Hey guys! So now that I’ve been evacuated from the riots in Bishkek and the deposed president has run from his life and the interim government is taking over Kyrgyzstan, county by county–I can update this, because my evacuation site has mad wi-fi. When life gives you lemons, use your refugee wi-fi to look up quality lemonade recipes.
It’s funny to me to be logging onto WordPress to write about books under these circumstances. I don’t intend this blog to turn into a Peace Corps blog, and it won’t; if you want to know what I’m up to (aside from the more gritty business of political unrest and museums burning to the ground, my life revolves around a Kyrgyz dictionary, a flock of sheep, a blue outhouse, and watching gold-toothed young shepherds chain-smoke and beat my ass at soccer)–email me at email@example.com and I will send you my monthlyish emails. But this huge shift is interesting. Already I am realizing that the useless/useful dichotomy of having a large mental library is present here, but totally different in the Kyrgyz context.
To be specific: Reading English during this training period is a relief as well as somewhat a waste of time, since I’m supposed to be working really hard on Kyrgyz. But to cope with the immenseness of trying to understand a culture that is Soviet/nomadic/Muslim/angry/wonderful, it is absolutely necessary for me to remember the thousands of various lives I have read about in books (as nerdy as that sounds and is). And on the other side, there are very few books in Kyrgyz, and nothing good has been translated into the language, because so few people speak it. Facing the task of teaching English to students who have never written a creative essay in their life, I’m wondering what the exact life benefit is of learning, so early, to read, think and write like this.
With that context–a far cry from my old context of “I’m going to get in my pajamas and eat a grilled cheese on my bed and bitch about anything popular”–updates to come very soon. I got the Internet, bitches.