Wednesday, 16 June 2004

Email for Emily

Hello again.

So I'm back in England.

Back in the land of milk in cartons, fish and chips, ugly girls, common sense, capitalism, sensible drivers, Big Ben and cold, indifferent people.

I arrived back in the South West of England after enduring a 12 hour train ride from Minsk, a 24 hour coach ride from Warsaw and then a further 5 hour bus ride from London.

Once again I've said goodbye to Belarus with all of its complexities and its speeding Metros and milk in bags. I've also said goodbye to the most lovely and precious girl in my life, my dear Emily.

I can't say that I'm happy to be back in the UK. In fact, the opposite is true. Whenever I return to England from Belarus I always go through what I call 'a period of readjustment.'

After two months spent basking in Emily's love and enjoying the warmth and hospitality of the Belarusian people, it's very difficult for me to adapt to the cold people that are my countrymen.

If I had a penny for every time somebody spoke to me like I was dirt, a euro for every time somebody tried to bully me, a dollar for every time somebody patronised me or a zloty for every time somebody tried to rip me off, then I would be able to leave this rainy island behind and start a new life abroad.

I could give you examples, from the first man I spoke to after arriving here on Wednesday to a girl who tried to steal something from me on Thursday night, but I won't give those people the justice of writing more about them here.

There are exceptions of course - and hopefully those exceptions include many of the people reading this blog entry - but most Westerners have fallen under the spell of capitalism and this country has signed its soul away to the United States of America.

I've become disillusioned with the West and people in general. So its like a gift from God that at this stage in my life, when I'm turning into a bitter and angry young-old man, that I should meet someone like Emily.

Emily and I should have met in September of 2001 when I was working at a centre for terminally-ill children in Minsk. I was quite lonely, and didn't really have any friends, so a lady working at the centre contacted Emily and told her about me. But I left the centre shortly afterwards and so Emily and I never met. I didn't know anything about this meeting - I didn't even know that Emily existed.

Emily knew about me. She knew my name was Andrew, she knew that I was from England, and she knew that my grasp of the Russian language was even worse than my taste in clothes.

Two years later in 2003 I found myself in Belarus once again. A girl I briefly met told me that she knew someone who might be able to help me. That someone turned out to be Emily, who knew straight away that I was the man she should have met years earlier.

And so Emily and I finally met, albeit a little late, on the streets of Minsk in September of last year. It wasn't love at first sight - my heart didn't start beating at a million miles a minute and there were no fireworks going off in my mind.

But during the past nine months, Emily has become one of the most important people in my life. With her love and her compassion, her kindness and her sympathy, her generosity and her sweetness, she has earned a very special place in this ageing and weary heart.

I sometimes wonder how I have managed to get through 29 years without her. She is my one true friend and she has done more for me in the short time that I have known her than almost anyone I have known before. If Belarus wasn't such a crazy place, and it didn't affect my physical and mental health to such a degree, then I would probably move there like a shot.

But as much as I like the people, Belarus is a very difficult country to live in - it brings out some of the very worst parts of my character and Emily is often on the receiving end of my frequent outbursts.

This isn't fair to her - she treats me with nothing but kindness and respect - and only serves to upset both of us. So I've decided to take a long break from Belarus. I will probably return there next year, but I need some time to get the place out of my system.

Emily will, I hope, continue to be a part of my life for years to come. I've never told Emily this before, but she is quite possibly the best thing that has ever happened to me. She has blessed my life with her presence and she has become the centre of my universe.

So this email, long overdue, is for my dear Emily and for everything she has done for me and for everything she means to me. I think about you every hour, Emily, and I count the days until I can be with you again. Take care and know that my thoughts are always with you.

Bags of love, Andrew x x x x x

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About Me

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London, ENGLAND, United Kingdom
This is me. Read a few entries and they will tell you more about me than I can fit into these few paragraphs. Many of these entries started their lives as mass emails. That was before I discovered blogs. Thanks for stopping by and thanks for visiting my blog and reading about my life. Both a work in progress.