Apple Pie, Mountain Bikes & an Old Fashioned River Float

We’ve been sharing some posts from some fun events we’ve had but haven’t shared much about what our day-to-day life has been like here lately.  For all of August we were stuck back at our training villages for the last part (Phase 3) of Pre-Service Training.  While it was great seeing everyone it was really hot nearly every day (90+ often and the training center does not have AC) and the days seemed to crawl by.  Plus, we were missing the best month to be back in Issyk Kul where every day the weather is perfect and the beach is just a five minute walk away.  Besides being able to see the whole group back together (minus our one fellow volunteer who went home) we had some fun adventures.  We invited 10 other volunteers to Ala Archa (blog post here,) had an amazing weekend in Bishkek, bought mountain bikes, held the first annual Issyk-Ata Regatta, cooked American food, explored an abandoned apartment and perhaps best of all, took the ‘Balykchy Express’ to get back to Krasnaya Rechka.  We’ll write up some info on the world-famous Balykchy Express slow train that runs from Bishkek to Balykchy later but read on for more photos and stories from our other adventures the past month…

The first pizza we made in KG
The first pizza we made in KG

Being back in Krasnaya Rechka was fun even though training wasn’t because the kids are so much fun to play with.  We spent many nights playing Frisbee and surprised them with a Frisbee of their own that Taylor’s mom sent from America (thanks Cindy!)  There’s a big difference between the village kids in Krasnaya Rechka and the city kids in Balykchy.  The village kids all know who we are and scream our names when they see us even if they are on the other side of the school yard.  Much like cities at home, you lose a bit of the ‘neighborhood feel’ in cities here which has its pros and cons. Our language still seems terrible to us but we were able to talk a lot more with our PST family and learn things like how they met, when they moved to their house, where they originated from, etc.  We also tried to cook more American food for them, not only to share American culture but frankly, we’re craving a lot of food from home.  We made pizza and had to resort to using pre-made frozen crusts we found. They tasted as good as a frozen pizza from the grocery store but we had fresh ingredients and the kids loved it.  Taylor also went with some of the other PCV girls and made apple pies.  She said they were delicious but forgot to bring a slice home for Eric so things are a bit rocky between us, тамаша (that means kidding!)

 

We missed the cows coming home everyday
We missed the cows coming home everyday

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Make Tacos or Kill a Sheep?

Before reading this post please note that there are graphic photos below.  Also, slaughtering animals isn’t something most Americans experience first-hand; before commenting or judging please be sensitive to cultural differences.

We’ve learned quickly that in Kyrgyzstan that plans are a fluid thing.  One day in our first week here our mom said tomorrow we may make tacos.  This news was exciting to us as we’ve heard rumors that our family, well versed in English and American food, made tacos amongst other foods I’d begun to crave.  However later that evening our father said tomorrow I should kill a sheep and asked if I’d be afraid.  He then laughed as he often does, he likes to makes jokes.  But then he said ‘yes, I will get a sheep tonight.’  Now, these things here happen often.  Never quite sure what will happen when plans are made we’ve learned to just roll with it.  Sometimes people are joking, sometimes we misunderstand because we know so little Kyrgyz and sometimes I think they mean with all seriousness their words but somehow it’s just not important the next day.  Our questions were erased when that evening a young sheep was tied up outside our door.

 

Eric ties the sheeps legs
Eric ties the sheeps legs

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Settling Into Our PST Routine

Ayana getting the frisbee thing down
Ayana getting the frisbee thing down

We’ve been in country two weeks now (in a lot of ways it feels much longer) and we’re slowly settling into a bit of a routine.  During PST nearly every day is very structured (we have a calendar of the entire 8 weeks.)  About 60% of our scheduled time is spent at our LCF’s (Language and Culture Facilitator) house practicing our Kyrgyz and the remainder is at the hub site with the entire group in various sessions.  During the evenings and Sunday we are free but typically our time is spent either studying, having meals with the family or playing Frisbee with the kids.  When we walk around the village most of the people recognize us now.  The kids often either yell ‘hello!’ or ‘Eric baike!’ (байке) which means older brother, young man, uncle and possibly other things.

Our language group eating lunch at our house
Our language group eating lunch at our house

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