Ten Things I’ll Miss About Central Asia
- The food: Lagman, Beshbarmak, Ganfan, Baursak, Chok-chok, etc.
- The public transportation system: The buses and taxis are a cheap, easy, and (usually) quick way to get across town. I’ve never lived somewhere with such a good public transportation system
- Almost everything costing half or a quarter of the price of things in the US: A real dinner for $2.50? I’m so ruined to American prices
- Hospitality: people love to make us tons of my first reason I’ll miss Central Asia
- How easy it is to make new friends because anyone who even speaks a little English will come and strike up a conversation: Most of the people involved with our group are involved because they heard us speaking English (or saw us looking, well, American) and wanted to hang out
- Mountains right outside my window: Gorgeous
- All of the genuine friends I’ve made these past 8 months: It’s amazing what happens when you not only share Jesus with people, but also your life
- The hilarious things people say when English is their second language: Like referring to Jesus as “God’s baby” and saying “Attack!” instead of “hike” in football
- The kids at the orphanage: Even if some of them do call me “Mama,” haha
- The amazing opportunity to share the Gospel with hundreds of people who’ve never, ever heard it before: Definitely what I’ll miss most
Ten Things I Won’t Miss About Central Asia
- Groups of guys shouting “Baby” at me because all the English they know they learned from rap music: Also swear words
- Stores and restaurants giving me pieces of candy and gum because they don’t have any change: I’d planned to collect enough of them to completely pay for a meal in gum since they demonstrated to me that it functions as currency, but I never got around to it
- Really slow or non-existent internet access: Next year I’ll have better internet, which will significantly cut back on time and money spent in internet cafes. And I can finally learn who this Justin Bieber fella is
- Having a curfew even though I’m 24 years old: “I’d love to hang out, but my dorm mom gets cranky when I’m out past 11.”
- Group showers and only being able to shower during certain times of the day four days a week: They also break frequently. I “showered” in the sink a couple days ago
- Trying to speak to people about complex topics but being unable to because both their English and my Russian isn’t good enough: You try explaining the nature of truth to a post-modern pluralist Muslim—in Russian. Yeah, go ahead
- People answering their cell phones no matter how important what they’re currently doing is: Aggghhhhh!!!
- 8:30 AM class: I really do enjoy the class, but God did not gift me to function in the morning
- People calling me and then hanging up immediately so I have to use my money to call them back (slang: to скинуть [pronounced: ski-newt] someone)/people hanging up on me in the middle of me talking to them: Unlike in America, virtually everyone here uses the pay-as-you-go method for cell phones, so you’re only charged if you make a call, not if you receive it. Hence the skunyt’-ing. For that same reason, people hang up really fast here so as to not waste money—even (especially?) when I’m talking
- People telling me they will try to come to something when they have no plan at all to come: “Insha’Allah” (Arabic for God-willing) has become our slang to be the English equivalent of a “NOT!” joke. I.e., “I’ll definitely come to your party, God-willing” = “I’ll definitely come to your party… not!” Only kind of joking
Ten Things I’m Looking Forward to in America
- Mexican food: And, honestly, fast food in general. So sue me. I’m American
- Book stores: Seriously considering buying a Kindle or iPad so I can still buy all the books I miss out in living in a country without English-language book stores
- Netflix (i.e., English-language movies): Man, I’ve missed seeing so many movies. I know Avatar was cool-looking, but wasn’t sure why those mean people killed all those blue things
- Driving: Hope I remember how!
- Of course, the opposites of many of the things in the Things I Won’t Miss List: I.e., showering every day, good internet, etc.
- Swimming: Ok, by swimming, I mean playing in water. Swimming pools cost a lot in Central Asia!
- Speaking in my shoddy Russian and having people be amazed: Да, я красавчик
- Sharing the things God’s done the past 8 months: Hopefully, I can inspire others to come to this largely unreached part of the world with the stories of Jesus’ grace and goodness here
- Continuing to share Jesus with people: my English is a bit better than my Russian, after all
- Seeing my friends and family I’ve barely talked to since August: see reason number 3 of Things I Won’t Miss About Central Asia