O man. Time to catch up again!
|Host fam siblings|
|Here you can buy the famed fermented mare's milk, kymys.|
|Oh hi, Lenin.|
|The master plan itself|
|My nocturnal friends say "hello!"|
-Consult a thermometer and confirm that the temperature inside your body is exactly four degrees cooler than the ambient temperature outside.
-Lay around in a puddle of sweat
-In your typical conservative village, meet a tattooed, unmarried 25-year-old woman with a penchant for chess, jogging and talking about cannibalism. Fast friends.
-Discover where to buy lava lamps, legos, tie-dye, dildos and other gift items in Bishkek.
-Bed bugs? Check.
-Circle the city for hours on buses because they all go in concentric circles around your destination.
-Learn that the reason you often see three or four small shops on the same corner selling the same products is that, according to your host mom, people are just too impatient to wait in line.
-Regularly flag down men in white vans for rides. Feel totally normal about this.
-Another summer camp! Kudos to Kyle for creating sustainability by training local university students to act as trainers, with volunteers serving only as support. Be pleasantly surprised during the session on gender when students, unprompted, bring up transgender and LGB folks in positive light.
-Suddenly come down with severe nausea, joint pain and fatigue. Then get pelted by rocks from children with slingshots while walking home.
-Disco with drag queens
-Down some drugs to keep the red lines from radiating any farther from your infections.
-Punch three new holes in your belt.
-Find all-natural peanut butter for a mere 60 som. Woohoo!
-Start a yoga group
-First bell! First day of school. First schedule – a.k.a. that piece of notebook paper tacked to the wall with so many eraser marks you can't read it. Schedule subject to daily change. One teacher doesn't know what subject she'll be teaching from one day to the next. Welcome to the post-Soviet system.
-Ignore red flags, as your counterpart – assigned to be your cultural guide, interpreter and link to your new community - seldom looks at you or speaks to you, much less team-teaches with you.
-People inform you constantly that a good Kyrgyz husband will kidnap you, and you find it difficult to attend a wedding without knowing whether to congratulate the bride or offer your condolences.
-Deliberate how to respond to the 11th grade students who catcall you in the halls and in the middle of class, because your Kyrgyz language skills make you sound like a 5 year old, and oddly your English language skills make the students laugh and parrot “hello!”
-Be forcibly dragged by the assistant director into a room full of Russian-speaking students, to have the door closed on you all, leaving you alone to stare blankly at each other for 45 minutes.
-Throw yourself into project after project after project to retain your sanity.
-Listen as people tell you how patient, flexible and hard working you are.
-Uncharacteristically desire to punch people in the face.
-Toss and turn in the night as bedbugs continue to bite, irreversibly scarring your body.
-Step in vomit.
Basically, September kicks off a series of stressful months during which I question my purpose here and stretch my capacity for bullshit. As you can see, I am still here and feeling chill. It got better :) So stay tuned, folks.