July 19, 2013
This, too, has been a slow week. There’s really not all that much to do in Bar Bulak, and once you remove sitting around and eating from the agenda (thanks, Ramadan), you’re pretty much left with lounging around with the cat and the kindle. I downloaded something like forty free books from Amazon before I left, and I have now finished all of them. Most were just average, although some were surprisingly good, while others were simply abominable. But hey, they were free. Of course I’ve got roughly 180 books on that glorious device, so now I’m embarking on some quality re-reading. I’m currently working my way through the collected works of P.G. Wodehouse.
Mocha is in heat, and is most definitely trying her hardest to get knocked-up. Buddy, who is at least eight times her size, is totally smitten, although he’s so much bigger than her that he seems to be having a difficult time reaching his goal (if you catch my drift). And, of course, while his girlfriend is in heat, no collar or chain can hold him. Of course, all the other male dogs in the village have been trying to impregnate the poor girl as well, although for the most part they’ve just been getting their asses kicked by Buddy.
I taught my last classes today – and then I realized that I have exactly one month before I have to be ready to go with my next set of classes (several sections of an undergrad course that I’ll be teaching at my university). While I love teaching, it’s always nice to have a break. And, of course, I suspect that my American undergrads won’t be anywhere near as enthusiastic as my Kyrgyz students. Anyway, as today was our last class, quite a few students gave me going away presents. Many of them were hand-made felt souvenirs, although some were store bought. They all looked like they’d been sitting around various homes for a while… but when someone who doesn’t have much to start off with gives you one of their possessions as a present, it means a lot. Of course, between my Toguz Bulak and Bar Bulak presents, I have rather a large box that I’m going to have to ship home. Plus I still plan on doing some souvenir shopping in Bishkek. Oi.
In the interest of cutting down on the amount of crap I have to cart around for the next twelve days (especially since I’ll be taking a marshrutka from Bar Bulak to Bishkek on the 27th) I went through my possessions and got rid of everything (other than gifts) that I won’t absolutely need, either in the remaining 12 days or once I get home. I gave all of my triaged possessions to my host family. Aidai (my Shadow) got all of my teaching-related things, and I gave her my Kyrgyz-English dictionary as well. She was thrilled, and spent the afternoon memorizing texts and teaching her friends how to play my English vocabulary flashcard game.
I was supposed to have one more day remaining here in Bar Bulak main before being shuttled off to the London School’s “beach camp” down by the lake (near the yurt camp where my host family has their yurts and café). Then, this evening, I learned that as per some sort of inexplicable directive from the London School, I will be going to the beach camp tomorrow instead. But, “ours is not to question why” (NPH) and all that jazz. Time to finish packing! As my host family has gifted me with several really lovely scarves, a hand-stitched pillow, and a tea pot, this is going to be a challenge.