Oct. 18, 2005: Toe Tales

Hi, everyone!
Yeah, it’s been a while. I haven’t written lately because everything interesting that’s happened went into the book. If you’re absolutely dying to hear Chisinau stories, let me know, and I’ll send you some.
Yes, I’m still here, in Chisinau, Moldova, at the computer where I’ve spent most of my waking hours for the past month and a half. The book is coming along great. I’m on page 156. And I’ve written a little storybook, too, kind-of a children’s fairytale more for adults, and I’m working on the illustrations for it now. The first one is on my Yahoo photos page, which I’ll email you the link for soon from that account.  Also in there you’ll find pictures of Barry helping me up the stairs when I fist got my cast on, and about a thousand pictures of my re-birthday (Tat got a bit shutter-happy), when I got the cast off and Tatiana and I celebrated my rebirth into the land of mobility, among other things. It’s too many pictures of me, but in the background you can see a bit of what downtown Chisinau looks like. (I don’t have a camera, so I only have pictures when someone else happens to have one around, so that’s why there aren’t more photos, in case you were wondering.) It was a great birthday, with balloons and cake and presents and a big party. I figured, one birthday a year really isn’t enough. Why not have a few extra? It was an incredible day, everything a birthday should be!  
“Just how long do you plan to stay in Moldova?” Yes, I’m wondering that myself. I can’t seem to leave. It’s like some strange Hitchcock movie. Every time I try to go, something odd happens. Once my ATM card stopped working, another time I discovered all these cool things I didn’t know about before. But last week I was really determined to leave. Tatiana and I were all set to go to Zagreb, Croatia for the Biketour organizing meetings, and then I was supposed to meet this guy who is looking for a cycling buddy to join him through Albania, Macedonia, and Greece to Istanbul. It was exactly where I was planning to go before my toe got broken.
Sounds, perfect, right? I hear the Croatian coast is beautiful. Tatiana got her visas approved, and I prepared to pack up and be on the road again. You’re never going to believe what happened next.
Another toe injury!
I’m really not kidding.
Different toe this time. It was literally the same day I was commenting to my friend Alex that my foot finally looked completely healed. I was at a wedding joining in one of those traditional Moldovan group dances, where everyone holds hands in a circle and does some little step thing that I could never quite figure out. I had a TINY little stumble. No one even noticed. But it felt exactly like it had when the toe was broken.
I really wonder what the X-ray technicians must think of the strange American woman who keep coming in to have her toes X-rayed? I now have three sets of foot X-rays as souvenirs.
Happily, I didn’t break any bones this time, I just tore a ligament. No cast, but I’m supposed to get orthopedic insoles and not walk more than 100 meters in a day. That equals about three and a half trips from the office to the kitchen, by the way. I counted. I probably would have considered going to Zagreb anyway if the doctor hadn’t said the exact words "no traveling."
So, do you get the feeling I’m not supposed to go anywhere?  The thing is, in a way I really want to go. Part of me is really homesick, especially now that Tatiana is gone for almost a month. When I’m traveling, there’s new excitement, people and challenges all the time to keep my attention. And when I’m home there’s friends and community. But sitting still working alone every day, physically limited, in a place where most people don’t speak my language or understand my subculture, is a whole different set of challenges, mostly internal, and, for me, quite a bit more difficult.
But the writing is coming along better than it ever has anywhere else, and I have such a wonderful family I live with here, Serg and Tat, and Alex for a bit. It’s beautiful here, clear and sunny and cool, with all the leaves changing colors. The park and lake are beautiful, so big I can get lost there. And just when I thought I’d been everywhere worth going in Chisinau, I’ve learned about a few new things, so there is some exploring to be done yet. Besides, I’m afraid of what might happen to my other eight toes if I try to leave again!
So for now, the plan is to stay put a while longer, maybe until the book is done, which would be around Dec. 1 if I keep going at my current pace. I’m going to try to find someone to study Russian with me, because it’s coming along dismally slowly on my own. Maybe I’ll go hang around the International University and see what happens there. You can find an adventure anywhere if you look closely enough!
And two more really cool things. First, Alex installed a computer in my room so I can write at any hour, instead of just during the days. So now my days are free to be out and about, which is very exciting to me and will probably do a lot of good in maintaining my sanity.
And I finally bought that left-handed guitar I’ve been talking about all these years, and it is so much easier for me than the right-handed ones! It’s what I do every day before going to bed. If you have the music for any good songs, please send it!
In January I’ll be in New York for the birth of Liz and Dan’s baby, so there is a definite plan to be in the States then, and if you live in New York, expect an email from me.  
I hope you all are having a beautiful autumn. Eat some extra Halloween candy for me.