When a blogger goes brain dead…

I feel as if I’ve been a bit absent from the blog lately. Not literally, as I’ve been posting normally. But in the sense that my mind really isn’t working at its full capacity. Actually, if I think about it a little harder, I feel as if that could probably describe my entire life at the moment.

Work has taken over my life in a not particularly fun way. It’s the same hours as it has been (long), but with more duties and ensuing stress. What time isn’t spent at work or traveling to/from work is usually spent in an exhausted lump in my bed.

The joys of working abroad…

Teaching ESL is not all the drunken fun that it’s made out to be. Often, particularly in a country like Russia where your tenuous legal existence in the country depends on it, the stakes feel almost insurmountably high. What would be a normal slump (a stressful week, winter weather blues, etc) turns into a deep ravine where everything feels much worse than it needs to. But let’s be honest: the inescapable fact is that work while living abroad is pretty much… inescapable. And this reliance on a job and the visa it provides makes work feel like that much more of a necessity.

In the end though, I have to remind myself that work is work. Just like I can say that jetting off to a third-world country to teach ESL probably won’t make your work life much better, I have to remember that I could be anywhere in the world and be dealing with the same situation. Kind of depressing, sure. But really: it’s a good reminder that while I can’t necessarily change the way I spend my work days, I can maximize my free time to the absolute fullest.

So here’s to: relaxing more and stressing less. going on more walks. getting back to taking pictures. finding more fulfilling work experiences.

And to end on an even happier albeit evil note, here is a picture of the darling (damnably NOT STRESSED) Russky. Just because he never reads my blog and he doesn’t have to know…


  • http://www.ivorypomegranate.com Kirstin

    Wallpaper, curtains, sheets, bed, all of that reminds me of my apartments in bishkek. Sorry that life is so stressful right now! I hope it calms down soon.

    • http://agirlandhertravels.com Polly

      Funny – I always think the same about your Kyrgyz posts! Those Communists certainly knew how to do interior decoration, eh?

  • http://www.theflyawayamerican.com Jessica

    I feel you. I don’t depend on work for my visa, but have felt crazy overwhelmed lately trying to keep up with it all. I like to sneak in pics of the Dutchman as well. He only reads when I ask him too 😉

    • http://agirlandhertravels.com Polly

      Just “General Expat Anxiety” experience, I guess!

  • Jessi

    Hey Jessica,

    Been reading your blog since a friend sent me link. I’m in Moscow too, actually – 20 km outside of it working as a kindergarten teacher and governess. thanks so much for your blog! it really helps 😀

  • http://akingswanderlust.com Erica

    I feel your pain girl. I’m in a slump with my teaching job here in Germany as well, and as much as I want to say “SEE YA!” that lingering visa issue gives me the heebie-geebies. I did stay in bed all day today giving the ole blog a little lovin. Pretty sure I have a similar blog post like this one in my drafts folder :) so here’s to relaxing more!

    • http://agirlandhertravels.com Polly

      Ugh, visas issues are no fun at all. Hopefully once spring starts swinging around (in, oh, 3 months here), everything will seem a bit brighter!

  • http://luyoutravel.blogspot.com Elizabeth

    I feel your pain! It is the same over here in Lithuania. I keep telling myself that all of the other wonderful experiences (namely traveling somewhere else) are totally worth it. Keep it up and relax! Hopefully the weather will be warming up soon…

    • http://agirlandhertravels.com Polly

      I don’t know how it is over in Lithuania, but it’s been almost above freezing here. Practically spring!

      But someday it will be for real warm. Someday.

  • http://barbedwords.wordpress.com barbedwords

    It’s funny how friends in the UK assume that because you’re living abroad, it’s like being on holiday and you don’t have any problems! When in actual fact, you’re just getting on with everyday life and all its stresses and worries – just in a different country!

    Hope things improve soon 😉

  • http://gohomeandaway.wordpress.com/ Anna

    He’s built a little nest!
    I must say, work-work-work mindset isnt limited to an expat foreign language teacher freelancer. If you were in any kind of a corporate job State-side, with 10 vaca, 3 sick and 2 personal days per year, would this be any different, any less stressful?

    • http://agirlandhertravels.com Polly

      You’re exactly right! I’ve got to think of it like that and not just dwell on the disgustingly toxic environment I’m working in. Easier said than done…

  • http://cantalouqe.wordpress.com/ cantaloupe

    Having been fired from a job here, I can tell you that you can actually survive quite some time on charms and an American passport. Then you have to find a new job. But just, you know, in case you do get sacked, it’s not the end of the world.

    • http://agirlandhertravels.com Polly

      The perks of being American – totally true. The idea of finding another job, though, sounds just as terrible. Where the hell is my outrageous amount of inheritance money?

      • Mama Celeste

        I am not dead yet. Even if I was dead, I am also dead broke.

  • http://lifeinrussiablog.com Lindsay Comer

    You could give St. Petersburg a try – it’s way more laid back, from what I hear. I have one friend who teaches/translates there – he went in 2011 and never came home.

    • http://agirlandhertravels.com Polly

      I’ve heard that too, though I didn’t love love St. Pete when I went there!

  • http://montgomeryfest.com Annie

    Aw man. Hopefully the Russky can entertain some of the crumminess away. Also, I feel like he brought this upon himself..

  • http://gravatar.com/ladyofthecakes ladyofthecakes

    Work is work is work. I’d rather still be lazing around in Key West… now I’m back home and feeling stressed about being so far behind. My own fault. Bottom line: If nobody gives us stress, we make our own.

    I’m being very naive here… but I just assumed that getting married would resolve visa problems, although it may take a while. Are you saying that you’ll be with this uncertainty pretty much indefinitely?? That would totally suck!

    • http://agirlandhertravels.com Polly

      It’s true. I’m very good at creating my own stress! Practically an expert.

      You would think getting married would clear it up, wouldn’t you?! But in fact the US seems to push everyone towards immigration (ie. it’s quite difficult to get a tourist visa, which is what we want since we have no immediate plans to live in America.)

  • http://tidethatleft.blogspot.co.uk/ Amy R

    I don’t think I ever looked at my teaching job in Russia in the same way. We certainly didn’t want to have to leave because of a lost job, but I don’t think I ever considered the consequences of relying on the job. What I do kind of recognise here though is the February slump I used to get. Winter has gone on too long already and the end is not yet in sight. I used to find this part of the year very hard and would definitely feel the pressure of life. I hope you feel better soon. Keep an eye out for blue sky and sunshine!

    • Jessi

      I know what you mean about February. I’ve only lived in Russia for 3 weeks and I’m feeling the pull. It feels like I’ll be stuck in a winter slump forever because where I’m from sometimes you can go to the beach as early as April! That feels months away…

      • http://agirlandhertravels.com Polly

        Three weeks. Oh dear… You came at an… interesting time.

    • http://agirlandhertravels.com Polly

      I’m pretty sure I overthink things, which doesn’t help. Also, Russian visa laws are very foggy, but I’m pretty certain that most companies don’t bother to cancel your visa, so you could theoretically stay on. I’m not sure I’d care to test it, though!

  • http://www.katrinkaabroad.com Katrinka

    I’ve honestly been feeling the same way too– just exhausted. I have so many pictures to share and so many ideas in my head that I need to turn into posts, but I keep hitting this wall of tired. Living abroad sometimes makes it harder to get out of that slump. But I think it’s important to allow yourself to breathe, step back, and refocus. Everything will be okay :-)

    • http://agirlandhertravels.com Polly

      Everything WILL be ok. It’s always hard to see that in the moment though, isn’t it?

      Ah well, hope your spirits rise as well!

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