Friday, 25 May 2007

Sorry, was I away a while?

I think it happens to every ex-pat but, every 9-12 months or so, one goes through a "I hate [the country I'm in] phase"; it only lasts a couple or weeks or so; has nothing to do with the country concerned and is usually only a temporary thing, before all love and harmony is returned. It doesn't matter which country I am in; happens every time, every year or so.

I guess most people are the same about the job they are in; or the relationship. The trick, I have found, is not to have all these coincide. Usually, if two or more do, it's time to move on from those concerned.

It's not a home-sick thing: I am never homesick for the UK, and haven't been since I moved abroad in 2001, it's just a sort of long-cycle emotional thingy I guess: a sort of quasi-PMS for expats.

Anyway, I am just emerging from mine now, which is why I haven't posted much recently, having been rather glum. C'est la vie. I am also working in lovely Kyiv (yesterday and today and spending the weekend) and, despite the seemingly inevitable slide into dangerous political chaos here, it's impossible not to be smiley in Kyiv...This Saturday is Kyiv Day: it'll either be a carnival or the backdrop to a coup; which is why weekends, in the post-Soviet space, are never dull.

So (a) Yes, Morocco was fantastic: I bought a lot of contemporary art (a lot, according to my bank manager) and spent an hour with Russian customs and the airport rep from the 'State Committee on Cultural Heritage', on my return, getting temporary import licenses for it all so I can take it all out again when, one day, it's time to leave...

(b) Yes, DC [your comment to the last post] it does refer to Western prejudice.

Don't get me wrong, Russia often does itself no favours with its habit of treating foreigners with a choice of only two emotions: bored indifference or outright hostility. Like Moscow weather (hot, humid Summers or vicious icy winters, but no significant Spring or Autumn), Russia's foreign dialogue often lacks nuance. I have come to learn that, in the Russian psyche these two, lonely emotional gears represent sophistication in the case of the former; and decisive patriotism in the case of the latter. Go figure! The fact it's not really working for them doesn't seem to occurred to anyone...

(c) Sorry, Krusenstern, but this blogger just doesn't do team sports. Your Blog-Carnival Russian Media is a great idea and I wish you the best of luck! Quite courageous though, I think, to link the carnival to some rinky-dink award for Новая Газета [Russian site]: the Novaya Gazeta [Wiki listing] newspaper is almost tiresomely anti-President Putin and, let's just say this:

Expats living in Russia, who go-bang-drum for Novaya Gazeta, had better not be banking on Russian visa-renewal any time soon ;-)

So anyway, in my head many 'stellar' (sic) posts have come and gone and have been left unwritten. My bad. But it's a blog, not a marriage vow, after all: get over yourselves!

Speaking of which, Red Exile wishes Chris a great wedding this weekend...and enjoy the month-long honeymoon you're going on. And thank your lucky stars you don't work for Americans (who would never give you a month's nuptial leave no matter how long you'd worked for them: to who, BTW, I say; enjoy Memorial Weekend'.

Anyway, I am not going to bore you with holiday snaps. OK, just this one: what a clever PSA advert for such a conservative (and Muslim) country like Morocco, don't you think?

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