Places Where Flowers Bloomed: Temperatures Rising

November 2014 So there I stood in the entryway of our apartment manager’s home along with the apartment manager, her husband, our neighbor, and a roof repairman, and from the sound of it, things weren’t looking promising. You see, it all started a few months prior, when Laura and I noticed a small leak in … Continue reading Places Where Flowers Bloomed: Temperatures Rising

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

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

Places Where Flowers Bloom: Where We Finally Landed

June 2014 After getting evicted, we lived in our coworkers' apartment for about a month while they were in the States for the summer. The building was one of several in an old Soviet apartment complex built for workers at a now defunct brick factory. It felt like a Hyatt. Before these same coworkers left, … Continue reading Places Where Flowers Bloom: Where We Finally Landed

Places Where Flowers Bloom: Getting Evicted

May 2014 Week Four We pushed open the front door of a one-bedroom apartment in the northern suburbs of the city. Two of our coworkers were gone for the summer, and they'd left us their keys, "just in case." Such a case had come. We needed a new home. Looked like their place was it … Continue reading Places Where Flowers Bloom: Getting Evicted

Places Where Flowers Bloom: A Long Month

Tidal waves of raw emotion wash over me as I reach back into my memory and revisit our early days in this country. To be honest, a part of me doesn't want to tell the tales. Perhaps they'll disappear if I can just keep them locked away long enough. But I know it doesn't actually … Continue reading Places Where Flowers Bloom: A Long Month

Places Where Flowers Bloom: Meeting the Landlady

Introduction The melted snow in our yard left a mess of mud behind. Dead leaves, twigs, and apricot pits littered the ground. We were glad the snow was gone, but the brown death it had for so long covered was finally revealed. Then it began to rain. Puddles collected. The yard looked like chocolate soup. … Continue reading Places Where Flowers Bloom: Meeting the Landlady