I'm leaving Kyrgyzstan in 18 hours -- something that is awesome, sad, and very, very strange. Funny stuff that's happened to me in the past week:
- Last month, I did an interview (in Kyrgyz) with two other Volunteers on the Kyrgyz Radio Free Europe station for their youth-oriented program. We talked about our jobs, our villages, what we'll most remember when we get back to America, etc etc. I'd kind of forgotten about it until Tuesday morning when, as I'm having one last breakfast with my host mom, she mentions that all the neighbors heard us on the radio the night before. Then, when I get to Bishkek later that day, I'm talking with my cab driver and he suddenly says, "Wait...your name is Teresa? You're not the Teresa from the radio, are you?" So I'm kind of famous, I guess.
- On Sunday, I went to a toi (a party for the new house and the circumcision of the 7 year-old son of our host). According to my host aunt, every good Muslim must have at least one such toi in his/her lifetime. They invite every person they've ever known to their house and everyone comes in shifts to sit around a 'dastorkon' (tablecloth on the floor that everyone sits around), drink tea and/or vodka, talk, give blessings, and eat sheep and rice and multiple kinds of fried bread and candy and fruit til they burst. After you eat at the host's house, you then go over to one of his neighbor's house to do the exact same thing. It's kind of exhausting, actually...but something amusing usually happens to help pass the time. I'd been toi-ing for about 4 hours and was very ready to go home when, in a room full of other middle-aged women, my host mom suddenly hands me this box of something called "Voluptua" and asks me to translate the directions. I open it to find a bunch of little ketchup-packet-sized things and a brochure in which I, upon opening, found an illustrated set of directions about how to use lube to stimulate the clitoris. This was unexpected. Kyrgyz folk don't really talk about sex that much and, when they do, it's usually assumed that sex is enjoyable only for the man. So when I tried to explain the nature and purpose of lube, vaguely gesturing around my nether-regions, the ladies became very puzzled. Eventually, I just said it was for dry skin.