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Japanther

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  1. I was born in Buchevichi, Belarus, located 30 km north of Minsk to a relatively middle class family. My father was a professor of English at the university in Minsk, with my mother remaining at home primarily. My childhood was mostly unremarkable, with most of my time spent in books at the behest of my strict but well-intentioned father. This, unsurprisingly, resulted in a sheltered upbringing devoid of meaningful connection with others for most of my younger childhood years. Little changed upon my enrollment at the University in Minsk, despite a well cultivated interest in academia in my upbringing, my lack of strong social skills and an overwhelming desire to escape my mundane and particularly introverted existence led me to seek any available opportunity that presented itself. So, much to the disappointment of my parents I had taken leave at the university at the start of my second year after seeing a request by a local railway company seeking arborists to help clear the tracks. The position offered a sustainable wage, but most importantly it was transitory in location and thus offered a frequent change of scenery. It was a difficult adjustment from a mostly introverted lifestyle to being plunged into the chaos that is nature, not to mention the physical demand that came with the job which was certainly a far cry from the quiet academic study, but I found it suitable enough, and eventually came to enjoy the lifestyle of mostly solitude immersed in nature. So much so that I’d continued with seasonal contracts all throughout Europe in the years following my departure from the university. In retrospect, my extent into Northern Europe was a culmination of my feverish escapism that I sought in my work, as well as perhaps indicative of my unending desire to escape the familiarity that going back would entail, and so whether it be fate or dumb luck, I had ended up about as north as a man could end up by rail extent; Nyheim. I was relatively content here, I’m not sure if that was because I genuinely enjoyed living here, or if I had reached the end of the line and was thus repulsed by the thought of a return ticket; but once again, whether by fate or dumb luck, the choice was made for me with the advent of the virus in 2019, which by virtue of lockdown effectively made me a resident in perpetuity. The lockdown didn’t bother me much, I’ve come to learn that solitude is solitude no matter the scenery, all that matters is the mind that encompasses such solitude, and though I do not understand much the madness that has followed, I find myself, much as I was in the beginning, passing my time with a book that speaks well as to the current predicament we are now immersed in; “This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends Not with a bang, but with a whimper” T. S. Eliot
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