26 January 2006

A new personal record

Today marks my 179th contiguous day abroad, breaking my previous record of 178 days in 2004 while I was studying in Austria. I still remember the trepidation I felt 2 years ago as I packed up my most important personal effect into two suitcases with the knowledge I would be gone for 6 months. Then, a little over a year ago, I repeated the process again when I set off to Australia for 4 month; by now it felt like old hat—there was none of the previous angst. However, last summer my departure had a new seriousness to it (with some of the same anxiety.) I was leaving for over a year, and planned to move on afterward, only returning to Columbia to visit (which is still my plan.) So how do I feel now? At this point, I guess I feel somewhere between ambivalent and comfortable; I’m accustomed to living in Sofia, and October feels too far away to worry about what I’m going to do next. What I’ve noticed among several Peace Corps Volunteers (who are here for 2 years) is that they are excited for the first 6 months, hate the next year, and then get nostalgic (and anxious about the next phase of their life—although most seem to start graduate school) in the last 6 months. If I had it to do all over again, would still give up 15 months of my life to work oversees? Umh, yeah; I still think that—personally—the gains outweigh the opportunity cost. Whoa, this is a little bit weird—therapy by blogging.

On a lighter note, I still have my Christmas tree up. I feel justified in doing so because:
  1. I paid 28 leva for it and I will be leaving it behind for the next tenant.
  2. Public Christmas displays are still up around town.
  3. I live by myself; there is nobody to tell I need to pack it up.
Oh, and in case you didn't notice the weather bug up there, IT'S FLIPPIN COLD HERE! Temps have been in the teens or single digit for several days and nights now; this morning I noticed the coldest temperature I have ever remembered experiencing: ZERO—that's Fahrenheit! (-18 C) I'm just glad I'm not in Kazakhstan like Manish, where its -40!
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