“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!
Jengil bar — Oor kel
Жеңил бар — Оор кел
“Go out light and come back heavy”
Thin tendrils of ice fractured the surface of the puddles in the street. My breath broke the morning air as I clomped along in faux-fur lined boots to the bank.
“How much would you like to take out?” she yelled through the glass.
“63,000.” (About $1,300, or the price of a small horse.) I answered back, trying not to sound too conspicuous.
“How many thousand?”
I punctured the glass with my words. The two other people in the room had stopped moving and were now staring.
“Do you have enough on your card?”
“Here—write your pin number on this paper.”
She slid a scrap of a post-it note and a pen under the window. I wrote it small and passed it back. She punched it in, and the money was there. Her coworker came out of the vault with the top of an old cardboard box filled with cash. She began counting it out.
“Where are you from?”
“Here, in Kochkor.”
“No, where are you from, from?” The daily question came early today.
“What’s your name?”
She asked me to scratch my name down for her and passed me back the same slip of paper with my pin code on it. I ripped it off, wrote down my name and passed it back.
Her name, it turned out was Akjol, or “Goodluck.”
“Goodbye, Goodluck,” I said, a hand in the air and 63,000 som in my pocket. “And hope you can hang onto some,” I thought. It seemed like the bank needed it.