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Explaining The Silence

September 27, 2014

Good heavens, I haven’t written in this journal for almost 10 months? Well, it’s not for lack of things to write about… it’s more that the things I would like to write are not necessarily appropriate to toss out into the public sphere. Let me explain.

Being an English-only speaking expat in a fairly remote Central Asian city, I lived in a very small and rather intense bubble, where the main action was in the relationships between a tight-knit group of eccentric people, thrown together by chance and the consequences of a common tendency toward adventurousness… one might even say recklessness. These little dramas absorbed most of my attention. Because I never really picked up any Russian and because I did not feel safe on the streets—in fact, I got mugged, which definitely colored my view of the place—my interactions with locals and the country in which I was living were much more limited than in Poland.


We played a lot of cards in Kazakhstan.

I need to go through my personal journals (which are quite copious) and see what I can drag into the light. Perhaps there is some way to give an idea of the texture of events without being a jerk. After all, I don’t know how I’d feel about one of my friends writing about my peccadilloes on the internet where everyone can see. Not that I would write anything intentionally unkind about my friends, it’s just that the things I find interesting are not usually what people share with strangers.

In the meantime, here’s a general update on what I’ve been doing since returning. I white-knuckled it, finished my contract, and flew back to the states in the beginning of June. I had gained 30 pounds from unrestrained alcohol consumption and comfort eating. I did manage to save a little money, enough to stay afloat a while while I planned my next move, if I was quite frugal. (What seems like a lot of money in Kazakhstan is chump change in the US.)

I first spent a month in Houston with my dear friends Jeromy & Vicki, people who are like family to me and make me feel safe and loved. I was very glad to be back in the states, much more than I ever expected I would be. I was a bit shell-shocked and needed some time to decompress. I worked a little on music, took care of their cats while they went to LA for two weeks, bought a cheap bicycle and rode around Houston… just generally recalibrated. I loved going to the HEB and seeing all the food I recognized.

After that, I took a road trip with my mom, from Texas all the way up to Rockland, Maine, to go sailing on the Victory Chimes, a three-masted sailing ship. We camped all the way there and back and had a great time. My mom is a great traveler. Here she is in her 70s and she’s still camping, sailing, cruising, just getting out there and covering all the territory she can. I come by my rambling honest.

Camping with mom.

Camping with mom.

Mom dropped me off in Fulton, Missouri, which is now home base. I’m inheriting (via mom) the little house my grandmother used to live in. I spent a month cleaning house, fixing the toilet & water heater, pulling weeds, unpacking my own scanty belongings, sending a few of Grandma’s things off to family who might like them, and finally, having a yard sale to dispose of the rest. It was a pretty epic task… if Grandma liked something, she didn’t have one, she had 5 or 10 of the same thing. Egg beaters, yardsticks, copies of The Bridges of Madison County, toilet scrubbers, sticks for stirring paint… you name it. Multiples of everything were randomly distributed all over the house, buried under heaps of dish rags, doilies, woven baskets, and crumbling wreaths. The whole process left me more determined than ever to minimize my own debris field. If I don’t need it and use it… it goes, baby.

The living room, the night before the Great Grandma Yard Sale.

The living room, the night before the Great Grandma Yard Sale.

After that, I drove down to Texas, where I’m currently house-sitting for mom while she travels with a friend. I’m just outside of Austin, where I lived for 20 years. I go into town and see friends or my sister once or twice a week, but mostly I’m taking it easy and enjoying all the nothing I have to do every day. I’m very focused on losing the weight I gained in Kazakhstan; I’ve lost 16 lbs. or so already. I count calories and exercise every day. I have about two more weeks until I head home to Missouri.

Below is an example of how spend my time… a little thing I did today, number two million in my series of recordings of the weird little riffs that pop up in my brain, usually in the morning, like algae covering the surface of a pond. I have to get one of those things they use to clean swimming pools and scrape the music/algae off the top of my consciousness or I won’t be able to think anything else that day.

I got a job. (My buddy Abdullah in Poland helped me out with the contact.) I’m teaching English over the phone and/or computer to people in France. It’s not the most lucrative gig I’ve ever had, but it’s very flexible; I can make my own hours and work as much or as little as I like. I can also do it anywhere I have an internet connection, which definitely suits my fidgety ways. I could even go to Poland for 180 days on a Schengen visa and teach from there if I wanted to. Or Budapest!

But that’s in the future. Right now I’m looking to settle down for a little while, save a little money, collect some musical instruments, reconstruct my recording studio… just generally engage in nesting behavior.

My little house

My little house.

And I will write about the second half of my time in Kazakhstan. A soon as I figure out how.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Anne Morrison permalink
    September 27, 2014 10:09 pm

    Thanks for the new post. Keep it up!

    And I love the little house. It is so cute and cozy. I bet there will be a few leaves to rake when you get back.

    Love the news,



  2. September 28, 2014 12:28 pm

    Hey Dave,
    I am terrible at updating my travel blog, always get busy and distracted by other things – so don`t beat yourself up for no updates in 10 months or so (: How`s the online teaching going? Have you had some students already? Keep it up buddy! Looking forward to hear more stories.

    • May 16, 2016 11:41 pm

      Hey Miss Boogie! Sorry I missed this comment. Lord, now it’s been years. I’m doing fine – no longer teaching, just working at a chemist’s and doing music.

      I see you and Abs have a t-shirt business. – great url, that’s half the battle!

      I miss y’all. You were my best friends in Poland. One of these days I’ll commandeer your couch. It’s the only way I could afford to see Britain, 😛

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