Russia, April 26, 1999
I left PricewaterhouseCoopers in a daze, and Moscow in haze. On with life!
Well here I am, sitting at work with not a thing to do. I guess this is the
result of good planning and smart delegation. Why should I be doing anything
with only three days left? I should be just chilling, but I feel so odd after
the year and a half of hard work I've done here.
When I first landed this job, on a cold December day in 1996, I was in awe. Here I was, working for a very prestigious firm, in an office of 1,500 people, with the city of Moscow around me! If you'd made me think of where I'd be at New Years 1998 (and 1999!) when I was 10, and I'd have never, ever guessed Red Square. Hell, I still would've been way off at 20!
This job sure was hard. Getting used to the big office, fast pace, and high demands of Big Six (now Big five) public accounting firm, after a few years of DC non-profit work and the Peace Corps was almost more of a culture shock than moving to Russia! Here I would look at my timesheet at the end of a month, and wonder what I accomplished in all those ten to twelve hour days. I know I did a lot. I can look around and see the direct results of my labour. I still have people thanking me for "fixing" the internal systems I was put in charge of. Still, its hard to justify all those days I will never see again.
So here I sit, wondering what I am going to do with my life. In the short term, I know that I need to get out of this office and this town, that I will enjoy travelling this summer and maybe even beyond the winter, but this is only a temporary diversion. I still have those nights to fall asleep wondering what is in this life for me. Where I am headed, and what's there for me when I do arrive?
I wonder if I should even be leaving Russia. I have a network here, I know the language, and I have ya'll, my loyal readers, to satisfy! Where else am I gonna be a demi-god with my passport? Where else will I be in charge of a team of four, and a leader of ten at the tender age of 26? Where else will I have 4,000 people reading my ramblings each month? I don't know, I don't know.
I am a believer in signs though, and all the signs say its time to go. If August 17th wasn't a big sign, then September 21st, when we canned a huge chunk of our staff, sure was. Then there was the day I looked in my phone book, and all but one friend had left Russia. Now, even my educated Russian friends are heading out, looking for almost any opportunity to flee this sick state. The only people left are patriotic Russians, or those who have too much invested in family or property to be mobile.
So here I sit, watching the clock, and waiting for six, ready to see the big bright blue ball we all live on...