Wishing for Barf for the Holidays

барф (barf) means snow in Tajik, by the way.

As I sit here in the relative luxury of Dushanbe, I realize that it's been quite a while since I last wrote a blog entry.  I apologize; I know that you've been waiting with bated breath.

Summing up the past month: свет нест has become a daily occurrence leaving only a few hours of non-generator electricity per day (thus sketchy internet and no electric heat); following-up on my successful sheep slaughtering, I managed to procure a turkey for Thanksgiving and cook a fairly palatable meal despite the limitations; I may or may not have crossed over into Uzbekistan during a recent weekend hike; my doctor host father has asked me to procure a prostate stimulator for a patient during my international holiday travels; and finally, all of the New Year holiday decorations are out in full force around the country, complete with Boboi Barfi (Grandfather Snow) and "New Years Trees".

The holidays have always been a time to reflect for me.  Whether it be because I am often far from "home" and separated by many miles from family and friends or because it signals the end of a year and the impending beginning of a new one with endless possibilities, this time of year brings with it a special opportunity to step back and gain perspective.  My time here in Tajikistan is more than half over.  Despite many setbacks and stalls along the way, I feel like I have accomplished a great deal and learned volumes more.  Tajikistan has got a hook in me, so I know that when I leave in 3 months, it won't be last time I'm here.

Below are some photos from the last month.  I'm headed out early tomorrow morning for a two week adventure to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan ... with a little detour to Amsterdam for New Year's; a reunion with another place that is close to my heart.  I'll try to post some updates from the road.  Expect a full debrief once I return mid-January.

Oh, and Happy Holidays to anyone who is still reading this.  I miss you all!

So many chickens ... where's the turkey?


The hiking crew

Thanksgiving dinner