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 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 →

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 →

From Mere Illusions to Real Magic

We stood in the customs line at Rome's Fiumicino International Airport. A sign said E.U. citizens to the left. Visa holders to the right. Everyone else in the middle. We were in the middle—and longest—line. Ahead of us stood a young Korean American couple. They were chatting with two middle-aged women who were just ahead... Continue Reading →

Learning to Run on Gravel

My dad once told me that when he was little he could run on gravel barefoot. Looking at the small rocks that were our driveway, I was a more than impressed 10-year-old. He might as well have told me he used to be able to walk on hot coals. Of course, it all comes down... Continue Reading →

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