Tuesday, April 10, 2012

tuesdays in turkmenistan: switching modes

Each time I come back here, I do a bit of a mental switch. It's not just the time zone difference, which is now back to the nice 12-hour difference with DST in the U.S., though this change takes a couple days to fully settle. It has more to do with the very different life I have here and how separate I keep work from everything else. I keep different silos for work and friends and family and while all those areas have some interaction, they don't overlap all that much. When I'm here, I am squarely in the work silo. It is a realm of e-mails and spreadsheets and talking to people about things and stuff and other areas where I have an unfathomably difficult time explaining what I do. More importantly, it is kept out of my personal life. This blog, my Twitter account, personal e-mail, etc are not shared with people here. Facebook is an exception, but the thing about my Facebook account is that I also keep it separate from everything else. I only post the most mundane of comments on my travels and haven't shared a photo in over two years.

The other day, I was joking that nothing I have told anyone about my life back in the U.S. is strictly corroborated. Do I have the family members I claim to have? Did I go do the things with my friends I talked about? There's no reason I would lie, but there's also nothing that would disprove that all my stories are not elaborate tales of fiction. And while I'm not prone to telling hyperbolic stories about what I do on my days off, I also often say that great line from Seinfeld when George says, "My whole life is a sham." It's not so much a sham as it is a potential (but not actual) lie. I work here, I live here, but I'm not what I would ever call fully here.

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