Not only was the 4th of July party a blast, but there was a lot of personal progress this week, too, like…I found a cow to feed my compost to; I successfully incinerated the heap of toilet paper; and I faced up to a hunk of cow carcass to buy meat for our hamburgers. Indeed it has been a great week.
For the 4th, we gathered everything we could to make it festive, from hanging red/white/and blue mardi gras necklaces some friends had sent, to making red/white/ and blue friendship bracelets, to painting “God Bless America” on three foreheads, to rigging a water sprinkler out of a plastic water bottle. The sprinkler was key as PCVs would run through it after arriving from their long journeys from other parts of the Ferghana Valley, or we would take turns cooling off as we cooked. I personally ran through it every half and hour, or anytime I wanted to feel that giddy childhood excitement of running through a spray of water.
Even though we didn’t have proper barbequing equipment, I was so determined to have a proper 4th that I managed to cook sixteen hamburgers and twelve hot dogs – all inside a wok!!! All told, they came out great – never underestimate the patriotism and ingenuity of an Asian American! But what made it truly American was the supply of Heinz ketchup, mustard, and relish that another PCV was generous enough to share out of his latest care package. There was also potato salad, coleslaw, homemade potato chips, plenty of watermelon, and a chocolate-chip-peanut-butter-cake to top it all off. It was the best meal that most of us have had in months. For entertainment, one of my Andijon sitemates came up with a game of American trivia Jeopardy, with categories like American Presidency, West Wing, US Currency, Saturday Night Live, Seinfeld, National Monuments, American Literature, Movies, American Airports, and State Capitols – all that was missing was a Simpson’s category. It was wholesome, relaxing and fun. We were like a small island of American patriotism smack in the middle of Central Asia.
At work we are preparing for a children’s camp in Kyrgyztan at the beginning of August, while also finishing up our documentary on children with disabilities in Andijon. Later this month, I will have to go to Tashkent for more Peace Corps training and to also attend a volunteer conference. So its a busy summer and time is flying by much faster than I ever anticipated – so much so that I’ve actually forgotten about my weekly countdown…there are 90 weeks left and it felt like yesterday that I announced the 100 mark.
Biggest challenge in the next couple of weeks is deciding on an apartment. Being on my own for the past few weeks have made me realize that living alone is better than staying with a host-family. Wish me luck...