Every now and then, looking at photos from Russia, I feel a twinge of regret. How was I so unable to embrace my time there? And I was so goddamn cognizant of it at the time, I knew I wasn't enjoying it to the fullest... and I knew I would regret it someday.
And yet... it's not a debilitating regret. In fact, the surge I feel when viewing certain photos, when reminiscing about certain days and nights, is never filled with regret. Yes, there is some mono no aware to be had, rendered even more angst-y by my own awareness of the fact that I may have wasted some of my time there... Still, I'm so glad I was there, and I can't wait to go back. But it won't be until 2010, if all goes as planned.
Even while I look back on the not-so-distant past, I am happily enmeshed in my present. I love my boyfriend, my job and coworkers, my friends and family. I own my own home, I just adopted my first dog, a pound puppy named Piglet. Polyglot is progressing on a regular schedule. My brother is taking computer classes and absorbing his new town quite well. In fact, my whole family is transitioning to their new jobs and homes in Lawrence very smoothly.
Funny - when things happen so smoothly, it's as if they're meant to be. How can it possibly comfort/torment me simultaneously? Maybe because I'm just waiting for the inevitable something to go wrong?
I want my sense of humor back. It's here, but invisible in my writing. Yesterday was full of hilarity, and yet I can only remember the poignant moments.
WHY?????????????????????????????????????????????? I could try to call it weldschmertz, but it's nothing that trendy. And nothing so unselfish. Is this ennui, already?
14 September, 2008
My early Sunday morning was interrupted by an unexpected call-in to work. Hurricane Ike has devastated the Texas coastline, and I work for an insurance company with a massive amount of policyholders in Texas. We've been gearing up for it all week, deploying countless teams to the south so they'd be ready and waiting. But no matter how prepared we tried to be, it could never have been enough.
Back in 2005, my flight to Moscow left from Atlanta - where Katrina's approaching storm clouds were visible. I stared wide-eyed out the window of the plane at the massive, churning clouds as the plane flew away. I felt as though I'd dodged a bullet somehow. At first, it was simply because our international flight had escaped any weather-related delays but, over the next several weeks, I sat in a smoky Internet cafe in north central Moscow and read about Katrina's aftermath. I was so far away from the devastation: my best friend was worried about her family in the New Orleans area, the news was inundated with horror stories and tragedy, and friends in the States were volunteering to help clean up. It was all terribly surreal, as if it couldn't possibly all be happening since I wasn't there. And, as if I had been there, it wouldn't have happened at all (ridiculous, I know).
Now, 3 years later, I certainly didn't want to go to work on a Sunday morning. But I was back in the US, I was here for it this time... and I wanted to help instead of sitting impotently in front of an Internet news page.
I spoke with a woman who was deathly quiet. We were on the phone for several minutes before she finally volunteered any information about what happened, and even then she didn't really know. "The whole town is under water" was all she could say. Later she mentioned that all of her family had been gathered at her home prior to the storm, and now she had no idea where they were. She talked about her dog and how she hoped he'd known to seek higher ground. Neither of us mentioned the fact that there wasn't any higher ground to go to...
Still worse: her insurance policy lapsed in 2002. She never once paid for it over the last 6 years, and I think she knew that she had no coverage, but her call was a final desperate act in search of help. And I couldn't even tell her where the relief buses were...
Impotent at home, or abroad. What's the difference, really? I wish I could have made her feel better, even if for only a little bit.