Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy 2009!

First of all my apologies for, once again, falling behind on my blogging. The holidays through January has proven to be a very hectic time! Apparently the holiday spirit can follow you anywhere around the world and then some seeing as it has been a month since my last entry.

Since my last update Christmas has come and gone. Once again all the Jalal Abad crew got together and created an amazing holiday feast. By far the highlight of the meal was Fritz’s homemade eggnog; it had real eggs, real whipping cream and a lot of bourbon! He said that beating the eggs and whipping the cream by hand was quite the experience! After a non-traditional Christmas dinner- chili and cornbread- we had a gift exchange. I received a pair of mittens that one of the volunteers knitted, they were absolutely beautiful! I thought only machines could stitch things that pretty!

By the end of our Christmas weekend, New Years was just around the corner and so before I knew it I was preparing for people to come in once again for another holiday celebration. This time the group wasn’t quite as large, but yet again, we cooked up quite the feast and brought in the New Year with Moldavian Champaign and Chinese fireworks- both gave me reason to fear I might not live to see much of the year 2009!

The following week flew by as I prepared for my first trip back up to Bishkek since I had been at permanent site. I, with the rest of my volunteer group, were to go to the capital for a week long training. The first two days were spent with our counterparts, I brought my director. Having my director to myself was a real gift seeing as she is always so preoccupied with work. I really took advantage of the time and got to know her and learn more about her long term visions for the NGO. The rest of the week was dedicated to debriefings on security, health care, program details, and language lessons. The days were long and the sessions became fairly tedious but every evening all the volunteers would get together, have a couple of drinks and just hang out. It was so fun to hear about what people outside of the south were doing.

By the end of the week I had become quite sick and just wanted to go home, but I had planned on staying an extra day and doing some shopping while I was in Bishkek. So I spent my last day in the north running around the city and ended up with six pounds of brown sugar, a bottle of tequila, a bottle of rum and two new DVDs!!! I’m not going to lie, I went a little over board with the brown sugar!

But now I’m back in the south where it is starting to warm up. Most of the ice has melted and I am now walking to work every day which gives me about an hour of easy exercise and lots of fresh air. February is going to be another busy month. I have plans to help out with three camps in the region that other volunteers are organizing. Peace Corps helped find funding for volunteers to put on winter camps for students because majority of the schools will be closed through February due to the lack of heating in the school buildings.

At the apartment I am feeling more and more at home as each day goes by. I had been hoping to get a kitten to keep me company during the week, but Ian surprised me with two parakeets so no cat. The parakeets are really cute, its so funny to watch them interact with each other!

Well that is about all that I have been up to over the last month. My apologies again for the month without a post, I’ll do my best to catch up and put up some extra good stories this month!

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