Not To Be Outdone: Our Travels in the West

The alarm sounded at an hour no alarm should ever sound. Ever. It was 3:30. In the A.M. It was our last day in Rome, and from Rome we were going to Menorca, Spain, where we'd spend several days just the two of us before beginning the rounds to visit family and friends spread out … Continue reading Not To Be Outdone: Our Travels in the West

Places Where Flowers Bloom: Our Debt to the Poor

September 2014 We sat opposite each other on short, backless stools in Baatir’s backyard. A pair of well-worn shoes in hand, Baatir punctured another hole in the shoe’s rubber sole with an awl, hooked the piece of thread he carefully held on the inside of the shoe, and pulled it back out through the hole. … Continue reading Places Where Flowers Bloom: Our Debt to the Poor

Dreaded Crossings, Part 2

This is post number two in a two-part series. Click here to read part one. "I don't have tenge," I told the Kazakh driver in Kyrgyz. "You can get some," he assured me. And with that, we were off. Sure, nearly five hours had passed by that point since I'd left my house en route … Continue reading Dreaded Crossings, Part 2

Dreaded Crossings, Part 1

I stood behind my American friend at the Kyrgyz-Kazakh border. It was raining from a cement colored sky, and so everyone was pulled in tight underneath the blue corrugated plastic roofing overhead. The crowd funneled into four main lines, marked by green signs printed in Russian and Kyrgyz: two for Kyrgyz Citizens, one for Kazakh … Continue reading Dreaded Crossings, Part 1

Bakit’s Chinese Restaurant

It'd be kind of like naming an Italian restaurant "Mike's." The name of our favorite Chinese restaurant in Bishkek is Bakit, a name as common in Kyrgyz as Mike is in English. Bakit means "happiness." Our current working theory is that Bakit, or happiness, is the translation of the yellow Chinese characters above the door … Continue reading Bakit’s Chinese Restaurant

Places Where Flowers Bloom: Sheep Eyes, Bride-napping, and Fasting

July 2014 We took our dusty shoes off at the open door and pulled back the fly net. The small, two-room home into which we stepped was built for one reason only: practicality. All expenses spared. The first room of the house contained a sink, some counter space above which several cabinets had been mounted, … Continue reading Places Where Flowers Bloom: Sheep Eyes, Bride-napping, and Fasting