Early Termination

Peace Corps volunteers talk about ETing the way priests talk about dying. We don’t want anyone else to do it, but we understand that it’s an inevitable part of our lives here, and we ourselves don’t want to do it, but sometimes it’s a huge temptation to get to Heaven early. Luckily only one volunteer... Continue Reading →

A Death, or Two, in the Family

Two people are dead. After a full week in country, waiting around for my bag and then having a birthday celebration for a fellow Narynian, I finally got back home yesterday. A huge host of people I’d met only briefly, or not at all, were busy cooking and cleaning around my house when I walked... Continue Reading →

Snap Shot

Three men. Three computers. Bloody Mary fixings on the rickety table across from our couch. White washed walls, dingy carpet, fat tomato plants on the sill. Each of us in our own little bubble, but connected by our vodka drinks. My bag sitting in the other room, retrieved from the airport finally after 3 days... Continue Reading →

Mother Tongue, Father Tongue

Really good and comprehensive post about Kyrgyzstan’s political outlook coming into the new year, written by my good friend Jonathan Foster Moore.

Chasing Mountains

Living in a predominantly Muslim, former Soviet republic leads to quite the strange mix of things. Take holidays, for example. Many people fast for Ramadan, at least one person in the family has some verses of the Qur’an memorized for special occasions – although hardly anyone I’ve run into actually attends a mosque – but around New Year’s shop owners are selling little Christmas-like trees (and all the decorations to go along with them), and just a week ago folks across the country were posing and taking pictures in town squares with a fellow dressed up as ‘Father Frost,’ who happens to sport the same red and white clothes as Santa Claus. Today I am not going to work because it is Orthodox Christmas and the door to the office in which I work will be locked.

But this mixture is perhaps no better exemplified when it comes to language…

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How Hawaii Made Me Appreciate Kyrgyzstan

They lost my bag on purpose. Six pounds of pure uncut Hawaiian coffee, a pound of macadamia nuts, and untold amounts of snack sized snickers, take 5’s, and other goodies don’t just go missing. There aren’t coincidences that big. When I went to the tiny window beside baggage claim to complain I was pleasantly surprised.... Continue Reading →

The Most Important Part of a Vacation

Airports always remind me, not unpleasantly, of a cathedral and a carnival crammed together. Impossibly tall ceilings, long lines with crying babies, the ability to buy a bunch of shit you don’t actually need, the promise of greater things always ahead. I find comfort in the monotony of it, the cultural camaraderie when I can... Continue Reading →


Today was one of the best Thanksgiving’s I’ve ever had. Between classes they sometimes, as they did today, have meetings. All the students and teachers gather into the front of the school and various announcements are made. Today, Elizat and some of my students announced that they were thankful for me. They read some beautiful... Continue Reading →

Kyrgyz Hospitality

I was trying to put money on my internet modem today, but the store was closed in town so I went to a house my father had taken me to before. I knocked on the gate and when it opened a young child told me to wait and she fetched her dad, Nursultan. Nursultan couldn’t... Continue Reading →

A Day in the Life

Yesterday I woke up at 10 because I’d stayed up watching Mad Men until after 12 the night before. When I woke up I could tell it was gonna be a beautiful day so I stayed inside and watched more Mad Men. When I tired of that I picked up a book I didn’t really... Continue Reading →

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