Afghanistan Diary
Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Not much to report. There is a suicide bomber warning for the next week and possible demonstrations on Friday. Our lockdown condition is unlikely to change for a while.

Today, I played with a wolf pup. A guesthouse had adopted it. I am not sure it would have been my choice of a guesthouse pet (Wouldn’t an alligator seem friendlier?) It stayed in a cage that was WOLFully inadequate for a wild animal IMHO. It was nice puppy and overall it was fairly friendly. He let me pet him for a while, although it must be said that he also did try to bite me. In fact, italmost succeeded: I could feel his teeth, but I manage to withdraw my fingers just before it broke the skin.

I have decided to give my notice. I do feel rather bad about it (I committed myself for twelve months when I came here), but I am far from being irreplaceable and I know DACAAR will be alright. It just wasn’t a very good match for me workwise. Other than that, I know I will miss Kabul, the people I know and the live I lead here. I know that must sound insane from the outside, and I don’t know how to explain it.

In fairness, my decision to leave has more to do with my immigration worries than with my boredom at work. I am tired of having to worry about my immigration status and I recently decided to become naturalized US citizen. The thing is, it is a little risky for me to stay outside the country for more than six months as it might prevent me to be eligible for citizenship. Right now, I am less than one year away from being able to apply, if this did not work out, I would need to stay another five years (continuously) in the US before being able to apply. I just don’t fancy myself worrying about this kind of stuff for five more years without being able to travel for extended period of time. There is an alternative to this which is to work for the UN in which case, the residency requirements are waived. UN jobs are very well paid as well, but I don’t think it is very likely...

So my plan right now, is to give my notice, to ship most of my things to NM, and then to go backpacking for a month. I can’t remember last time I went backpacking for an extended period of time.

I do have two major regrets about leaving. I won’t be able to travel to Uzbekistan with Babak (too dangerous right now if we could even get a visa), although it is possible that we manage to travel together somewhere else. The other regret is that it is possible (but not sure) that I won’t have time to complete my Kabul turn-by-turn navigation project (I hope I will). It would be a bummer after all the time and money (equipment does not come cheap) I invested in the project. I am trying to work as much as possible to finish this in the next month. It is not a lot of time, but that might just be enough. However, I have started to think about others fun to write applications using similar technologies (gps-.Net-C#-database-xml-Pocket PC-mp3-mpeg-bluetooth, ...) that would potentially be quite marketable. That will certainly give me something to do when I get back.
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This is my diary. My name is Lev and I work in Kabul for a non-governmental organization (

Location: Kabul, Afghanistan
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