Here in South Dakota

As the heap of clothes, books, shoes, electronics, toiletries and other random things that I hopelessly plan to stuff into my luggage grows, so does the reality of everything that’s about to happen.  Kyrgyzstan feels less and less like a place on a map and more and more like a place I know; or at least a place I am about to know.

Along with that sense of reality that I’m about to leave for a rather long time (2 years), I find myself extra aware of the places and people that I’m about to leave for that rather long time.

While having breakfast with one of my best friends a couple of mornings ago, he asked me what I’m going to miss most.  Some obvious things came to mind like my family and friends, Mom’s cooking, the Black Hills and these are the things that I told him at the time.  As I drove home that afternoon though, I couldn’t help but think about it some more.

Sure we all miss our friends and family, the food we grew up with, the places we know, but those are the things that we know to appreciate even when we have them.  What about those things that we don’t notice?  Those things that are so familiar and ingrained in our routines that we don’t tend to notice them even when they’re right in front of us.

Here are some of the less obvious things that I think I’ll miss:

  • Driving and listening to my favorite radio stations
  • Folger’s coffee from an ancient coffee maker
  • Beers at the Knuckle Saloon
  • The exact location of the snooze button
  • Morning pine tree smell
  • The local evening news
  • Breakfast at American style diners on the weekend
  • Used book stores

I’m sure these things don’t even begin to scratch the surface of the million things that I’ll find myself missing during the next two years.  The most I can do now is pack every day with the people and places that I care about most and find a way make my luggage volume and my crap volume the same.


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About Cole Bedford