Chillin' in Tashkent...

Trip Start Jan 15, 2005
Trip End Jun 01, 2005

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Flag of Uzbekistan  ,
Monday, May 9, 2005

Hey everyone, I hope you are doing well. I'm pretty good, I've had a couple of days to relax and do nothing, my scabies are getting better, so I think I'll be heading "home" tomorrow. I'm anxious to return, to be gone for 6 days is a real disruption in the settling in process. I'm just hoping that my friends have left my bed ;)

One of the great things about my stay in Tashkent was that I was able to visit my host family that I had during training. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see them since I was so close. I called them yesterday to tell them that I was coming over, and I don't know if it was excitement in my mom's voice or she just couldn't hear me, she was talking really loud. I took my normal route to their house, and even that was a walk down memory lane, I remembered all the times that I took the bus and subway with my friends and the sites along the way. When I finally arrived on my street and saw my house approaching, I have to be honest I had some butterflies. It had only been three weeks, but this was the first time seeing them again, and I wasn't sure what it would be like. But as I may my way off the bus and to the house, I could only smile and walking through the front door was like I never left. I saw my host sister, Shaknoza, first, and we hugged and greeted each other. Then my mom came out, and the look on her face just said so much about the relationship that had developed during my stay with them. What surprised me the most was the welcome I received from my host dad, he shook my hand and gave me two kisses on the cheek. Perhaps I didn't expect that because I'm a woman not related to the family, but with that welcome I felt like part of the family:)

I settled into my normal routine with them, they were making dinner so I helped. It was like old times. We talked as much as we could, but really it was just nice to be in each other's presence. I had dinner with them, somsas and salad, mazali!! Somsas are found all over Uzbekistan, you can make them at home or buy them on the street for a snack. They remind me of a turnover, with a flaky dough on the outside, but with whatever you want on the inside, meat and onions, potato, pumpkin (in the fall and winter), apple, or greens (in the spring). Oh, we also had fresh strawberries. Strawberries are everywhere now, and they're cheap, 1 kilo is 400 soum ($0.40). The fruit will only get better, yeah!!

They asked me all kinds of questions about life in Chelak, what my family is like, what kind of food I eat, my work, and about the house I live in. I told them about my scabies, and they chuckled. They told me I should stay in Tashkent, where they don't have scabies, and the food is better. They are sweet. I didn't realize how much I missed them and how much I enjoyed living with them, until I left and came back to visit. When I left 3 weeks ago, I wasn't sure how consistent I would be with keeping in touch, but I know now that we will maintain contact.

Today I went back to hang out during the afternoon. I arrived around lunchtime, so we had lunch outside, in the beautiful courtyard. The garden has really bloomed in the 3 weeks I've been gone, the banana palms have gotten a lot bigger, there are beautiful roses, and the grape vines are starting to show baby grapes. They say in Uzbekistan, "Juda toza havo," or "Very clean weather," and that described today perfectly. After lunch I helped make chuchvara, little tortellini's filled with meat and onions. Being there today again, I felt so at home and comfortable. Shaknoza and I napped, and everyone did his or her own thing. It was nice not to be treated as a guest, and constantly looked after and talked to; we just smiled at each other with an understanding of how good it felt to be together again.
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