Instead of studying abroad in France (too cliche), Spain (too safe), or Brazil (too few morals), you decided to live in a yurt in Central Asia’s Kyrgyzstan. You learned how to saddle a horse before you ate your first meal, and now you could catch a gopher with your bare-hands while blindfolded.
Sure you contracted gout after a month without even a milligram of iodine. But you wouldn’t trade the nine months (two bonus months because all the buses broke down!) for three pristine (BORING) weeks (SHOOT ME NOW) in the French Riviera.
After returning to America you hear the Kyrgyzstan national anthem in every Maroon Five song, and no one understands your desire for vintage Soviet silverware.
But you are not alone! Here are but a few of what holds us Kyrgyz-ers together!
1. Katie Couric’s mere mention makes your mouth water uncontrollably. Her name sounds too much like ‘Kuiruk-boor,’ the Kyrgyz national dish. And you just know Ms. Couric would taste wonderful wrapped in goat and sheep liver.
2. When your father cries, “Look what President Obama did now!’ you immediately correct him, “Actually its Deputy First Prime Minister Almazbek Atambayev. He is mostly powerless due to the pervasive corruption within the Kyrgyz political infrastructure. So I doubt he did anything Dad.”
3. You teach your children the alphabet like this, “A is for how ‘adequate’ Acting First Deputy Prime Minister Iskenderbek Aidaraliyev was – B is for Bishkek, the crown jewel of modernity – C is for Communism, which we shall always revere…”
4. You roll your eyes when an American talks about their town’s “rich history.” The Kyrgyz village you stayed in was burned to the ground six times by Genghis Khan.
5. When someone asks why you only speak in Kyrgyz proverbs you automatically reply, “Because a horse is a man’s whisper. A fox never stops devouring a defenseless child once it starts. If you are going to own camels you must build your doorway high enough.” Everyone stares in awe at your multi-cultural wisdom.
6. Rihanna’s voice reminds you of the Oriental Turtle-Dove’s call high above the Atlai Mountains.
7. A Kyrgyz study abroad reunion in America always turns out the same –
First, an afternoon at the local archery range – if no range exists a busy public park will do.
Later, laying rabbit traps in the same public park
After some excellent archer-ing you locate a poetry open mic and drunkenly recite all 1,849 stanzas of the Kyrgyz epic poem, the Shahnamah. Around one A.M. you terrorize every karaoke bar in the tri-state area by requesting Salamat Sadikova. Whether they have it or not you, thankfully, know “Кыргыз жерим” by heart. At the end of the night there are six empty jugs of heavily fermented Koumis. And piles of Lima-A-Ritas (you all still love America after all!)
Lastly, check the rabbit traps and remove any small children.
8. Honey Nut Cheerios are inedible without fermented camel’s milk.