Two days ago our suitcases came! *hallelujah choir singing*
We spent a week and a half in Tajikistan without all of the "stuff" that we had carefully bought and packed back in the States. In a way, even though it was troubling (we thought that they were lost completely or stolen), it was a good exercise in detachment. After we unpacked our things and discovered the things that we bought what feels like ages ago, I felt almost too extravagant. Having lived in the city for a week without all of the "survival goods" that I thought I needed, it seemed like a mockery of my foreigner ignorance. It is know confirmed for me that virtually any large city you go to in the world, there is a grocery store that sells western toiletries--have no fear! It wasn't just me though...the entire group filled their suitcases with two deodorant sticks, huge bottles of shampoo and product to last six weeks, multiple soap and other hygiene products etc. We soon found out though that the Turkish-owned grocery store chain near our apartment, Orima, is stocked with shelves and shelves of Nivea, Dove, Colgate...you name it.
So now I'm sitting in La Grande Dame, the French expat restaurant near our apartment with 5 other people from our program. It also has free wireless internet :-) I am very impressed with the people in this program. Everyone is doing either their masters or PhD's having to do something with Iranian or Middle Eastern studies. Believe it or not, I am the only native Iranian participant. Two other students are half Persian but did not learn it as children. I am the go-to girl for colloquial Farsi but everyone else is so good at grammar, complicated vocabulary and elevated Farsi. I can already see my speaking and reading improving, although my reading skills need serious tutoring.
La Grande Dame (outside and inside):
I'll leave you with a quote of the day:
me: "I will have the mushroom and spinach quiche please."
waiter: "I'm sorry, no quiche, we have a serious mushroom problem."
"ta bahzdeed!" (until we see each other again in Tajik)