365 Days in Belarus/Day 6 Interview


The interview was Saturday it started at 11:30 lasted until 1:30, Oksana’s friend Martgo found us an interpreter to help us at the interview.  She was a wonderful young lady who has been studying English for the last 7 years even though she didn’t look more than she was 20 years old but I was very impressed with her skills even though she thought they were limited I was very impressed.  The interview itself was somewhat what I expected but they asked questions that I was not prepared for…mothers, first name? madden name? fathers name, Irina’s best friend, what does she like to read and author, does she have a license, all of these were followed with I don’t know.  So as far as I am concerned it did not go well because her answers have to match mine so we will see.  I was pissed for quite awhile now I just don’t care if it’s to be it is to be if not I’ll be coming home October 22 and spending the next 6 months on the road doing my sock mission.

Met a man from Canada, he was a mountain of a man and I want you to know he stood 6 foot 6″ and weighed 245, hands made of steel, dressed in worn out black construction boots, winter carhartt jacket, gloves and a knit hat, he look as tough as they come, He asked me a question in Russian as I fumbled for my (Я не понимаю) I do not understand, he immediately said your American, I said yes as we started a short conversation, he asked where I was from I said Chicago, he responded with I am from Canada, live in Ottawa but work in Belarus.  He asked what I was doing there, I told him trying to get my temporary residence because my wife is Belarusian woman who can not come to America as of yet.  He laughed and said someday I would like to marry but there are two things stopping me, 1st the immigration of getting her back to Canada is so impossible and second making up my mind which beautiful Russian, Belarusian woman to fall in love with it’s like being in a candy store everywhere you look the next one is more beautiful than the last so how do you decide which one to take home….I can fall in love 10 times just walking down the street so I will remain single for now.  I laughed and agreed there are many beautiful woman in Belarus.  We parted ways, he wished me good luck for my future.  A little while later I was in a hallway waiting for some paperwork to get finished and I love to just look at people and observe them, their mannerisms, and think about their lives.  There was a gentleman siting on a bench, looking to be about my age but his skin and hands looked like they had been beaten up by the weather, his work and just aging all together, his dress shoes were very well weathered from being worn, his pants though dress slacks at one time I would consider them more comfortable from daily use than dress but could tell he was a proud man and wanted to look dignified at his meeting.  He had a Berkeley hat that mad him look quite dapper and the women he was with seemed interested in what he had to say.  I would say a long time resident of Belarus, a laborer of some sorts who worked in a very tough industry, provided for his family and was still quite capable of swinging an axe blade to cut wood to warm his house.  As I slipped away I hoped the man has had a very happy life which caused me to rethink my definition of what happiness is and what standards are called into play when I make that call.


Day 7: Train Riding the Country Side I get lost in the past.  With each ride I take towards the country side my mind always jumps back to my visuals of war and a country who has had suffered many great battles, partisans fighting for Belarus, pure destruction of a country.  The houses seem to have been built during or before World War II, they are very outdated, the construction is of a mixture of brick, mortar, wood, metal and other things that can fill in the cracks that have opened up from the settlement of land, poor construction and just weather wear and tear.  From my experience most single family residence do not have running water, they bring their water in from buckets whether from a well down the street, or a well that has been dug in their yard by hand.  Most or all the work is done by the owner him or herself, plumbing is not run in the walls since the walls were there long before the water lines being installed now so the pvc piping is run along the base of the interior of the house.

Day 8: No Heat, I just found out that each house does not have a thermostat to control the temperature, our heat comes from a boiler building miles away as it heats numerous buildings and apartments, everyday is a new experience.  Studied Russian with my wife today as we sat on the couch under a blanket.



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