22 July 2011

A Day in the Life

A Day in the Life

So, because a certain someone named Skippy requested it, I give you a day in my life in Kyzyl Jyldyz. With pictures and commentary. I should also give a disclaimer that some of this doesn’t happen daily, it just so happened to happen today when I had my camera with me and was on the mission of fulfilling this task. :)

This one’s pretty easy to figure out – it’s my bed. This is where I sleep. Obviously there’s Lumphy and Bobby. I get up sometimes with my alarm (yes, it is ‘Chelsea Dagger’ so I’m not quite leaving my Hawks to rot, although there’s going to be no one from the team left by the time I get home!) and sometimes just sleep until I can’t sleep anymore. Which is nowadays somewhere between 8.30 and 9 am. Crazy, huh?

After waking up, I come over to my dresser and get my toothbrush and green H2O bottle ready to head outside where I’m allowed to actually brush ‘em. Yeah, there’s a bunch of random stuff on my dresser – normal though, right?

Then I walk outside to the shoe ranch, whose name I just made up, to find some shoes to slip on before exiting the house. Easy on and off shoes are definitely the best, especially for summer time. It just takes too damn long to tie up trainers and Chucks. I need to think about getting some bazaar shoes (the giant blue sandals near the middle), they’re hella cheap and supes fashionable around the village.

Once outside I head to that little patch of yellow-y lookin’ grass. That’s my sink. Awesome, huh? As this picture was taken a while ago, there’s now a GIANT field of sunflowers near those trees in the background. I sincerely love brushing my teeth and starin’ at ‘em. They’re gorgeous. In fact, I’ll put in the picture I took of them just now!

After brushing my teeth, I usually head back to my room and sit at my desk for a while doing random shit. Mostly surfing Facey-B and checking email. There really isn’t much else to do on the internet when you can’t look at pictures, videos, or spend copious amounts of time on Tumblr ‘cause it’s far too expensive. I wonder what kind of interwebz nerd I’ll be (if at all) when I get back…

You can kind of see the edge of one of these at the top of the above picture, but since I didn’t have enough tape to hang up all my pictures individually like I have done since Edinburgh, I made a couple of collages. They were a nice creative outlet (and helped with the boredom) during my first month and it’s so awesome to wake up every morning and be able to say hi to you guys even though you’re so far away. It also helps remind me of all the swanky and crazy stuff I’ve gotten to do. Makes me miss you all too. If you want your picture to be hanging on my wall, I’m going to need you guys to send me some pictures. I’m in love with snail mail, especially when there’s silly stuff in it! 

This is also exactly what you’d think it is. That wooden box (God, why couldn’t it be the TARDIS?) in the background is my outhouse. It’s actually a surprisingly wonderful one ‘cause it’s so new. But even with others that I’ve used, my numerous camping experiences have helped prepare myself for whatever comes. And as for the tools that are in a semi-circle guarding said outhouse, I can’t really explain it. I assume it was the 3 year old who’s currently living with me. Kids.

Once I’m ready to leave my house and do something in the village, I head out along this road. It’s basically the only way I can get anywhere (I’m on the outer edge of anything). On the left side of this picture, that’s legit the edge of the village; there are only fields and crops over there. It’s an EPIC place to take pictures though. My friend Dave and I ventured out that way one weekend and got some amazing shots. Can’t wait to show everyone.

A little further past the picture above is the well where I sometimes get my water. Most of the time I’m lazy and just get it from the little creek/stream that’s right outside my house – hey, that’s what filters are for, right? – but when I’m feeling really ambitious I’ll come to this guy. It’s really actually kinda scary to use. The thing is about a billion years old and acts like it’s going to break down when you’re using it. Hence the creek. Haha.

This is getting closer to the heart of the village. For some reason I really like going past these few houses. 

Yes, that is a giant pile/stack/stockpile of cow chips that I get to walk by every day. Attractive, huh? But seriously though, they’re amazing for starting and maintaining fires, which is a godsend when you’re trying to banya and/or cook with the giant kazan thing (you’ll see that in a minute).

This is my school! There’s an almost-basketball court to the immediate left of this picture (you can see one of the ‘hoops’ in this pic). Wonder if we can get a real one? We’ve got about 450ish students at my school. My teachers are all awesome and funny – we all bonded pretty well when I got shithoused with them a month ago. Gotta love the ever-flowing araq (vodka).

Alright, so THIS is the playground. Crazy, huh? It’s literally just a bunch of metal structures that are supposed to be fun. And the one that looks like a gi-hugic smile? Yeah, those are monkey bars. That go up like 15 feet. No way in hell my kids are gonna be playin’ on this thing. What happened to good ol’ slides and little Tic-Tac-Toe boards?

This is a close-up of my school. My classroom is on the first floor, basically straight across the hall from the door that’s on the furthest right. There’s a gym type area on the second floor (on the left of this pic). Awesomely, that’s also right next to the cafeteria-kitchen place they’ve got. Cannot wait to get started here. :)

This is a really awful view of my counterpart’s house, but it works. She was cleaning the tushuks today which are those colourful things hanging on the line in the background. They’re basically giant, comfy sleeping mats that Kyrgyz use when housing guests. They’re my best friends.

This picture basically sums up my life in Kyrgyzstan – chai iching. Simply put, it’s where you go guesting at someone’s house and shove your face full of tea, bread, and jams. It’s slowly becoming one of my favourite things to do; I love just sitting and talking (or attempting to) with these people. Let’s just hope my language will get its shit together so I can be good at it.

And this handsome wee devil is my counterpart’s youngest son. I’m going to steal him. Like, legit. Pretty much my favourite kid in the village. Hands down. <3

If I want to go anywhere outside of my village – whether to go to the bigger bazaar in Kirovka or visit other volunteers in Talas or their villages – I’ve gotta pass this guy. It’s the dam that blocks Kirovka’s reservoir and I guess supplies water to the valley where I live? But anyway, yes, you are correct if you guessed that was Lenin. It is, in fact, the World’s Largest Lenin Head. Be jealous.

I swear water on this side of the dam shouldn’t be doing that. But it does and when the sun’s shining right, it makes for stunning rainbows.

Alright, so this is one side of the outside kitchen. The oven/stove on the left side is powered by electricity and the one on the right is powered by gas. I guess gas is super expensive and a pain in the ass to get from Kazakhstan, so most of the time we use the one of the left. Gotten really good at only having two pots goin’ at once.

In between the above picture and this one (which is the kazan) there’s a small table where we can prepare food and what not before using one of the cooking implements. Basically, this guy is a giant Russian oven type thing. You make a fire underneath – the cat we have likes to climb in the fire pit, so we have to double check before lighting up – and there are two holes where the two bowl things sit and heat up. The big one of is used mainly for plov (the fried rice dish I eat all the time) and other soups. I haven’t quiet mastered the kazan yet, but give me time! ;)

After consumption of and cleaning up of dinner, I head back to my room to either watch something on the good ol’ Mac (I’m now steadily working my way through Dexter; still waiting for HP7 and Transformers 3) or I’ll bust out one of these guys or my Kindle and read until I fall asleep. Which then brings you guys all back to that first picture where my bed is.

Hope you guys enjoyed the crazy day in the life of me while in the Peace Corps. I’m sure once school starts in September things’ll be super different. Same thing with winter. I’m actually stoked at the pictures I should be able to take during then. Now I’m off to hopefully banya (I will seriously shit myself if this actually happens, I’m so excited) and then attempt to make myself a curry.

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