And by that I mean I miss it in a way that is exactly opposite of how I miss hell. I left my family, friends, language, culture, food, church, holidays, hobbies, ways of dealing with stress, support networks, country and that comfortable feeling of knowing you’re “home.” I sometimes pinch myself to see if I’m dreaming; am I really stuck in the middle of nowhere for two years?
But then I think about Nazgul, my counterpart. She’s never left an area the size of southern Minnesota, except this isn’t Minnesota at all but an equally tiny sliver of known universe lost up the side of a mountain. If I hadn’t been flung here in a Peace Corps blessed aircraft, I never would have met her. I never would have met any of these people, walking to school, planting their crops, building houses and flour mills and barns, driving their animals to pasture and driving them home again at night. People with stories as big as the open sky and bright as the stars that wash the valley. People who will spend half their paycheck to make sure you feel welcomed.
People ask me sometimes what I think is better, America or Kyrgyzstan. I answer, “America, or course. It’s my home.” “Ah, you must miss it,” they say wistfully, their minds wandering to nearer mountains and land well loved. “Oh home beloved where e’er I wander…” is what my heart starts to sing, “Though fair be nature’s scenes around me and friends are ever tried and true…”
The truth of it is, I’m going to miss this place too. I think everyone misses it when they’re gone, and you have to let that future knowledge affect your appreciation for the place today, no matter how shitty things are going or how fed-up you are with the whole lot. We miss things. And we’re going to miss this.