“Makal” in the Kyrgyz language means “proverb.” Kyrgyz is full of wonderful and puzzling little proverbs – some that match common proverbs often heard in English and some that are real head scratchers. Most Mondays I’ll post one of the more fun ones for you. Let’s see if we can’t make some of these commonplace in America by the time I get back!
Mekeningdin kadyry bashka jakta bilinet
Мекениңдин кадыры башка жакта билинет
“The value of your homeland is known once you’re in another place”
This proverb conjures up the melody of Big Yellow Taxi: “Don’t it always seem to go—that you don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone…”
When a volunteer extends their service for a third year, the Peace Corps kicks in a free month-long trip back to the states in between the second and third year. This is quite the perk and currently this volunteer is enjoying his Minnesota summer quite thoroughly.
Onion ring towers bigger than your face and maps of America made out of beer labels. It’s gonna be a delicious month of July.
It does seem to take some significant time spent out of the United States to realize how good we have it. Most Americans enjoy everyday opportunities that would be considered privileges in many other countries. In many ways I took for granted the comfortable life my circumstances, upbringing and family have allowed me. For this, I’m grateful.
On the lighter side, having been living outside of the states so long the absence made me forget many things I once had—only to be discovered upon return to these closer shores. And I mean discovered, of course, in the same way Columbus “discovered” America. So hang onto your cockle hats Americans—here they are—my discoveries:
- First and foremost, judging by the above paragraph, I seem to mostly have been being in the forgetfulness state of English usage. Methinks I need to study this book.
- Being able to mostly speak the native language is kinda nice and (for the most part) I’m not all that socially awkward.
- Mosquitoes and 95% humidity are actually not that pleasant.
- Toilet paper goes IN the toilet.
- The joy of utilizing the personal manifest destiny machine aka the automobile
- Frozen pizza
- An entire bag of Chili Cheese Fritos fulfills all your daily needs for calories, fat and sodium.
- (And on a related note) America shrinks all your clothing. Food just tastes better when it’s red, white, and blue!
- Everyone shows up so early to stuff. I show up right on time, 30 min. late.
- Not having good internets, I’m now catching up on all the youtubes.
- I follow my family members around on errands because I’ve found they tend to buy me food.
- Disc golf. My goodness, how I’ve missed you! I just fell off on a tangent of watching more videos. (And I’ve hit up 6 different courses since being back.)
- There’s a lot of stuff and things. I kept taking pictures of the size of food containers at Sam’s Club.
- Parades and dancing ice-cream cones.
- There’s family here! And I missed them. Also, weddings take a long time to prepare for. (Congrats Marie!!)
- I like it.
Thanks America! And thank you Peace Corps for the trip!
Stay tuned for part 2 in which I list the top things of value about Kyrgyzstan that is becoming known to me now that I’ve been away for a few weeks! Мен Кыргызстанды сагындым…I miss you Kyrgyzstan!
If you’ve returned home after spending significant time outside of your native land, what were some of the things you re-discovered?
After 2 years in Asia, the blue (not red) Post Office drop boxes stuck out to me. And, while driving around rural midwest, I thought, “There are so many white people!” 😉
I enjoyed your post, Luther. Enjoy your month!
Hey Sarah! Yeah, that is true- in Japan they’re all red for sure. I can’t say I can picture many post boxes in Kyrgyzstan- most people send letters and packages by taxi- it’s cheaper and faster!