Friday, February 19, 2010

Its cold over here!

Despite the seemingly warm weather during the end of January and beginning of February, Jack Frost has returned to Kyrgyzstan and for the last two weeks we have had regular snow storms and lots of cold weather. The freshly fallen snow was beautiful but with every snowflake that fell all I was reminded of the frozen hell that was to follow.

Unlike in America, buildings here are not heated and streets are not cleared of snow and ice. This makes leaving my warm bed very, very hard. The only source of heat I have in my apartment is an electric heater which keeps my bedroom warm but leaves the rest of my apartment so cold that I have to bundle up just to go to the bathroom. I can even see my breath while I cook! The other day I woke up and went into the kitchen to make coffee and when I went to look out the window I couldn’t see anything because my window was covered in a sheet of ice…on this inside!

In spite of these discomforts, I am one of the luckier volunteers in Kyrgyzstan for two reasons; first is that I live in Jalal Abad which is the warmest place in Kyrgyzstan. We don’t see our first snow till December and spring sets in during the beginning of March. People who live in Naryn, the most mountainous and coldest part of the country, start seeing snow in October and don’t see spring till late April.

The second reason that I consider my situation significantly better than most people is that my office is heated. Many volunteers still have not returned to work since the winter break because their schools or offices are so cold that their sites have been closed till it starts warming up. I went by my site mate’s office the other day and the entire time I was there I wore my jacket and could see my breath. Props to him, if it were me I don’t know if I could find the motivation to go to work under those conditions.

Even with these luxuries I will still complain! For me, the worst part of winter is after the snow when everything turns to ice. The sidewalks become runways of death and the bazaar is a frozen hell! In addition to the fact that about the only thing you can find in the bazaar is carrots, cabbage and onion, shopping in the bazaar is awful because you still have all the pushing and hassling of the bazaar but its on ice. Knock on wood I haven’t fallen this year, but last year I fell and walked out of the bazaar with a cold, wet butt and mad as hell!

Right now, everyone is cranky because of the weather but everyday I remind myself that we are a little bit closer to my favorite season in Kyrgyzstan; spring.

P.S. As of today I have exactly six months till I C.O.S. (Close of Service) and leave Kyrgyzstan.

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