Friday, November 16, 2007

Working hard/hardly working...

Good morning. Been a while I know. Have not been blogging this week but rather paying some attention to different areas of my life. Sorry about that but, you know, it was nessasary.

I am not complaining but sometimes blogging can get on your nerves especially when you do it like I do. I mean by this of course that trying to make a single, cohesive point while at the same time trying to hold to a stylistic and topical format can be a lot of work especially on a regular basis. I try to be good about it and I am not complaining, but after a while you notice that they don't seem to want to pay very much for this work or even to recognize the original premise (The Polish Corruption thing). So this means that making the blog gets filed under the heading of making a cultural contribution. Again, I am not complaining, but you know- it is what it is.

I suppose I had more grandiose ideas originally in terms of what I wanted from blogging. Probably it was more about recieving justice than attention. But in any case I did want a bit more than I got and because of this frankly, I am and have been much under-financed. Lack of financing can be a bear and because of my actual budget is somewhere around nothing, I have had to carry in addition to the obligation of maintaining the blog, a lot of other personal and real life obligations as well as a bit more stress. This of course makes it harder. Again, I am not complaining but sometimes I guess it does get the best of you. In any case, I stopped for a week and paid some attention to a lot of other areas of my life instead. I am glad I did, it was necessary and I feel a little better for having done so. So no, I didn't quit- I just didn't do it for a few days.

But of course not being at it got me some criticism about whether I even work at all. This from people I have been dealing with over the teaching issue. Even if it seemed really odd to me that people should think about this way, I understand that locals might think that English language web making isn't all that differnt from say, surfing porn sites. If I live here, why am I not working here in some way that they can see? I guess the point is clear enough and I hope this last week cleared up many local issues about this. At least as of the moment this seems to be the case.

But even without this week's point to point biking and all of those appointments and meetings, I don't understand why anyone would ever say that I don't have anything to do.

Let's take the blogging for instance: If you haven't got your own blog, or even if you do but only stick a link up and write a sentence about it, you really need to know that it takes a lot of work to get things right. It takes time and attention and some ceative energy. And of course you always want to do better or at least to keep things fresh. I have been thinking about combining the sidebars from the times and here to make a more coherent transition from blog to blog. It would also allow for a more comprehensive link list which I guess might be better for all of the people I link with. I have also been trying to get more into the Belarusian blogging community as well. I don't know that they have been recognized so much by the international blogging community but there are lots of folks out there trying to say something, either with friends or with a broader audience in mind. Often I doubt whether or not they are really from here or if there is even a real connection to Belarus other than say, a political stance or if thy just used the word Belarus to be confrontational or "exotic", as is the case many times. I have also been thinking about trying to start a pro-tourist blog about Belarus. I know there are a couple out there already, well, there are one or two real ones and a bunch of spider/robot blogs which sort of clog up the network. If I haven't done this is it only for the addition to the workload. I can only give so many hours to something before it starts to encroach upon the energy I have for other things.

And really you must know that these blogs and the gazette are really quite a lot of work. My average blog is about 1500 words, sometimes more, and frankly, I am not the best typist in the world. So there are not only problems with clarity that need to be ironed out but also spelling, grammatical errors and formatting issues. The newspapers all take a lot of time to make and lately, because I have been trying to be more into the Belarusian bloggers, there is also translating now to do. And I am working on getting the new book together as well.

Is this all nothing? Or worse, does all of this really sound as if I am only making excuses and not really doing anything?

Ok, fair enough. Let's go ahead and ask the question straight out: What actually do I do around here? How do I take up my time here I the Beautiful and interesting Republic of Belarus?

Here is a normal day in "The Life":

Normally I wake up at say five or six normally and the first thing I do (if I am up at five) is to check my mail. This is passive mail and not writing letters to people. Reading and answering letters takes some time but for sure at six or so I have to stop and go out and get a little exercise with Egor. We usually go around the block for about a half hour and then we come back and have breakfast. When we get back I usually help getting Anya up and to the table and we all have breakfast together.

After breakfast we have to get Anya together for the kindergarten and Egor goes off to school. Anya likes to ride to the Saddik on the bike so this s my job and after getting her undressed and dressed again, I get back usully a little after 8:00am (it is 8:12 as I first write these words). From here I have about an hour to an hour and a half before my English students start coming and so I can use this time to get my lessons together and maybe try and finish my letters. Today I have two lessons starting at 9:00 which will take me out to 11:00 am and then after, I need to make sure I make my notes on the lessons. This usually takes me to about 11:30 or twelve.

Well, from here there are two variations: one if I take Anya from the kindergarten at 12:30 and the other if I leave here there till 4:30. They are actually both the same but in one case she is with me. I make two newspapers a week and this always takes a god part of the day. These essays I write tend to need at least a couple of hours of serious concentration. If I give a couple of hours to the book this is ok. But then again there are sometimes some money-stalking that needs to be done- some of this is covered in aggressive letter writing but I also have a local supporter who needs to be harassed. Like I said, all of this is either with or without Anya. Oh, and I forgot there is also menial house chores like shopping or dealing with the garden (and lately fixing my fence) and making sure Egor gets fed and does his homework after school.

This is the afternoon and by about 5:00 or so, I am pretty much ready to have a rest. Garbage needs to go out a 6:45. If Tanya is at work she will come home at 7:15 and then start making a dinner for us. The kids like it when I show movies in the evenings and I do too- a small bag of chips and some tea or cola if we have the money for it. (At the moment we are cycling though the Star Wars set in Russian; last night was the Revenge of the Sith and tomorrow we finally get to Luke and Lea and Darth Vader. Anya loves the Brat movies by the way- Disney can frighten her but Brat, nyet). After this the kids go to bed and of course, I get to either write that blog which I didn’t have the time for earlier in the day, or at least to check my mail one more time and hopefully, I have a little time to surf for news or interesting blogs to look at. When they were playing baseball I liked to check that out a little but now, sigh, not.

And what else? Nothing. In the summer we add farming to this. Sometimes we have guests and this makes things interesting for a while. Sometimes there are parties and festivals in the town which can be interesting to look at. Sometimes there are concerts to go to (if we remember to go).

Like I say, I would love to do more. I have a couple of ideas for plays. But then again, I would like to spend more the on my bike and please, I would love more tie to just play my guitar for a while. Or write more…

Oops, must go; they're here.

More soon…


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