30 March 2011


Alright folks, it’s ‘end’ of Day Four – as in it’s 7 pm and have just finished dinner and am ready to pass the hell out, but have been advised against it for at least a few more hours to help adjust to time zone jumps and jetlag – and my mind is about ready to explode. In a good way, obviously. But no, seriously, I have digested SO MUCH information over the past 96 hours: policies, procedures, names, acronyms, rules, etc. Crazy stuff. Despite the fact that all of our brains are maxed out, PST (pre-service training – keep track ‘cause I’ll probably be lazy and use these more often then spelling them all out) has been tolerable due to our seriously immense group of people. The K-19s are an amazing group of people. The size of our group is significantly smaller, almost half, than the K-18s – 70 something to our 43 – but we make up for it in our general craziness and enthusiasm (Mom!). I really hope that the dynamic continues to stay like this, because I would not mind having these people be the ones that I consider family for the next two years and probably the rest of my life. I laugh all the time. Literally – ALL. THE. TIME. I think that’s been one of the things that’s been most helpful in my ‘adjustment period’ (if you can even call it that having only been here for four days). Our group takes my mind off on all the stuff I left at home and we’re all together in our tweaking about the next 730-ish days. So incredibly grateful.

We’ve already started learning the Kyrgyz language with a very jump in and sink or swim kind of attitude. Luckily most of the PCTs (Peace Corps Trainees) and I are so eager and nervous about the language that we don’t really mind. I mean, we are meeting our host families TOMORROW (OMGeezy!) and it’s highly unlikely they’ll be fluent in English, so it’s our turn to get our shit together and attempt, even if it’s hysterically embarrassing to watch, to speak Kyrgyz. It’s hard to explain a close equivalent to the language itself, the closest I can get is: a combination of Turkish, Arabic, Russian, and a tiny bit of German. I know, random, right? But it’s true. And I consider myself very, very lucky to have studied both German and Arabic – it has helped dramatically in terms of pronunciations and sounds of certain letters. Let’s hope it continues (insha’allah). However, one of the things that’s really kicking my ass is the fact that my brain has bits and pieces of so many languages rolling around in my head that when I’m given something by one of our teachers, I automatically say ‘Asante sana.’ Note to self: Swahili is NOT Kyrgyz. Nor is ‘La ahtikelum…’ (‘I don’t speak…’ in Arabic). ;)

As I mentioned before, tomorrow is host family day. Can I just say that I’m incredibly nervous to meet them? I’m not so much nervous about them as people… Ok, I’m lying, I am a little bit, but more so the language barrier and the extreme difference in cultures. While I’ve lived in other countries before, I’ve never done any type of homestay experience. I’ve always been with other English speakers who interacted with people who spoke another language. I’ve never been in the position to have to do the awkward charades over dinner the first night or the grunt and point to understand what certain objects are. Daunting, but still exciting at the same time. Let’s hope that my family has a sense of humor and are ok me making a complete ass of myself in front of them. I’m assuming they will be as most have had trainees in their houses before. Fingers crossed on this one. Haha.

[Ri: I’m currently listening to ‘Goodbye’ as I type this and am literally bouncing in my skin anxiously waiting for the cast soundtrack and drooling over how beautiful(ly talented) AT is. <3]

And since my brain is overfilled, as I said before, I think that this might be the wrap-up of the first ‘real’ blog entry from K-stan. I don’t know what my interwebz access will be like after tomorrow (we’re going into Bishkek to an internet café so people have a chance to let friends and family know how they’re doing), but will write and update when I can. Be patient with me. :)

Miss you all loads. Anyone who wants to send me left over Girl Scout cookies or seven hundred pairs of wool socks is more than welcome to. Haha. See my previous entry for the address. Just kidding though. I’m doin’ fine and not craving anything major. HOWEVER, I LOVE getting snail mail letters. Like, fo’ shiz. It’s one of my favourite things on the planet. I’d love you about a gazillion times over if you wrote me a letter and let me know what’s goin’ on in your lives. And once I master the Cyrillic alphabet, I’ll even attempt to write back (a sentence or two) in Kyrgyz. Yeah, you know you’re ready for that.

The adventure really starts tomorrow. Keep me in your thoughts. Will update you guys when I can.

26 March 2011

Let's do this.

Here we all are. In the waiting area at JFK four hours before our flight to Istanbul. Talk about fucking surreal. It seriously doesn’t feel like I’m hours (well, days really) from getting to this place that I’ve been thinking and hearing about for MONTHS. It doesn’t feel real that I’m going to be with all 43 of these people pretty much every day for the next three months and by the end of this they’re going to be my ‘family.’ Completely unreal.

The past like week has been insanely rough, I’m not gonna lie. So much to the point that I really don’t think that I’ll be able to write about it just now for fear of me just drowning my computer and one of the other PCVs who’s sitting next to me. Awkward, right?

I also wish that I could come up with a much better entry to have as my exceptional ‘last one from the States,’ but apparently, my only 7 hours of sleep in the past 3 days is kind of kicking my ass. And it’s only going to get more awesome when I won’t sleep through my flight to the ‘Bul (10 hours) and then a gihugic layover and the swanky 6 hours to Bishkek getting in at a BEAUTIFUL 2 am. And THEN to make it even more awesome – we have to go straight to work a few hours later. BAM! We’re awesome.

Scared shitless about what’s ahead, but at the same time excited. Everyone’s relatively awesome, so hopefully it won’t seem like torture being with them EVERY DAY. Haha. Just kidding, it’ll be awesome. Ready to get my ass kicked.

Everyone keep me updated on your lives. Seriously. I want to know. And I’ll try to do the same with the blog, but you know the whole internet in rural areas thing. ;)

OH! And before I forget (which I totally did already):

Kyrgyzstan                                             Кыргызстан           
722140, Kant City                                ин. 722140, г. Кант
97 Lenina Street, RUPS                      ул. Ленина 97, РУПС
Mailbox #22                                          аб. ящик № 22
Sarah Hopkins