Well this is a very special post indeed. To begin with, it is number 700, which is kind of astounding if you think about it. A few of them are just photos but good lord a lot of them are quite lengthy indeed, probably several books’ worth if you added them all up. You could read 1 post a day and it’d take you about two years to read them all!
If you’re new, as a reminder, in the right-hand column you can click on the purple die (Rom: zar) where it says “Roll the Dice” to get a random post.
This week is also special because it is a milestone in my own personal life. It has now been five years since I’ve been living in Romania. Let me say that more clearly. It was about five years ago this week that I returned to Romania to live and I haven’t left since. I first moved here in 2004 but without a lot of money or much of a plan in terms of how to make any money. I stretched it out until the middle of 2006 but then had to return to the United States to pay off my debts and get myself a job which I could work solely online. I did that and returned to Romania in March of 2007.
What’s really interesting is that I don’t know a single other person who has been here non-stop for the last five years. Every Romanian (and foreigner!) I know here has gone somewhere outside of Romania’s borders at least once in the last five years, even if it was “just to Budapest” or somewhere else close by. Some people I knew quite well in those old years have now spent more years abroad than at home but the cheap price of airfare and travel without a visa (in Europe) has meant that anyone who has wanted to travel, has.
So, if you really think about it, since I’ve been here continuously during the last 1,830 days and most Romanians haven’t, once again I am officially more Romanian than they are :)
Jesus that’s a long time!
But this post isn’t just about commemorating what’s past. Today I went and bought the computer you can see above, which is frighteningly large and intimidating in its speed (the little red/black square in the bottom left-hand corner is my phone). I am sure in a couple of days I’ll get used to it but for now it looks like some kind of steel monster squatting on my desk.
I spent a scary chunk of my cash for this thing because it is an investment in the future. For one thing, it is going to allow me to do the video editing that I want to do on the hundreds of gigabytes I’ve still got left over from my filming last year. I was tinkering with it today and it’s like going from a Dacia 1310 to a Ferrari in terms of just how fucking fast that thing can render (the guy at the store threw in an extra 4GB of RAM as a gift, good lord! My old computer has 512MB total of RAM).
As you know, the weather is warming up and so soon I will begin making the plan for what I’m going to shoot this year. I’ve got some experience now with what it’s like and with the equipment so I’m quite excited. Last year was sort of an “ad hoc” adventure, using friendly volunteers as assistants and sort of making the whole thing up as I went along. Now that I know what works (and just as importantly, what doesn’t) I can’t wait to get cracking on shooting in 2012.
Likewise, I have some other plans for this computer that are different than just my documentary. Those are still being worked on so I can’t go into detail just quite yet but let’s just say I remain an ambitious son of a bitch so we’ll see how it comes out.
What I can tell you is that in the last month or so I’ve received several offers to “monetize” this blog. That’s a fancy way to say that various people/companies were interested in posting ads or otherwise sponsoring this blog. I thought about it quite a lot and came to the decision that it’s not going to happen. I write this blog purely because I love writing it and no matter how “good” the money is, I’d hate to clutter this space up with a bunch of corporate flashing logos and the like. This is kind of like my “living room” and you are all welcome to pour yourself a drink and put your feet up and just relax. Plastering logos all over the place would just ruin it.
That’s not to say my new projects won’t be different because they most assuredly will. Those will be a different kind of atmosphere and sense of place and if some corporate stuff gets involved then so be it. I’ve got mixed emotions about it of course but obviously I’ve got two cats to feed so sometimes you got to dance to other people’s music. But whatever I do in those other places, including working with other people, will be what happens there. What will happen here is a one-person operation and will remain entirely my friendly home on the internet, which of course all of you are welcome to visit any time you like :)
Not to wax lyrical and steal from the Grateful Dead but damn it really has been one long, strange trip. It’s hard enough for me to believe five years ago I was living in a village, barely speaking (but learning) the Romanian language, never guessing that one day I’d be on ProTV with millions of people listening to me speak it. Pretty cool, if you stop to think about it. And even more fun and beautiful things are yet to come!
So my thanks go out to you, both the friends I’ve met in “real life” as well as the readers out there, the linkers, the commenters, the sharers, the Facebook “likers” and all the rest of you, whether this is your first day on the blog or you’ve been with me since post #1. It’s been a real pleasure to write for you.
NOW HANG ONTO YOUR HATS! :D