I am leaving Dushanbe in a week. Well, nine days. Or to be even more specific, I currently have 202 hours left in Dushanbe. The going is bittersweet. I am excited to see my family, but mostly I really want to sit down and show them all the pictures I have taken and tell them about all the things I have done. Really, what I want is for the time to slow down. There is still so much left to be done; so many things to see and experience, and I was just getting used to everything. It seems like such a waste to leave so soon, when there is still so much to learn. So, in this final blog, I would like to talk about what I will miss about Tajikistan.
Things I will miss:
- Coming downstairs in the morning and coming home in the evening and being greeted by my two‐year-old host sister, Somaya, yelling “Jekka,” and throwing herself at my legs, trusting that I will catch her and throw her up in the air. She says my name exactly the same way my sister did when she was just learning to talk and could not say Jessica.
- Philosophical and theological conversations with my host father, Nozim, and the rhythm and consistency of his prayers.
- My host mother’s cakes. Gulbahor makes the best cakes. Her other cooking is also good, but her cakes are to die for. And how Gulbahor is always giving me more and more food and saying, “Jessica, geret, (take).”
- How my name sounds in Tajik, the stress on the first syllable and the –i becoming a long “I” sound.
- My host brother, Masud, attempting to teach me to read and write in Tajik, and not just in Farsi. I am sorry Masud, but I am leaving Tajikistan a complete failure in that respect. I promise that when I return, I will make you proud.
- My oldest host sister’s smile. I have learned so much from Muazzama about patience and service. It also helps that she makes the most delicious nan I have ever had in my entire life. If I could shrink her and take her home with me, I would.
- My younger host sister’s energy and passion. Gulnouzza is everything a 12 year old should be. I pray that she never loses her spirit.
- The history. Even though Dushanbe is a young city, the history of the country is everywhere. I will miss being able to be part of that.
- The ability to travel within Tajikistan for so little money and have some amazing adventures.
- The music. I have found I really enjoy Tajik hip-hop and rap as well as traditional music. I may not understand why Tajiks really like Enrique Iglesias and find it imperative to play his music in their shops, but I really enjoy Tajik and Uzbek pop. It will be difficult getting a hold of new music at home.
- The clothes. I have never felt as comfortable in my own skin as I have felt here in Tajikistan, where modesty is encouraged but not required. It has been freeing. Also, I felt such a sense of accomplishment the day I finally learned how to tie a rimol, the Tajik headscarf, which I find to be incredibly beautiful.
I am sad to go. It does not feel like it has been enough time. Has it really been two months already? Where did the time go? I know where it went. It went into meeting new friends, and having adventures, and making memories to last a lifetime.
By: Jessica Willis
Program: Eurasian Regional Language Program
Term: Summer 2012