Thursday, October 4, 2007

My Life So Far

I am currently living in Khujand, in Microdistrict 18 with the Джумабаева family. There are three children living at home (Tahmina, 30, Padramon, 26 and Nigina, 20) and one woman, Medina, 24, who is married and lives with her husband and child. On my first day, Padramon (who likes to be called Garry) pointed to me and then to himself and said, "brother and sister." The mother and father's names are .....but I cannot speak with them much as they know no English (and my Russian has a long way to go). It is fun trying to understand hand gestures for a change.

Though I feel very welcome in their family, I am still treated as a guest. When we eat our meals (on the floor at a small table near the TV) I am always given the spot next to the wall, with a blanket and a pillow and a good view of the TV. We eat dinner together everyday, but for breakfast and lunch we are left to our own devices. Tahmina, Nagina and I all sleep in a different apartment in microdistrict 19 and nice walk away from the parents home. We leave this house at 6 am every morning and do not return until 7 or 8 at night.

The three of us girls sleep together in one room on kurpacha, cotton-filled blankets laid on the floor. Though there are three rooms in this apartment, we use only this one and the other two are virtually empty, save for one table and chair, the only furniture in the whole place.

At 7 or 7:30 in the morning after helping to clean up the breakfast, I take the microbus to the Waldorf School. Microbuses are essentially old and rickity vans with up to 15 people crammed inside. I stand by the side of of the road to wait my microbus and when I see 9A, 52 or 74 I wave out my hand and the bus (usually) stops to let me in. In the event that a seat is free, I sit, but most of the time I have to crouch for awhile until someone gets off. I hand my money (35 or 50 dirams which is about 10 or 17 cents) to another passenger who hands it to another until it makes it's way to the driver. The car is silent until someone wants to get off and then commands of "Dorit!" (Tajiki) or "Astanaviti!" (Russian) stop the van. Fortunately for me, my stop is right by a market where many people usually get off, so I don't usually have stop the bus, but every now and again I say "Dorit!" myself and then the driver looks at me funny before stopping.

The school yet another walk, not too far, through the dust and cracked pavement that is all Tajikistan roads. The school grounds themselves are all dust and pavement, and building is grey concrete "Waldorfianized" by some colorful cut glass in the shape of animals.

I stay at the school for just five hours, from 8 until 1 and I eat lunch there: hot Tajiki dishes and tea prepared by the school cook, Barbarosa. At 1 o'clock, I go home to nap and study Russian or to the internet cafe (where I am now). And then, soon enough, it's dinner time, and we are all tired and we watch TV and go to bed.

More again.



eoghang said...

Reruns of West Wing perhaps?
Great to read this, thank you. I wonder how different the waldorf school is from those in the U.S.

Richard in North Juarez said...

Hola, Aisling,

I've just read your blog entries and you surely are having a great trip. My experience overseas gave me a greater appreciation for both other countries and for the USA. In an earlier post you mention how so many dream about going to America. That is true, in my experience, even in countries where U.S. foreign policy is hated. I'll always remember stumbling home about 3 a.m. one night, after a party, shortly after I arrived in a "hostile" country, and seeing a long line already circling the U.S. Embassy to seek visas when the consular section opened up.

Have a great time and keep posting. Your friend Richard in El Paso

Orla said...

Hi aisling, wohoo it sounds amazing such a different lifestyle i hope you keep in touch miss you xxx Orls

Anonymous said...

Hi Aisling--It is fascinating to read about life in Tajikistan. Love to both you and Canyon. Leslie Blair

Jeanne said...

Hi Aisling,
Cameron is packing up. Jesse's mother brought things to help the guys teach children in Honduras. We went to REI today to get a few clothing items on sale and some insect repellent. Jesse says place is poorly run, but the children are worth it. They've all had the gastro problems.

Andrew quit his job at Gage. He's weighing options.

Saw Eurythmy troupe last night--the Touched Twice performance. Everthing was beautifully tended including lights, music, gestures, colors of silks, movements. Cameron and Rick went to here Pepe Romero thanks to Thales and the Smiths.

Sounds like you are making the most of the unusual situations such as meals and opportunities to speak more German. Your having definite roles to play will help you feel more purposeful and "at home". Hope Canyon's living situation is working for him. Our greetings to you all.

Love and blessings flow,

Stargazer said...

Tajikistan? Not sure where that is on the map. Hope you have good times there