21 Jul

This past week, I helped (and I use the term “help” lightly, as it was so stellar I did very little) at a friend’s summer camp in a town two hours from here. I will be frank: it was so damn beautiful, team. I’m not knocking our little slice of heaven here in the center of the country, but it is not this:


or this:

from google, as my upload is no longer working

or this:

ditto. thanks, google!

Can you imagine waking up every morning and seeing a MOUNTAIN?? It’s hard not to get a wee bit site envious.

Needless to say, as our little marshrutka pulled away back towards home, I tried to gulp in as much mountain glory as I could handle.

When I returned back to site, it was to a grateful spouse and welcoming host family; it felt marvelous to return, but I missed that cool mountain breeze and the deep green of the trees.

Today, though, I woke up with said spouse and braved the bazaar. We found some envelopes and an electric tea kettle, which we’ve been coveting for awhile. I actually enjoyed walking around all the people and taking in the hustle and bustle of downtown. We even ran into someone we knew! Eventually, we made our way to our site-mates home for burritos and camaraderie.

There certainly wasn’t a stirring, precise moment or revolutionary action but at some point in the afternoon I realized that a good lunch with friends and a productive afternoon with conversation and laughter and some lab equipment and grant talk is infinitely more fulfilling than any rolling hill or flowing stream. Additionally, when we came back home this evening, our host aunt was in the process of making the most peroshkis (essentially potato and meat-filled deep fried heaven) in one sitting I have ever seen ever. We ate more than necessary and talked about Ramadan and chickens and everything under the sun. I had such a pleasant time just chatting and catching up, I finally understood what everyone means when they say “A good site is all about the people.”

We did nothing out of the ordinary (save the hanging of plastic sheeting for a lab AND the receiving of some amazing new sandals – hollah!) but it reminded me just how comfortable I can feel when everything else seems just a little off of the best path.

That doesn’t mean I’m not ever going to get the itch to explore on out of here; I love my site, but I think even the most dedicated could tell you these 100+ temperature days get a bit much and sometimes you just need to set your eyes on something bigger. What it does mean, though, is that after it is all said and done, after I’ve had a little time to hike and breathe it all in, I’ll be ready to jump back into our work here and happily try to figure out just what it is all about.


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