putting down roots


This is amazing. The weather is gorgeous. The living situation is working out better than I could have hoped, and the garden is really shaping up. Farrell and Carl (one of my housemates) spent nearly every afternoon during the week and all weekend planting, weeding, digging, watering and maintaining the garden. I can’t even fully express just how happy it makes me.

It’s a strange situation to be in, I think. Planting the garden, waiting patiently for it to fully develop, and I can’t help but get all sappy and metaphorical about my time in Bishkek. I’m putting down roots, literally and figuratively, but I still have no solid idea of how long I’ll be here, or what I’m going to be doing six months, one year, two years from now. Will I be around next spring and summer to do this all over again?

Things are going to be changing fast, I can tell. Things will get very busy at the company soon and we’ll fling people all around the country for various research projects (every single region of Kyrgyzstan, in fact). My housemate Juliska will go back to Belgium soon to have a baby boy. Some of my closest friends either have definite plans to leave (too soon!) or are talking about leaving Kyrgyzstan for good.

Meanwhile, we’re putting down roots, becoming more permanent. It’s a feeling that I go back and forth on a lot. I like the concept of travel, of seeing new places and experiencing new cultures, but I’m tired of the harried pace of the typical travel experiences; overnight buses, a new city every day, staying in hostels, reconciling the overwhelming feeling that I must push myself to see more and do more because otherwise I’m missing out on something. I need to go at my own pace, and being an expat is perfect for that. Settling in one spot is perfect for that. But every once in a while I can’t help but stare into the future a bit and wonder, “But how long?” How long until it’s time to go home? How long until I change my thinking from, “Yes, I could see myself living here for another year or so”, to “Yes, I could see myself living here for a decade or so”?

Recently I read this article about homesickness, and I listened to a close friend explain why he was ready to move back to the states after two years in Bishkek, and I watched Farrell and Carl put in the effort to dig up the yard with the purpose of preparing to wait weeks and months for any sort of outcome. I have to admit, I’m probably happier than I’ve ever been living in Bishkek, but the question of leaving is always hanging precariously in the back of my mind.

This post definitely took a turn I wasn’t expecting. I started with the intention of just posting more photos of the garden. Did I mention another tree in the orchard is blooming? Some amateur identification attempts tells us it could be a pear tree.

So maybe I should stop clouding up my mood with future thoughts, and just enjoy the fact that I’ll have fresh, on-demand pears to eat by the end of the summer.

One reply on “putting down roots”

  1. What a beautiful post. Definitely makes me think. If there is such thing a thing as having a harried expat experience, then I’ve done it. Have lived in Sweden nearly 2 years now but truth be told have probably been traveling for half of it. Now that my visa is almost expired and future very uncertain, I kind of wish I had taken it a bit more slow. Hope you guys will stay in Bishkek for a while, I reeeeally am dying to go and now hopefully see a Plov for 2 show 🙂

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