Thursday is my busiest day. I’m only signed up for three courses at AUCA but they all meet on Thursday. Yesterday’s classes involved a test in Beginner’s Russian and a group project in Political Research Methods.

Bwugh, group projects! It can be summed up as me trying to talk over a handful of chatty Kyrgyz teenagers while they goof around in Russian until one girl finally turns to me and asks, “Can you understand any Russian?”

Nope, angleeski pazhalstah. English, please.

Followed by a triumphant episode of paying our internet bill and a shopping trip at Beta Store, Farrell and I were pretty exhausted by the time we got home last night. I lay on the (broken) couch and considered that I’d rather watch some Russian soap operas and drift off to sleep than put in the effort necessary to think of something to eat for dinner. Wither away on a couch, or cook some dang food. I never thought the choice would be so difficult.

Now, I love difficult cooking projects. I mean, I make croissants, pasta, and all sorts of tougher-than-usual dishes. But not this time. I kept myself thoroughly entrenched in my comfort zone, no thinking outside the box. Bread, ground meat, cheese; a taste of America that needed no extra creative flair and just tastes good. A hamburger to my native ears, known as a гамбургер, “gamboorger,” in Russian.

The recipe? It barely even deserves mentioning. Dice half a baseball-sized onion and a clove or two of garlic. Put in a bowl with an egg, a palm-sized scoop of bread crumbs, several hearty pinches each of salt and black pepper, and mush together with two fist-sized scoops of ground meat. Shape into two patties and cook in a hot pan over medium-high heat. Flip after about five minutes. Top with a slice of cheese and cook for another two-three minutes. Buns, condiments, etc. You know how it goes.

Of course, these weren’t completely American-style burgers. Good ole ketchup and mustard, soft and fluffy buns are tough to come by at the supermarket (especially ones that only carry Turkish brands). Improvisation was necessary. Our burgers were topped with a red sauce that, from what I could determine from the picture, is made of peppers, eggplants, and garlic. They were nestled between a sliced hunk of fresh lepeshka, a large, circular Kyrgyz bread.

And if I do say so myself, they were pretty darn good. Done fast with minimal effort. I was soon back on the (broken) couch watching a soap opera about a gypsy family.

To finish off the night, Farrell even prepared dessert. A local specialty.