I started the decade, January 2001, underemployed, having graduated from Yale with my Masters the previous May. I was working part-time tutoring students for the LSAT, but it wasn't what you'd call a career. I was living off savings in a studio apartment off DuPont Circle in Washington DC, keeping company with my then-girlfriend Claudia. I spent a lot of time on Usenet.
2001 June: Proposed marriage to girlfriend, which she accepted. Got job offer. (It was in that order.)
2001 July: Went off to Serbia to start new job as consultant. This was less-than-a-year-post-Milosevic Serbia, and it was kind of a strange and interesting place. We ended up living in Belgrade for almost two years, and made a number of good friends. Oh, and I trained for a marathon. And found some people to game with.
I lived at first in a dark apartment above a courtyard in the Dorchol neighborhood of Belgrade, just around the corner from (then President of Yugoslavia) Vojislav Kostunica.
2001 October: Came back to DC to run the Marine Corps Marathon. We ran past the Pentagon, which had been hit by the September 11 hijackers just a few weeks earlier, and was still under reconstruction. Strange times.
Also that October: got married, in Ostheim, Germany.
2002 March: A baby boy! Alan, who is now eight and a half and loves Legos and comic books and science.
Also that March: found out that I'd be out of a job by May, because our project was being replaced by a bigger project that wouldn't have a place for me. ("We have too many lawyers." Long story.)
2002 May: Finished the project. Became a freelancer working with the World Bank. This was interesting, but stressful -- getting paid could take months.
2002 summer: Trip through the Adriatic -- Montenegro, the coast of Croatia, Slovenia -- with Claudia and baby Alan.
2002 Autumn: Claudia came down from Germany with the baby, and we all moved into a nice little house in Golsvortiyeva ('Galsworthy') Street in Belgrade. Two bedrooms, big bathtub, cheerful blue and yellow decor, skylight that made a pleasant drumming when the rain came down. We were only there eight or nine months, but it was Alan's first real home.
2003 March, Serbian PM Zoran Djindjic assassinated. I'd walk in his funeral procession, along with nearly a million other people.
2003 April: Started this blog.
2003 May: Got a job offer in Bucharest, Romania, as a component manager on a large USAID project. Left Belgrade. We would live in Bucharest for nearly three years. Still by far my favorite of our long-term postings -- nice country, lovely people. (Oh, and lots of gamers.)
2003 June: Moved to Bucharest. We traveled there by overnight train, a trip that we both still remember. Found a nice place to live -- the house on Strada Bruxelles, just north of the city center.
2003 July: A baby boy! Enter David, currently seven years old, who loves reading and Nintendo and is incredibly picky and stubborn about food.
2003 September: Claudia moved back from Germany, post-birth, and we settled down for our first winter in Romania.
(I was still spending a lot of time on Usenet. Though, with two kids, less. Had met my deputy Maria, who would become my best friend in Romania. Hadn't met the gamers yet.)
More in a bit...