So we just completed phase 3 which is the final stage of Pre-Service Training so now we start Phase 4, the entirety of our service. When I left Issyk-Kol on the train three weeks ago I was thrilled to be reunited with my besties who live in different oblasts and I couldn’t wait to see my first host family. I don’t know if I’ll ever really understand how I was able to make such a connection with my family when I didn’t speak the language, like at all. Granted it was better by the time I was leaving to permanent site but still not great. But I did and I was excited to come back and to see my little homie Erbol, who is two and stuck to me like glue. Coming home late and getting a huge hug from all my family members and my brothers being so happy to see me just warmed my entire soul. I sat down with some delicious stuffed peppers and happily chatted away with my family and received a stream of compliments about how good my Kyrgyz is now. And it felt like home.
Phase 3 I think will contain some of my favorite memories of my PC experience. Being with my best friends all day every day and essentially being frustrated working on our language and sitting through sessions. Then spending the weekends in Bishkek staying in apartments, going shopping, eating everything in site and indulging in all kinds of other activities. Being back with my favorite people and strengthening our relationships even more and getting closer to people that I was friends with before but didn’t know as well definitely recharges the soul a little bit (ew how cliche and gross sorry guys). The amount of times I cried laughing, danced my ass off and felt successful in both my language and work were uncountable these last three weeks. Being close to those who understand what I’m going through and being able to talk about our sites and what we’re working on and some of our plans just made me feel so proud of these friends I work with and who I love. Of course the natural sessions of complaining about the things that are shitty happened and being able to talk through our problems with each other just puts it all in a new perspective and gives new light to the situation. And I really can’t tell you (like I really can’t) the amount of fun I had these last three weeks, not only with my group but my besties from the group of volunteers that have been here for a year joined us as well so only trouble can come from that (and I of course mean the good kind of trouble). But I can show you a select group of pictures from the three weeks.
We had a change of plans the last weekend in Chuy, we chose to stay in Bishkek two nights for our last weekend instead of one (which was an excellent choice) and when I told my host Mom on Thursday about the change of plans I was met with a sad face and her telling me that on Friday night they were going to make pizza for me and we would drink beer and spend the night celebrating and saying goodbye, but that she understood and it was ok. I was of course heartbroken and immediately felt like a horrible daughter, so I started packing and doing laundry and cleaning my room before I left. When my brother came to get me for dinner I was greeted with a smiling host mom, she told me she had ran to the store to get the ingredients for pizza and she bought beer for us to drink together. I proceeded to excuse myself and cry in the outhouse. I just felt so loved and so part of a family in that moment. I sat down and we had the usual argument about where Erbol would eat because he refuses to sit anywhere but right next to me. I happily ate my pizza and enjoyed a dinner with my family and sat and drank beer with my Mom.
I won’t lie it was hard to leave my little Kengesh family and when they dropped me off at hubsite on Friday morning I had a quick little cry for myself in the parking lot. They made me promise to call and they told me they would send me Merat’s school pictures and lots of pictures of Erbol as he keeps growing but man I’m gonna miss them. I know I’ll always have a place to stay in Chuy and I know they’ll always be my family. Of course when I got home to Karakol it felt right and my permanent family was happy to see me and wanted to hear all about my training and the work I was doing. Karakol feels like home and it’s nice to know I have these two places while I’m here and I’m lucky enough to call them both home.
Sitting here at Karakol Coffee and thinking about Phase 3 writing this post I’m smiling like a fucking weirdo thinking about the past three weeks. Tomorrow is the first day of school and I genuinely can’t wait. I’m so excited to get started and to begin teaching and planning teacher trainings and just to get to work. Now that training is done I’m really ready to do what I’m here to do.