Hello again+memories of Crimea
It feels like an eternity since I wrote here last. 2013 went so fast and I realized, I only wrote about six posts the entire year. That did not mean that I was not travelling anymore. Only that I’ve been too busy to write about them.
You see, last year I launched The Filipino Expat, a bi-monthly lifestyle and living magazine for and about Filipino expatriates in Europe. It has taken over my entire life, including my bank accounts and my travels. Sometimes I still wonder what the heck has gotten into my head and I started a magazine with a European distribution. But it’s going good and I think it’s what’s called investing for the future. After all, I am not getting any younger. Money should go where there there is a probability of return. Operative word is probability.
So why am I back in this space suddenly?
Well I miss blogging…writing. A few days ago I posted on Facebook about how I long for writing just for the purpose of satisfying the need to express. One of my friends commented that he thought that’s what I do for a living. And I replied that it’s different. When a passion turns into a job, it becomes much more difficult particularly in writing. It has an entirely different purpose now, my regular writing. I am writing for an audience. In The Weekend Traveller, I am free to write whatever I want without the purpose of pleasing, explaining or satisfying.
And I want to go back to writing freely, at least once in a while here.
It’s already March and the same time last year I was in Crimea, Ukraine. I did not write about that either but I had a crazy, wonderful business trip in that part of Ukraine currently conflicted because of different ideals. The Crimea that they are depicting in the media now is not the Crimea that I’ve seen last year. It’s a simple region that’s living peacefully with the remnants of their many wars and Communism. The media is right about one thing though, Crimea is more Russian than Kiev will ever be.
The people I have met were very nice but most of all they still have passions that are quite rare in people nowadays. One purchaser in the company that I have visited was very passionate about the history of Crimea and told me stories of his time in the army and the Russian Black Fleet. We also talked about religion and I smile whenever he would refer to himself as “we Russian people.” But he was also the one who told me that:
“Love is the main power in our life and love to God and to all living creatures must be our main feature.”
One of the highlights of our visit was lunch in a restaurant where our client has taken us. It’s called Glechik, a cosy tavern hidden in a residential area, way beyond the off-the-beaten-track – where the menu is in Ukranian and only one (good-looking) waiter speaks English, hardly. Our client ordered several traditional Ukrainian dishes and lots of vodka to go with it.
I said earlier that my trip was crazy and wonderful. Well the crazy part started during this lunch. I would not elaborate now because it involves some really embarrassing moments but let me just tell it this way – before the soup was finished, the first bottle of vodka is gone. I lasted until two bottles and a half and I barely remember what the appetizer was. At one point I found myself sleeping in the toilet, we were apprehended by the police the next morning and missed our flight. It’s almost tragic – when I was going through that ordeal of too much vodka, being left out in the 10-degree cold outside (in the hope of bringing me back to consciousness) and desperately trying to catch our flight out of Sevastopol the same day.
But once the alcohol has subsided, I realized that, that was probably the best adventure I’ve had that year. I mean, how many times in your life would you get apprehended by the police while still being half-drunk, in Ukraine, nonetheless?
Anyway, I must keep this short because I am still in the office and just stealing some precious minutes to allow this itch to write to go away. I won’t promise to be back to regular programming but I will try. I definitely have loads of stories, not only about my travels but also little things about my expat life here in the Netherlands.