Today I discovered Podcasts have replaced friends for me. While this may sound pathetic or odd, it works. In October my closest friend here moved to London. Which might seem insignificant to most people who have a network of friends, but here in Byala Slatina I have very few friends and this friend was the glue. She made sure we all got together at least once a week and she was also the one that always had time to hang out, go to cafe, pick apricots, or do nothing. It took me a while to realize just how much she had affected my time here. November and December were busy months full of guests, occasions, and vacations. So the gaping hole in my social life wasn't really felt until January when I returned from winter break in Rome to the bleak cold of home. By mid-January it was evident: I had little or no social life.
And life took a turn in this meandering adventure, if I can even call it that now. Other than weekly outings to my fellow PCV's apartment in town I went weeks without seeing any friends outside of work. Sitting in my moderately cold apartment not wanting to walk to the center in the freezing cold dark (which was anytime past 4:30) I realized I hadn't left my apartment except for work in over a two weeks. This is a sad story, there have to be a few.
Fortunately I re-discovered Podcasts. Now I listen and laugh along with those crazy Tapit Brothers on Car Talk. I postulate on the situation of the world with my personal correspondents on The Economist, BBC Global News, The New Yorker, and (my personal favorite) Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me. But sometimes I just relax, forgetting that I'm not in the studio with Jad and Robert, and ponder the scientific wonders introduced to me on Radio Lab. Yes, these are my pinch hitters, my friends in time of need, the people whom I don't even know and yet end up laughing with for hours on end wishing that I could look them in the eye after an especially good punch line. But I can't.
All I can say is that I'm glad to have found company for dinner that eats nothing at all and never complains if I haven't cleaned. To invite a whole cast into my home and then kick them out at whim, never having to apologize or feel bad is quite enticing. Not that I'm thinking of not having friends anymore, but it's tempting.