Alright, so, it’s pretty obvious that I haven’t updated this in quite some time. Quick recap:
1) ET’ed (early termination) myself from Peace Corps for reasons that go far beyond what I will write about in here.
2) Left Kyrgyzstan and moved back to Anchorage, Alaska.
3) Scored my old job back and have been spending my days passing time as a well paid admin assistant. Even though management swears that isn’t what my job is, I’m not yet convinced.
(I’m sure there are a few more details, but I mean really, that about sums it up.)
Why am I starting this back up? Well to be cool like all my other friends of course. It seems that blogging has been brought back from the dead in the past few weeks and now I have numerous friends who post to their own blogs and I am constantly amused. In an attempt to bring even part of that same level of joy to you, I am going to try and get back into this blogging thing. That is until I get bored with it again. Stay tuned to find out when that will be.
My first post after over a year of silence? I figure I’d better make it Kyrgyzstan related since that’s what this whole blog is supposedly dedicated to. I’ll have to figure out how to update this thing since apparently I did buy some vowels get out of a country that has none.
So, I’ve decided to write up my Top 5 grossest and most memorable experiences from PC. In true countdown style here we go:
5) Peeing myself on a walk home. So, we’ll start this list off pretty tame with just a little pee trickling down my leg. I am still not sure what happened to my bladder control while living over there, but it was quite a change from what I am used to. Most people who know me can confirm that I rarely have to get up and run to a bathroom. In fact on long car rides, I hate the idea of having to stop to let other people take a pee break. They’ve all informed me it isn’t normal that I go for the full 6 hours between Anchorage and Fairbanks and never need to stop to find a restroom. This fact just adds to the oddity of me almost peeing myself on numerous occasions while in PC. Then the day finally came that it happened. I was “downtown” Kant with a group of friends when we left the café we were at to all head home. It was about 25 minutes from there to my house, so I didn’t put too much concern in the fact that once we left I realized that I needed to use the bathroom. I mean, 25 minutes? Shouldn’t be a problem at all. WRONG. At one point I was scoping out the woods wondering if I would be better off squatting behind a tree than risking the next 10 minutes of pure bladder exploding pain. But I told myself, ‘no, you can do this Sweeney. Keep walking. Just around that corner is your street.’ So, I stuck my hands in my coat pockets and held under my bladder and hoped that my futile efforts would help me make it to the outhouse waiting for me over yonder. Little did I know that I was going to round that corner and literally be on the home stretch when it happened. In all fairness it was only a few drips. But it was enough to get me running wondering what was about to happen. Yeah, there I am, holding my bladder, pee drips running down my leg (THANK GOODNESS I WAS WEARING A SKIRT) in full pee dance “jogging” down my street. I just turned into my yard when to my unfortunate discovery my whole family was sitting outside waiting to greet me. Gritting my teeth through the pleasantries I threw my bag down near the front door and took off in full sprint to the outhouse. I knew at that point it really didn’t matter if I let it all go, cause what was the worst that would happen? Thankfully I made it into squat position and breathed a sigh of relief knowing that I made it in time. Then I looked down and realized that laundry day wasn’t for a few days and just sorta shook my head at the whole situation.
4) Scrubbing a full week of dead skin off. Going into Peace Corps, I knew that showering wasn’t going to be top priority on my daily agenda. Heck, I knew there’d be a good chance that it’d rarely happen. I came to terms with all that. No biggie. What I didn’t realize was the repercussions of not bathing. Sure, I knew my hair would be greasy, my acne would rear up again, and that I’d likely be surrounded by a cloud of smelly funk at all times. No one had told me about scrubbing off dead skin. The first time it happened I didn’t quite know what was going on. For anyone who hasn’t been in this predicament before, let me break it down for you. We didn’t have real showers. We’d bathe in banya’s, which is really just a sauna. You have hot water that comes from a pipe that is heated by fire and you bucket bathe with a group of other people, or if you’re lucky maybe just yourself and one other. So, picture this. Banya time is upon you. It’s been a week of pulling your hair back into a ponytail that’s greasy enough to make a used car salesman jealous. You go in and as the sauna heats your skin up, you start to notice it’s turning a slightly different color. Out of curiosity you sort of rub up your arm wondering what is going on. Not only does the skin start to flake off in your hand, but it balls up into oblong shaped skin pellets. Multiply this by scrubbing your whole body in the same fashion and you’ve got yourself one big pile of skin bits. Yum.
3) Puking out my 7th floor bedroom window. I spent a good chunk of my days over there fighting a losing battle with giardia. This meant a lot of days feeling sick and not able to travel too far from the safety of a bathroom. It also meant I threw up a lot. I hate, repeat, HATE throwing up. I grew to hate it even more during the middle of the night when I would wake up with a rush of nausea that meant I had better find somewhere to puke and fast. Most of the time, I woke up with enough advance notice that I knew I could make it out of my room and across the hall to the toilet, but one night I didn’t have that luxury. There I was asleep in my cozy couch bed and I awoke to the sudden pang of vomit rising in my throat. I jumped up and in my sleepy haze I threw open the window and started puking. I didn’t have the forethought to think about how that puke would land. Or well, not land. Since I heard it hit the side of the building all the way down, being sure to hit each and every window possible. It must have sounded like a rain of upchuck to my innocent neighbors.
2) A full night spent in the outhouse. As I mentioned, I puked a lot. And this story comes from one of my first real big bouts where it was me versus my insides. I had three separate infections that my body was fighting and this left me in a pretty miserable state of despair. On this particular night, I was camped out in the outhouse not able to leave its sight without having to turn and do the 'Kyrgyz shuffle' back to it for another round. Enter Marisa into this scenario. The best friend a girl could ask for. The type who will laugh in hysterics at you as you squat over the poo hole of the outhouse and vomit out the open door. There I was shooting various bodily fluids out of every which end when my phone rings. “Uh, hi, Marisa… You’d never believe what my life has come to.” I chat with her on the phone while I finish up what I was hoping was the worst of it and take a seat on the brick that holds up the sinking side of the outhouse. That’s when things hit a new low and I look over to the dogs have made their way over and are chowing down on the fresh vom. I just shake my head thinking that I never would have pictured this being my life. And I DEFINITLY couldn’t have guessed that within the next 15 minutes I would be back in squat position finishing up another bout only to find that the horses had made their way over to the party and wanted in on the action. The thing about that was while the dogs were small and easy to get around, I can’t say the same about the giant horses. They had squeezed themselves between the outhouse door and the fence in order to really get a good meal outta the vomit. This meant that I was stuck in the dimly lit outhouse until they finished their feast and went on their way. No amount of ‘scram horsey!’ was working on them until they cleaned up on the meal I’d left waiting there for them.
1) Poo’ing in a bathtub. Coming in at number one on my list and possibly the best story I have to tell comes down to the time that I had no choice but to do my business in a bathtub. Yeap, bathtub. Let me paint a picture for you. Summer in Bishkek hits mid to upper 90's daily and sometimes rockets past 100*. And with no air-conditioning it's pretty terrible for anyone, especially the Alaskan girl. Often I'd lay naked on my bedroom floor open so I could catch the slight (and I mean slight) breeze that'd travel across the room. So, this particular day I was miserable. I'd been battling an intestinal demon for the past 24 hours and the heat was killing me. Having to get dressed each time my bowels were about to explode and run across the hall to the bathroom was getting super frustrating. In a moment of genius I threw on a skirt so that I wouldn't have to keep putting on and taking off pants. I crawled up onto my bed to take a break from the floor and that's when it happened. As I sat there I let out a small fart. But was it really a fart? I didn't know and I wasn't going to give myself time to find out. I jumped up and went running for the bathroom. Unfortunately it was occupied by my little brother and that meant I needed to think fast. Thankfully the host family I was living with had an apartment with a separate bathing room from the toilet room. I rushed into the bathing room and jumped in the tub. I think I may have even started laughing at the absurdity of poo'ing in these people's bathtub, but really, this was the best choice. Not to get into super gory details here, but at this point in my intestinal confrontation with Kyrgyz bacteria nothing was coming out in a solid state. This really worked to my benefit, because honestly, what do you do when you find yourself staring at poop in the tub? You can't flush that shit. Literally. So, I just turned on the spray nozzle and cleared 'er out. Ultimate low.
So, there you have it. Top 5 grossest and most memorable experiences from PC. And before I end this here, I’d like to point out that these are the things that happened to me in the mere half a year I was there. Which means that I have friends over there who are still racking up these sorts of experiences on a likely daily basis. I have so much respect for all of them who are sticking it out and laughing these sorts of things off. I don’t know the count on how many of them have actually pooped their pants yet, but I am sure at least a few have. Congrats for becoming real volunteers, guys. You all are awesome.