Our year mark has past, and instead of writing out a contemplative reflection of my time here, I’m going to try something different.
I’m inherently a list-maker and I notice a trend in Top whatever-number-of-things-there-are-to-list on other blogs I’ve been reading. So here are my Top 5’s.
Top 5 Things I Miss:
(Editorial note: this does not include the people I miss, I haven’t forgotten you)
1. Toilet Paper We have toilet paper…err..crepe paper here. Life is rough.
2. Vacuum We have one of these too, one that requires me to get on my hands and knees and just moves things around so I know how much I’m really not picking up.
3. Band-Aids that Open in Less than 10 Minutes…really…
4. Variety of Food Meats (pork, beef cuts, salmon), veggies (sprouts, kale, …), convenient condiments (peanut sauce)…all available year round. What a dream. Thanks, mom, for making life a little easier for the next few months.
5. Seafood Gets its own line, so now I will have 6 – oops.
6. Good Wine …every night, enough said.
7. Dogs that can be pet and loved…oh no, now it’s 7.
8. Amazon …for some reason the ideas keep coming. Imagine that.
And Then the Top 5 Things I Don’t:
- Morning Commute I walk 20 minutes to work three times a week…when I’m in town…and stay for 2-3 hours and then walk home. That’s it. Where I do the rest of my work is up to me.
- Meeting Minutes, Action Items, Recurring Calls …essentially anything that can be managed via Outlook. Haven’t opened that since March 2014.
- Having to Accomplish Anything at Work, ever. Between becoming a pre-natal yoga instructor overnight, completing a grant to install TVs in my clinic that show health education videos (did I write about that before?…For another post), planning a ‘it-better-be-the-best-camp-ever’ summer camp, being responsible for updating my region’s emergency plan (Warden is my title), and getting to know the new volunteers, it’s nice not to have anything really pressing. I just do what I can.
- Having to Be on Time, ever. Sitting outside my office right now waiting for my counterpart to come unlock the door. Gives me an excuse to not worry so much if I am running late.
- Supervised Children I love that I am greeted by a hoard of unsupervised children every time I walk into my apartment’s courtyard (courtyard is a generous word). They like to practice saying, “Hello,” and then they go back to playing games with rocks, making parachutes out of empty bottles and plastic bags, and jumping over string (there must be rules that I don’t quite understand – this is most definitely a team activity, but I don’t get it).
Top 5 Things that I’m Loving:
- Finally Making Some Local Friends More to share:
o Had a moment at work the other day where I thought, “This is why I am here.” A woman I know came in and, after chatting about summer plans, family, and my work, she asked what she could do to help with stress and no sleep. She ended up breaking down in our conversation, sharing her worries about finding work and supporting her two kids on her own. We made plans to do yoga together twice a week to help with stress, and to work on business ideas in September. Even if neither of these happen, that conversation at that moment seemed to make her hold her head higher. I realized I truly care about her and hope I can continue making life easier for her however I can.
o Reconnected with my tutor and now have plans to make salads, pies, and cookies at my apartment so she can learn about different spices and recipes. This is right up my alley. Maybe I’ll learn a little more Kyrygz by doing this too…maybe…
o After a chance introduction to a local man looking to improve his English, I met his wife. She is amazingly smart, articulate, and interesting. My conversations with her (only a few to date) have made me see some of my experiences in Kyrgyzstan more clearly, made me appreciate my frustrations more fully, and made me hopeful for Kyrgyzstan’s future. This country is lucky to have her.
- Getting Creative with What to Make for Dinner using what we have in the fridge – our budget requires this.
3. Time to be Creative, to think about what’s next for me professionally when I get back – it’s so exciting!
4. Skype Had the realization the other day that I was not actually there when my sister got a new puppy. I just remember so vividly my dad holding her up to show me. The puppy is six months old; I definitely wasn’t there. Video chat is amazing.
5. Getting to Travel to places I would have never imagined – places in Kyrgyzstan and places like Kazakhstan, Serbia, Montenegro…Albania to come. See Eric’s blog posts for these – the travel is as amazing as it looks.
6. Being Here with Eric There I go again, adding a sixth. Can’t help but appreciate that he keeps up with our blog, plans our more adventurous excursions, cooks with (or for) me every night, and is here to share in the ups and downs of this whole thing called Peace Corps.
Which of the things I miss have you enjoyed lately? Don’t post a picture, that’s just cruel. But please enjoy them just a little more next time, especially the Band-Aids.