NOW you can mention Turkey

Largely because, in a matter of hours, we'll be on our way. I suppose it's getting tiring for everyone to read about how the weeks are zipping by here, but damn if it ain't true. Another one's just completely gone and if you used my blog entries to gauge it, without any activity whatsoever. Fortunately, that's not actually the case. It's just that time disappears in a blur as you prepare (and/or refuse to acknowledge) the international travel looming ahead of you. I realized recently that I don't have the same level of excitement about going to Istanbul as I did with our Buenos Aires trip in December. And it has nothing to do with the destination itself or, say, a complete lack of gratitude about the opportunities in front of me.

I finally figured out that it's bothering me because when we get back, it sort of marks the beginning of the end of the fellowship. As soon as we touch ground, we're hurled into our last eight weeks and since, unwisely, none of the fellows is studying "How to Stop Time" we'll be utterly helpless in preventing the onset of April 20, graduation day.

I think it's fair to say that the state of journalism as we know it is, at the very least, in transition -- if not in outright jeopardy. The future looks interesting/bleak for newspapers and it's perhaps more understandable than ever that people would be reluctant to jump back into a giant pool of uncertainty, sales, staff changes, lay offs, etc. Not to mention the fact that even if everyone had a certain future as bright as a shiny penny, this is a tough gig to leave. And it's not just the break from newsroom grind or the seminars and events -- although who wouldn't want to spend Valentine's Day cuddling up with Paul Anger, editor of the Detroit Free Press -- it's the people, y'all.

It's bad enough that they're all swell, but when you're thrown together like this in a town where most of us know no one else (except, of course, John Bacon, who knows everyone else) the bonds grow faster and stronger. Did I really just say "bonds"? Perhaps it can't be avoided.

Of course, maybe I'll change my tune a little after another week of constant togetherness! Speaking of which, we leave this afternoon for Istanbul, via Amsterdam. So I guess I'd best get packing. (How's that for a rushed, untidy conclusion paragraph?)