Monday, July 23, 2012

Nine months...

Nine months ago I was speaking two different languages, eating different food and taking different forms of transportation. Nine months ago I lived a completely different lifestlye. Nine months ago I saw my host family and nine months ago I was in Kyrgyzstan. Nine months later I am in America, readjusting to life here, hearing only English and dealing with American consumerism. Nine months later I have found full time work and begun a new chapter in my life. Nine months later I find myself in Winston-Salem, NC; a place that never registered on my initial job hunting radar.

Nine months has given me a lot of transistion, changes and emotions. I've had good days and bad but at times nine months seems like yesterday and at other times it seems like a completely different life. My time in Kyrgystan really helped me evolve into a better, more understanding and open minded person. These last nine months have been a time of transition and culture shock and change. I have once more taken another step toward more growth and wonder where the next nine months will lead.

It's strange to think, though, in three short months I will have been back for one year. I look back and wonder what have  I done? How is my life bettering others? Why do I miss Kyrgystan so much? What are my next steps? These are all thoughts that have proceeded through my brain and as my one year mark approaches will continue to surface. Nine months has been a time of longing and growth. Of ups and downs and good times and bad. It is a been a unique set of nine months and now I feel I am once again discovering myself. Let's bring in the next nine months!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Separate Worlds

This holiday season was the first I have spent in the States in three years. For the past three years I have spent holidays abroad, in Kyrgyzstan, Russia or Kazakhstan. So this year was a big new step for me; it was a step I knew would have to occur sometime and I think it went well overall. However I have realized that my holidays abroad and my holidays here are very different.

The weather, cutstomes, attitudes, foods, people are all different. That's not to say one is better than the other just that I'm different in both. The holiday fanaticsim here is crazy and hard to handle now and the simplicity of the holidays abroad is appealing but each place is unique and separate. As I was coming back recently from the movies recently I saw landscapes that reminded me of Kyrgyzstan while others was vastly different. This made me realize that nothing can ever be fully integrated. I am one way there and another here. They are separate worlds. Worlds where I know how to act and survive and worlds that are missed and unique in their own ways.

As the holiday season is now over and I look ahead to my next chapter I wonder now where that road leads and how much more of a separate place it will appear.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Missing the Little Things

As my service winds down, its the little things I realize I'm going to miss. For instance, I was in a taxi today and my driver asked me if my father was Kyrgyz. I told him most assuredly no and then the other passengers agreed with him and said my father must be Kyrgyz because I looked slightly Kyrgyz. I told them definitely no and that both my parents are American. However, this experience made me realize that its situations like that which I am going to miss. I doubt if I take a taxi in America I am going to be asked this, or even anything similar. I am not going to see large herds of sheep nonchalantly transversing down our main street while simultaneously swallowing everything in its path. I won't have the various other random encounters that make up my day, such as switching between two languages, negotiating prices, or impromptu parties and events. I will no longer experience the intriguing, and frustrating, aspect of time or have to walk around the various randomly placed piles of dirt along the roads.

Its these little nuances, from the office suddenly losing all pens to the city water being shut off for a ten minute period and randomly being turned back on to having unexpected waves of illness wash over you for a brief period only to randomly disappear. These are the things that cannot ever be fully explained to others. These are the things that enrich our lives and make every day unique and interesting. I know my experience has been better because of them and I am so thankful for them, for without them my experience, my time, would have been vastly different. So what about you? What little things make your life interesting and unique?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Old Goodbyes and New Hellos

Soon, very soon, I will finally finished with my time here in Kyrgyzstan and will move onto something else. What the future may hold, I'm not really sure. I have a lot of ideas and areas that I want to focus on and some more schooling that I'd like to get, but no concrete plans have been made. This is somewhat scary yet exhilarating also. For the first time I have nothing yet to go to and everything open for me. I know that soon my life will change and soon I will be doing something different and just as awesome but for now I'll cherish the openness.

So for now I've begun to try to wrap up my life here in Kyrgyzstan. I recently went and visited my old host family for two weeks and had an awesome time with them. They will truly be missed as they were such an integral part of my life. I also spent time visiting with other important and special people from the village. They all mean a lot me and it was so great to see them all. Now I'm currently finishing up things in Talas and beginning to say good bye to my local friends here.

I know soon my life will involve many new hellos and its those new hellos that will shape the next portion of my life. I don't know where those hellos will come from or from whom but I do know that they will be integral and will continue to mold me even further. These past three years have done that as I noticed with my good byes. I'm now excited to see the hellos.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Different Services, Different Experiences, Different Lives

Attention: this blog post is going to be random, containing many different themes all rolled together.

Recently I began to wonder about my time here in KG. The K 17s have all left and now the 19s are now at site. I have been training my replacement but won't actually leave until October, so its been a little weird being around another American everyday and speaking English so much. However, as she's been asking me questions about my work here during my third year I've begun to wonder more about it. My third year has been so very very different from my first two years. Its like I've had two entirely different experiences. Looking back I'm not sure I've been as impactful, helpful or integrated as I was in the village. I do have more local friends than I did in the village but I also interact more with volunteers than I did before. I don't know if it's living in the city, my work or living alone but at times I'm not really sure how what I'm currently doing here is that much different than it would be in the states. I think part of it is that now at my work I've finally gotten some good projects and work started, just in time for the new vol and just in time for me to leave, so looking back I wonder what did I really do? I've helped my secondary site, yes and definitely impacted my local friends, but it just doesn't feel the same. I don't feel like I've made as significant impact as I had in the village; which in some aspects has been humbling and eye opening. As a volunteer we are not here to be known; we are not here to have the spotlight. Our influence is on a much smaller scale, and usually on the relationship levels, and now more than before I see this and understand it better. Contentment comes in different forms and happens in various ways; so understanding is needed as well as openness and the ability to say, “it's not about me” and to have the foresight to know that we often never see results but they are happening, even if we never know...

Not only has my third year led to different experiences but to a greater understanding of different lives. I'm referring to after PC relationships and how the are maintained or not maintained. During service we often get close to other volunteers and try to stay connected with them after service. But life happens and so friendships change. People stay less connected and sometimes even forgotten. Also non-service friendships change. As the volunteer becomes further removed from the happenings of the US they get forgotten or left behind among their non-PC friends. This is neither good nor bad, but happens as people live different lives and partake in other experiences. It becomes harder and harder to relate and to stay connected. Priorities change, life's general busyness becomes normal and separation happens.

So I know this has been somewhat scattered and not even sure if there's really a point except that life changes and so does everything else. Thoughts?

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Recently I was told by a fellow volunteer that I am a very genuine
person. For me, I felt that was an amazing comment; one of the best
I've received but it also made me wonder- what exactly is genuineness
and how can a person be genuine? Is it a state of mind? Actions? Is it
something that is exuded from someone? Can a person learn it? Can it
be obtained or are they born with it? I don't have any of these
answers but would love to hear thoughts. So far the closest that I've
been able to determine is that genuineness is truth. Its being real
and not presenting yourself in any other way. Showing the world that
hey, this is me, accept me or not. I also think genuineness can be
achieved. I think we all have snippets of it throughout our lives but
don't really ever live in it until we are fully confident and free
with who we are. I'm not sure I was always a genuine person and I know
not everyone I've met would agree that I am but I think its an
underlying aspect for who I am.

I'm not sure its any one thing nor is it always present all the time.
I think it can be shown thought actions, words, deeds and many other
things and oftentimes a genuine act goes unnoticed... which is
probably the point. Anyways, I have no answer to this question but was
glad to have received the compliment non the less.Thoughts?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Separate Experiences

Sometimes I think I've had two completely different experiences here in Kyrgyzstan. For two years I lived in a village on the lake with a host family. I had daily interactions with the people and community. I spoke Kyrgyz everyday and ate Kyrgyz food everyday. I did a lot of guesting and work on a very community based level to combat health problems. Now is completely different. I have my own apartment, cook for myself, live by myself and live in a city. I have less interaction with people and sometimes no interactions with people and I speak much more English than Kyrgyz. I work now on a state level and see less of the community impact than before. So sometimes that makes me wonder...

I sometimes feel that my time here has not been one large accumulation of time (3 years) but two different experiences: village and city. People have asked me which I've liked better and because they are so different I can't even really compare. I think on one hand it’s really interesting in a country this small to have had such varied experiences but on the other why should it be so different. The work is similar so why else? Is it really because one was a city and the other a village or is it something more? Is it the difference of community interaction and integration or something else entirely? I do not think I'll ever truly know. Thoughts?