to her is the only truth that there ever was said in this place for the thousand or so years that Pinsk has been in business, and for the how many thousands of years they were in business here before: my plan of action is to "zdyat c`more pagoda" (wait from the sea, the weather). It is the only way there ever was. Eto zhizn. (This is life).