I wanted to write a nice closing post for Back to the Desert. I kept coming up blank. I'm still pretty empty. Partly because my mind has been on (in this order) leaving Tashkent and returning to the States, visiting all my friends and relations, Doug's and my road trip to Virginia and starting German language training. Maybe I didn't want to close the blog because I realized that living in and writing about Tashkent was just a small chapter in this new life (it still feels new, by the way) so it's really not over. Perhaps I've just been lazy. Take your pick.
Doug and I were given a very nice send off from Tashkent. The Ambassador offered to host a farewell party at his residence. We invted as many people as we could. In attendance was our music teacher, Mahmurjon, and some musician friends of his. We gave a farewell concert that included most of the songs Douglas and I had learned plus some wonderful instrumental pieces.
One of the guards at our housing compound with whom Doug and I became quite friendly wanted to give us a farewell dinner. We showed up at the guard shack after hours and found that he had grilled shashlik (shish kebabs). These were the best shashlik we had eaten in Tashkent. We practically didn't need our teeth, the meat was so tender. They must have marinated for a week, they were so flavorful. Thank you, Kudrat.
Kudrat and I enjoying the shashlik.
I went on a final hike the Sunday before we left (which was early Monday morning). The hike was a good one, which I had hoped. I wanted to be worn out for the 16 or so hours I had to sit on the plane. All told, it took us about 22 hours to get home.
What was the first thing we did, you may wonder? Well, I had to go out and buy underwear. All our baggage arrived except the one with all my underwear in it. Yes. That's what I wanted to do first back in the states. Try on bras.
Then I went to Taco Bell.
We enjoyed home leave, but it was exhausting. In my past, I remember being so jealous of the popular girls in school. So many people wanted to sit by them. They got invited places. After the few weeks Doug and I spent being the center of attention, I wish I could go back and tell my young self, "You don't want to be the popular girl, Laura." I loved seeing everyone. I wanted to spend time with them. And it was mentally trying. We gave a couple of presentations to two groups about our travels and I went to my friend Lulu's school to talk with her 8th grade Geography class about my time in Uzbekistan. Fun.
And we shopped. We need to get used to spending lots of money all at once rather than spread out over the years. For example, we stocked up on clothing and consumables for our two years in Uzbekistan. Having arrived home, we realize that much of that needs to be replaced. Already, I have spent over $1000. on clothes as has Doug. We both need new computers (his isn't working well and mine is 12 years old). We had to buy a car to use the year we are in the states. (Our has been shipped to Antwerp to await our arrival in Munich.) Ka-CHING! I think that if we had never left home and bought all this, we wouldn't notice as much. We hear Munich is expensive, so we are going to want to bring enough clothing and things with us so we don't need to buy it there. It hurts to spend it all at once.
We had a lovely road trip from St. Paul to Falls Church. We went to many of the Lincoln sights - his childhood home, another of his homes, the courthouse where he worked and a museum. We arrived in Virginia just about three days before Hurricane Sandy.
That catches you up in a nutshell. I hope you enjoy my new blog, As I Rise which you can find at: