Living with a host family of all brothers makes me like a bit of an alien. They don’t really know what to do with a sister, they have female cousins but living with a girl seems pretty new. While I’ve been able to talk to my brothers with the very little Kyrgyz that I know, a simple hi how are you basically every chance I get, it wasn’t until they were playing with their other cousins that I really got my in. Since I’m very tall my female cousins assumed I played basketball and then from there I was able to play some kind of ball game and essentially just run around in the yard with them for the rest of the evening. Then there it was, the connection, my host brother who I could barely get to smile at me was chasing me around the yard and yelling my name to play with him. I don’t know why I didn’t try playing in the yard with them until now, I was apparently more focused on trying to learn the language and speak to them when I should have been trying for the basic kind of communication. Play. That’s the same in every language.
Something that’s also the same in every language is eyebrows. Luckily the women in my family have excellent eyebrows and have jobs in beauty and cosmetology so I was able to mime a conversation about eyebrows with them, which went really well. I unfortunately don’t have the language yet to explain to them the “eyebrows are the breakfast of the face” theory but hopefully I’ll get there. I also don’t know if breakfast is important here so we’ll see it might not translate but I’ll attempt to give it a shot. Speaking of beauty, something that’s so dumb and I’m so pissed about but is such a small thing for some and is such a big thing for me is nails. I love having my nails look nice and that’s just such a thing for me to have my nails painted and looking nice every single day. So before I left I bought some new cuticle trimmers, nail clippers and other things to bring with me. I got the Ulta brand tools, which weren’t cheap, and they’re so shitty. Trying to simply trim my nails not even do anything with my cuticles was horrible. This is one of those things where there are certain every day things that are uniquely special to each person and when they can’t do those things it effects them and as weird and unimportant as it may be to others having good nails is one of those things for me. I’ll have to either import some good tools or see what I can find but this is gonna have to change.
I’ve found it’s the small things like this that really help this adjustment. I can get used to things like not having internet every day whenever I want it, even not texting constantly seems normal even though it’s only been a couple days without it. Watching TV that I don’t understand or even the big things like using an outhouse instead of an indoor bathroom, all feel normal. It’s the things like not being able to cut my nails the way I like, not having the right kind of notebook and forgetting my Camelbak, those little every day things are what I wished I had and what I would recommend to always bring no matter where you go. Those are the things you’ll want, not the big things. The big changes will feel like the norm much sooner, but the little things that you like and that help you to feel like you’re at home; bring those. Bring good tools, bring flash cards, bring good pens, bring pictures, bring your Scotty Dog pillowcase because trust me those are the things you’ll want. (Also feel free to mail me good nail clippers and cuticle trimmers cool thanks).