Pre-Departure Ruminations

Rockville Travel Blog

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In two days the calendar will officially welcome autumn, but already the air is crisper, a few leaves are beginning to turn and that unmistakable fall feeling is beginning to creep through the pores of my skin. As the sun sets a little earlier and the mercury dips below 50 degrees, a gentle wind assures me that the hopeful carefree days of summer have been subdued. It is a season of change. In less than two weeks I will be once again walking beneath the shade of quince trees in Central Asia's largest city, Tashkent.

Ten years ago I celebrated the beginning of fall in a small town in western Uzbekistan, approaching the end of my first year in the Peace Corps with a confidence that I had reached an optimal level of cultural understanding and perseverance. At the same time I found the prospect of enduring another long year difficult to conceptualize. Now, as I contemplate returning to this place, I wonder how much it has changed. How much have I changed? How much has the world changed? I'm very anxious but haven't really had time to let excitement set in.

Ten years there could be the equivalent of 30 years worth of change here. But even here, I watched my country transition from relative halcyon days to the current economic, political and emotional imbroglio. I've had 10 different addresses, two relationships, three jobs and a revolution of personal acceptance and self-esteem. How can my impressions of the places I'm about to see be compared while so many factors of change are clouding the lens of my mind? I guess I'll start by using my new digital camera and leave the rest to wisdom and blind faith.

One of my biggest fears before leaving to go to the Peace Corps centered around toilet etiquette and now I find myself preoccupied with the emotions of leaving Mark, family and friends at home and the blank slate that awaits me upon my return. As soon as my feet touch that foreign soil, the next path will begin to reveal itself with a little guidance from above. For now I am going to try to enjoy the send-off party tonight at the Brickskeller and transition into next week's packing frenzy and tying together last minute loose ends.

Next Sunday I will ride to the airport with my heart lodged tight in my throat. After long layovers in Dublin and Riga, I'm scheduled to land at  Toshkent Xalqaro Aeroporti at six in the morning. My host family assures me that someone will be there to pick me up, but otherwise I have no set agenda besides the wedding itself, which isn't until October 9th. After that I'll set off on my own once again. Thinking about the whole experience could be likened to skydiving without leaving the ground and I can't see the parachute on my back. But I trust it's there and know I must make the jump.
Biedjee says:
Hey Sayohat,
Congrats on your featured blog!
I still need to catch up reading the whole thing, as I am planning to head that same direction next year.
Happy travels!
Posted on: Dec 27, 2008
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photo by: Andy99