Thursday, December 11, 2008

New Apartment

One of Peace Corps Kyrgyzstan’s requirements is that you must live with a host family during the three months of training plus an additional three months at permanent site. Living with a host family has numerous benefits including familiarizing volunteers with local culture and norms, language improvements and having family members show you the ropes around town. But living with a host family has been one of my biggest challenges during my service. Don’t get me wrong, I have been blessed with very comfortable homes, great host siblings, I have been included in weddings, I was present for the birth of a new family member and I learned infinites about Kyrgyz culture through these families. I can honestly say that I have really benefited from living with my two host families. Unfortunately America has instilled a sense of independence within me and I can only deal with so much of living in another family’s home! I am yearning for my own kitchen, for my own schedule and for the freedom of knowing that I am not inconveniencing someone while I go about my morning and evening routines. So come ten days, after I have served my time with host families, I will have my own place!

It all happened so quickly, less than two weeks ago my NGO director took me to look at a little apartment about 20 minutes away from the office and by the end of the week I had paid my first month’s rent! My future pad is a furnished apartment on the ground floor of an apartment building with one bedroom, living room, kitchen and get this; an indoor toilet! For the last six months my bathroom has consisted of an outhouse with a hole in the ground, but from here on out there will be no more going out in the cold winter nights to pee, just that sweet sound of a toilet flushing! Life will be good!!!

The kitchen is small and the oven can only be closed by propping a heavy board against the door of the oven, but it works!!! Last weekend I spend a couple of nights there and successfully made a loaf of corn bread with that oven. Had I seen this place 6 months ago I would have considered that kitchen impossible to cook in but I have learned a lot since then and last weekend I successfully make tacos, chili, corn bread and omelets!

In addition to the apartment I also have a huge veranda! Come summer it’s going to be great! I showed a couple of volunteers the apartment and the second they saw my veranda I could see each of them planning and arranging summer barbeques and at my house! Right across from my veranda are four little stalls, kinda like a mini bazaar, where I can buy any basic item including eggs, fruits, flour, sugar, soap, candles, bread and of course vodka!

As hard as it will be to say goodbye to my thirteen year old host sister, I think this apartment will have a huge impact on my peace of mind and comfort levels. Plus I’ll be able to distract myself from the cold by decorating my new home during the winter!

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