two phrases

There’s a big difference between:

“I can’t believe we’re living in Kyrgyzstan!”


“I can’t believe we’re living in Kyrgyzstan!”

The first one is what I thought as we finally finished transferring all of our stuff from the shabby apartment to the nicer, cheaper one. Farrell and I sat on a couch that wasn’t broken and enjoyed a meal of Russian pirogi with good mustard and black bread. Life was looking pretty sweet and I had one of those corny, naval-gazing moments where I sighed and felt content with the situation I managed to flop in to. So the first phrase is said with excitement and joy, I can’t believe we’re actually making this happen, living abroad and making our dreams come true.

And then there is the second one.

The second one has run through several crummy situations. Like the first week of worst-food-poisoning-of-my-life, the language barrier, the really crappy first apartment, getting yelled at by random old ladies and cab drivers, AUCA’s sometimes Soviet-style bureaucracy, and the lonely feeling I get when I realize that I’ve remained inside my apartment all day because I just have no comprehension of what I would do if I walked outside.

The second one is exasperated and depressed; I can’t believe we voluntarily abandoned our friends, family, cute apartment, stable (though miserable) jobs, a nation of people who speak the same language as us, and really freaking good Ethiopian restaurants to come live in a third world country that just overthrew its government and had violent ethnic riots, where the national drink is fermented horse milk and meals are based on pieces of mutton fat.

Right now we’re clutching the second phrase. There’s been a snag with getting the NGO off the ground and I can’t tell if the scale of it is comparable to a bump in the road or if the metaphorical angry mobs of Kyrgyzstan are forcing it to give up its dreams of success and flee to Belarus.

At least we got a cat.