So, I made it to Issyk Kul, had myself the best shower I’ve experienced in months, and got down to business with the training. Damira and I are talking about expanding the banya because, as it turns out, there actually is one in Kara Suu. It was built by a Swiss NGO years ago and is really small. Actually, a fair number of people use it, even though I’m still running to Kirovka once a week to use the banya there.
We attended two days of training sessions about the grants available from the Peace Corps, their requirements, and how best to apply for them. We also worked on getting a plan together – figuring out what the process will be to get a project under way and completed. At the same time, about thirty other Volunteers and their counterparts were developing projects of their own. There looks to be some really cool and exciting projects coming this year. I can’t wait to see them become a reality.
It wasn’t all work though.
Remember, most of us hadn’t seen one another in more than a month and it was like a weight off everyone’s chest to hang out, unload everything that’s happened, and relax.
The hotel where the trainings were being hosted was amazing. I already mentioned that the showers were a life saver – unlimited high pressure, hot, water. Couldn’t ask for anything else.
The grounds were something else too. Fall has really kicked into high gear and the colored leaves were left on half bare trees or blowing around in piles. The beachfront was completely deserted except for those of us at the training. I guess no one wants to go to the lake when it’s in the mid 50s out.
It was definitely chilly, but not chilly enough to prevent me from convincing Eric and Neng to jump off the end of the pier with me on Wednesday night. It wasn’t as bad I was expecting. That’s not to say that it was comfortable. It wasn’t.
And before I knew it, it was time to head back.
It was hard to say good-bye to the people I’ve been friends with since arriving here and those that I became better friends with over the course of the conference, but in all honesty it was time to get back to Talas. That’s where my job is and that’s where I’m supposed to be.
So as tough as the good-byes were, we said them, and settled onto a marshrutka for the long ride back.
The photo doesn’t really do it justice. The peaks on the south side of the lake were something to see.
I went for some pretty pleasant walks.