I’ve been at permanent site for a little over two months now. There are many things that I’ve experienced so far and at times it’s hard to believe that I’ve only been here two months. For instance two weeks ago we celebrated Halloween here and had a great time. We had costumes, games, food, music, a movie and even costume judging. It was a great time and well done by the other volunteer, Erin, and her English club. Then the following day, Saturday, we were invited to a neighboring village to partake in a Japanese holiday festival. Again we saw dancing, music was played and games were played, but they were all different and all were infused with a Japanese feel because that village has a Japanese volunteer. Again it was a lot of fun. This weekend we’re celebrating Thanksgiving with our families and Erin’s uncle. Other times I don’t do much on the weekends. It’ll usually consist of cleaning the house and doing laundry, usually watching a movie with the kids and reading.
I’ve noticed a gradual change in the weather, it’s getting colder faster, and how quickly I’ve gotten used to wearing multiple layers at a time. I haven’t yet pulled out my purple marshmallow winter coat and hope I don’t have to. Because of the cold I’m amazed at how quickly hygiene practices changes and how quickly I get used to those practices. Now it’s normal for me to wash my hair only twice a week (three times if I have a special occasion) and to only wash myself fully once a week. Socks aren’t changed daily because it’s too cold to and also because there aren’t enough warm socks for everyday of the week. Hand washing is a novelty and hand sanitizer is my best friend. Outdoor toilets are many times preferred over indoor ones but I have certain outdoor toilets that I’ll only use and will try to wait until I get to those. I’ve quickly gotten used to not having good hair days and dirty glasses and cold water to wash my face and hands in. It’s really amazing how quickly you can get used to things.
Noodles, rice, potatoes and bread are staples of my diet now and there are times when the bread gets to be too much but yet I stuff another piece in my mouth and hope it doesn’t make me fat from all the carbs I eat here. J Chia is quickly another part of my diet that I’ve learned to work around and deal with. It’s their water here and although I drink lots of water I definitely enjoy the chia while it’s cold. However, their dark tea is tasteless and requires too much sugar to make it tasty. So I’ve learned to have flavored tea green tea, or hot water whenever regular tea is served. I’ve also quickly learned what dishes are really good and which women are really good cooks. I enjoy making American dishes with my family, like making brownies from scratch (twice) and from a mix and realizing I like the scratch better. We’ve also made Kool-Aid (that was a big hit), pizza and spaghetti. Tacos have also been made from scratch. I realize I don’t mind not cooking everyday but do enjoy now whenever I do, which before I never enjoyed it. Juice is precious, and expensive, commodity but one that I’m wiling to pay for and I’ve quickly realized how much I miss pork (ham in particular) but have quickly gotten used to other types of meat (in particular sheep).
Three younger siblings have quickly become a part of my everyday routine but yet they still always challenge me and make me laugh, mad and smile at various different times. There are time when the youngest just gets on my nerves with her moods, whining and constant lack of manners or care for other. Yet, she’ll say something, do something to make me laugh and I’ll give her a hug or play an extra half hour. At other times other kids, particularly the younger ones, will get one my nerves with their constant yells of “Hello”. But they always make me smile and are so cute and so eager to just be around the American that I can’t help but let it go. Family customs have gotten used to but at times I am still amazed by them and that is great.
Work has daily challenges as well as ups and downs. The village is the same. Everyday is the same and everyday is different in so many ways. I’ve been here in site for two months and in Kyrgyzstan for about six. Sometimes the lack of power, inconsistent internet, hassle of a bazaar, no work for weeks and language can make me mad at times but for every time I’m down something within this life will get me up and that’s a great feeling; to be in a place where everyday is an adventure and never the same. Imagine what’ll happen in a year. I’m looking forward to it… are you?