Russia’s criminal 2022 invasion and genocide against Ukraine has been going on for over 6 months. The war itself has been rolling since 2014. On the strategic field, it has been quite clear since day 3 or so that Putin’s Russia has shot itself in the face. I hope this also becomes clear on the tactical field and it retreats soon.
I need to present a less than 24 hours old negative covid test to board my plane to return to Korea. The latest variants are resurging in both Europe and Korea. I am worried. What if I catch covid just before I am due to fly?
Flying in 2022 is far more stressful than it was in 2019.
Energy prices in Europe are atrocious now and may get worse in winter. How bad will it be? Will my family and friends all be well? I am worried. After I leave, when will I see them again?
Half a world is further away than it was in 2019.
And even then, it was quite a ways.
Truly, there is no romance to travel when one has an injured leg. Limping through airports, hobbling along escalators, massaging the pain away in narrow plane seats.
Flying at 40 is less pleasant than it was at 25.
When I was little, I read that alcohol destroys brain cells. I was horrified.
“Why would anyone drink alcohol if it destroys their brain?” I wondered.
Then, I grew older, and to be like my Dad and like my friends, I took up alcohol.
Over the last two years I managed to observe more closely the effects it had on me, absent friends to perk me up the next day.
The running shits and the aching head, the hoppy farts and the acid burps, the restless sleep and the next-day depression.
Alone, without distraction, my relationship with alcohol soured.
Now that decent alcohol-free beer is here, I think I might have put it down for good.
I look at my Dad’s wine collection, and all I can think is, “What a waste. Not of fine wine, but of money, time, and health.”
How could I ever think three hours of raucous revelry was worth twelve hours of feeling ill?
It’s hard to meet all my friends for as much time as I would wish in so short a time. It’s hard.
“Is it hard to live so far from home?” folks ask often in Slovenia.
The honest answer is … this is the wrong question.
There, Korea, feels like home now. Especially after two years without travel, I am used to it now. I have my walking paths and my shops and my routines and my friends and my dog. Life traces its grooves into my mind.
To ask if life is hard, well, of course it is hard to live. To pretend life is easy is nonsense. It is hard. Many times there is struggle. But, the adjectives “hard” and “easy” are wrong. They are unimportant.
A good life is a life well-lived, and any life well-lived will have hard times and easy times, homes and aways.
Perhaps they want to ask, “Is it hard to make a home somewhere else?”
And the simple answer is always, “yes.”
But, again, it is always hard work to make a home. It takes discipline, care, effort, duty, love. From the knowledge and experience of what went into creating a home, a home is made.
Or, perhaps, they want to ask, “Is it harder to make a home somewhere far away?”
And the simple answer is, “no.”
Effort and care expand to fill all available time.
But, perhaps, just perhaps, what they are trying to say is, “Tell me that I have made the right choice to live where I live, tell me that the grass is greener here.”
And I don’t think I have an answer for that.
My fourth big book is nearly done. Last tweaks, last bits of art. 320 pages. 400 illustrations. That was a lot of work.
Completing something that big is emotional.
I wonder what emotions I will feel when I complete it.
Insects swarmed over our neighbour’s house today. Over our garden. Over the trees of the field.
I think they were ants, mating. A winged ant landed on me while I was having a mineral water with a wedge of lemon and floating pomegranate berries.
I hope they were ants. It is good to see insects alive, nature in her swarming glory. A bit of hope after a summer of hell-drought.
I can’t believe so much of humanity convinced itself that gas and oil were better than the power of the atom unchained.
It is luddism of a sort.
I feel tired, but I want to do things and cannot rest. I think my soul cannot decide, is it happy to be going home or sad to be leaving friends, keen to return to routines but dreading the jet plane.
I like playing a good 4X game at times like this. Getting lost in the spreadsheet goodness of Paradox’s Stellaris.
Honestly, I feel too restless even to read books right now! That knowledge of impending travel; that worry of impending travel.