Finding your way around a foreign city can be difficult, especially if you don’t speak the language. But in some countries, especially in Europe, you can rely on the people you meet to know English. Not in Central Asia. The rest of my team and I have been feeling our way around the city using our broken Russian, but it can definitely be hard at times. I’ve managed to order food (pointing helps a lot), ask what street I’m on (somewhat successfully–she told me what street we were coming up to instead), and direct a taxi (using cross streets, but still!). Today, however, a few of us invited a new friend along that we met in the dorms. I’ll use the pseudonym Viktor. He’s Central Asian-Chinese and speaks Chinese and the local language fluently, and Russian conversationally. He also speaks a little English. As in, only slightly better than we speak Russian. But nonetheless, today when we went to the bazaar to try to buy pots (which we didn’t buy because they were too expensive), Viktor was incredibly invaluable. It’s awesome to be connecting with some non-team members. Definitely pray that we’re able to continue to make good connections and good friendships with people like Viktor in the dorm.
And tomorrow at 7AM, he’s running with me and one of my roommates. Let the fun begin. :]