Growing up I remember waking up to the smell of smoke in the air and the sound of our neighbors yelling. Living in Kyrgyzstan I became used to the rough culture of the Russians and the Kyrgyz. When I walked around the streets I could see the poor begging for money and the rich laughing in their faces as they walked by. As I got on to the local buses I could smell the stench of the people combined with the smell of a cigarettes burning. I could smell the alcohol on their breath as we stood shoulder to shoulder and I had to constantly remember to keep my hand over my wallet. When it came my time to get off I had to try and yell over the people talking and hope that someone would pass on the word to the driver to stop. When I stepped off of the bus I could smell the greasy food being cooked and the smell of fresh bread being baked. I could see a loaf of bread tucked in a tree because the Kyrgyz believed it was a sin to have their bread touch the ground. Kyrgyz culture believed that bread is a gift from God and should never touch the ground.
I was living in Kyrgyzstan because my parents work brought them there. My parents were involved in church planting and setting up businesses for the Kyrgyz people. I was dragged along with them when i was 2 weeks old and lived there till i was 11 years old. Growing up with the soviet culture was a quite an experience and it changed my life for ever.
As I opened the doors of the restaurant the sounds of people on their phones overwhelmed me. I walked over to the table where my friends were waiting for me. I ordered the usual I had grown to love the smell of logman. The greasy handmade noodles and the massive chunks of beef all mixed in together with a bunch of vegetables.It was obvious to tell if someone was eating logman, if they were bent over with their nose touching in the bowl. Logman was so greasy that when you were trying to eat it the grease would spray all over your shirt.
One of my favorite things to do in Kyrgyzstan was going camping in the mountains. Living in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan gave me multiple opportunities to do this. In the summer my family and I always went up and camped on one of the many mountains. One year we went on a trip all the way around Lake Issyk Kul. Every day we went to a new location, the first day we stayed right next to the lake where there were huge sand dunes and caves that looked over the expansive lake providing an amazing view. All day we went exploring the caves then we got on top of the sand dune and could jump off the side and slide all the way to the bottom. When it came time to settle down and go to bed we realized that the night was not going to be as peaceful as we thought. We were attacked by mosquitoes. Some people abandoned their tents and settled with sleeping in their cars instead. For the few that braved the night we woke up early the next morning with mosquito bites on every inch of our body. The next day we traveled higher into the mountains hoping to escape the mosquitoes. When we got there we set up camp then we had a national take us to a natural hot water spring. It was about a 20 minute hike to the hot water spring but when we got there it was all worth it. The water was nice and warm, a nice change from the cold air. Even though it was summer when we entered the mountains and started to get higher we could feel the weather changing and getting colder every minute. After the hot spring some of the group went on to see ice glaciers. This was an adventure in itself on the way they were attacked by horse flies and forced to turn back.
From all the memories of being in Kyrgyzstan the ones that I remember the most is the beautiful mountains that surrounded the city in the distance and the utterly wonderful taste of their food. I will always miss Kyrgyzstan.