Six Months In

It’s been six months.  That’s twenty-four weeks.  It’s one hundred and sixty-eight days; half of an entire year.  It’s been six months – since we landed at Manas International Airport in April.

And as much as has happened in these last six months, as far away as leaving home feels, in the grand scheme of things it’s really not been that long.  The K-22s have been here for triple what I have.  I mean, if everything goes according to plan and I’m here for the full 27 months (as my blog’s subtitle so confidently suggests I will be) then I haven’t completed even a quarter of my service yet.  So, looking at it that way, now might be a little early for too much serious reflection.

Rather than reflecting on the last six months then, maybe the more appropriate six month anniversary post is about what a day of service (or at least MY service) looks like six months in.

Today is a Monday and if I’ve learned anything so far, it’s that Mondays suck regardless of which continent you’re on.  I stayed in bed until around 9:00; not only because I was trying to build up the energy to face the day, but also because it is warm it bed.  Outside of bed it is really cold – like REALLY cold.  Talas is at about the same elevation and latitude as where I grew up in South Dakota so the climate is pretty similar to what I’m used to, but “used to” is not the same as “comfortable with.”

I did eventually haul myself out of bed though.

As I am one of the few Volunteers fortunate enough to have access to a sink with hot water in the house, I got to wash up in the bathroom to wake myself up and get my (really rather respectable at this point) beard in order.

Breakfast was quick and standard: some bread made by Asel, butter made by the neighbor, a cup of instant coffee made by Nestlé, and an apple from one of the trees out back.

I donned by heavy Carhart, which I am ever thankful that I had the presence of mind to pack last spring, and made my way through the frosty morning to Aigul’s house for a Kyrgyz lesson.

Aigul and I met up with Damira and Duyshon – an engineer from Kirovka – about the banya expansion project that may or may not take place down the road.  It started to warm up around noon so I went for a walk.

Now, I’m sitting here in the living room next to the space heater, Grandma is napping on the couch, and instead of planning for English Club tomorrow I’m writing this.  I’ll send some emails about other Volunteers’ water projects – as long as I don’t attach any large files, it’s no problem – read a bit, and probably edit some letters written by  English teachers for a training.

And that’s about it.  That’ll be my day.  I’ll have dinner around 8:00 then listen to some music while I warm up my bed and drift off into a contented slumber knowing that I’ve done my Peace Corps duty for the day.

Some days, getting out of bed and dressed is overkill for what I end up accomplishing and then others are so overwhelming that I can’t remember what happened when.  Six months in, there’s really no typical “Day in the Life” but I suppose today is about as middle-of-the-road as it gets.


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About Cole Bedford