Last night and tonight I'm staying at my condo in Milwaukee. It is a very nice place, full of my books and my furniture and feels like my place. Of course, because it is my place.
But being here really reinforces why I live in Kharkov. I am not with my kids here, and my friends are few and far between. I miss so much about my life in Ukraine. First and foremost, I miss Olya. In the past six months, she has become my human credential....she makes me realize why I continue to slog away at this thing we all life, why life felt empty in Milwaukee and why it feels okay in Ukraine. It isn't even close to perfect....but life is full of choices that force you to give up good things to get good things.
It is difficult to make these choices in life. Any ex-pat misses certain things, and most miss a few people every day. For me, it is my two wonderful kids. They don't understand why I felt the need to leave, and I can see why. It is very hard to be away from them, but here is the hard truth: I couldn't be a decent father if I couldn't make anything else in life work. And when I left, I had no job, few friends, and a life in which each day was a challenge. Hard to get out of bed. Hard to get from one hour to the next. Hard to imagine why anyone would keep going in my situation.
What I take out of this is that sometimes a person must choose to do things that hurt to get to a better place. I'm sad about many things in my life, but for the first time in a long time, maybe ever, I'm also happy about some things. That might be as good as it gets.