The last few weeks Bishkek have been periodically transformed into a wonderland of snow. The city grows agitated then retreats to calm, quieted under a muffling blanket of snow in the apartment complexes, away from busy streets. The snowy intervals are followed by movements into warmer temperatures, dripping, slush everywhere. The icicles that sometimes grow longer I am tall melt, break, fall off with a crash in the mid-morning sun.
Today the snow is fresh but city-trodden. In places sparkling white, but lying on the sidewalks, khaki. Pressed like butter and brown sugar, which, if it had not been trampled by a hundred booted feet, would be perfect for cookies.
Last night, I decided I had been hit by a marshrutka, suffered a fatal head wound, died, and found myself stuck in a special purgatory they keep for study abroad students where they are forced to write papers indefinitely and they never get to see their families or boyfriends. I don’t even believe in purgatory. But that was really the best explanation I could come up with for my life as I shuffled home in the glittering confetti snow crying all the way from Bellagio café on Bokonbaeva to my apartment down on Toktogula. Not because there were no buses but because I was mad and stubborn and didn’t want to play twister with twenty strangers for half an hour while I was having a meltdown. Forty minutes later, frozen, I was greeted by my loving host mom who took me into her arms. Of all my experiences studying abroad, having Mira Eje in my life has to rank in the top two at least. Maybe top one, because I can’t even think of anything to match it. It just goes to show that no matter where you travel or what you do in life, creating meaningful bonds with people is really the richest treasure anyone can have.
The minor catastrophe I was experiencing seemed to subside after a few hours after necessary phone calls and emails. I slept. I woke. Hours stretched on as I tapped away at my keyboard, stretched, tapped some more, started laundry, wrote, twirled my hair, wrote, had a thousandth cup of tea. Oh God, let me out of this place. I went to Vanilla Sky for probably the tenth time this week to work with internet. Typed more. Thought more. Tried harder. I always get to the point where I just think, “Ok now I’m just going to have to write a crap paper.” The thing is, I’m not actually able to do it. I’m plagued with thoroughness and have to reach some kind of completeness. Well, about twenty minutes ago, I did it. I plugged in the last footnote and reached 3,363 words. And it’s not a crap paper. It’s not the best or longest paper I’ve ever written, but given the circumstances, I feel that it is an accomplishment. Now for starting on those little errands around Bishkek to wrap up my stay here.
Two days and I leave. It’s a crazy thought. I've been listening to Donald Miller's book "Through Painted Deserts" at night before I go to sleep, and a few nights ago as I was drifting off, I caught this apt little snippet: "Everybody has to change or they expire. Everyone has to leave their home and come back so they can love it for all new reasons." I feel the exquisite gratitude of being in a place so far from home, and of going back to hearts I know and love. The miracle of airport meetings and cedar-scented reunions, noting with peculiar bitter sweetness how much higher your small brother’s head is off the ground than when you left. Auld Lang Syne and all that jazz. Merry early Christmas ya’ll.