Salam, or hello, Issyk Kul, indeed!
I spent a few days relaxing with fellow southern volunteers at a sanatoriya, health resort, on the north shore of Issyk Kul. We had a few sessions to keep us busy, but for the most part, we were able to breathe all the frustration from a stressful first month at site and breathe in clean lakeside air. I spent a lot of time goofing around and catching up with friends I don’t get to see very often; we had a blast dying our hair dark, laughing at TV shows, walking to the nearest shops for ice cream sundae ingredients.
The grounds of the sanatoriya were gorgeous — long, tree-lined paths; massive dinosaur statues; and boardwalk fit for watching the sun rise. I was feeling introspective one morning and spent a long while on the beach, watching the clouds change and the mountains appear across the lake. I couldn’t help but feel a sense of dissonance, though. A lot of this place reminded me of fall in Minnesota and Lake Superior, especially the bright color of the trees and the size of the lake. Every time I settled in to the thought of being back at home, though, a bit of the landscape shocked me into remembering where I was (especially the snow-capped mountains).
After a night enjoying life and the company of half my K-23 cohort, I hopped on a bus with a small group of volunteers and staff who were not staying at the resort for further training. The four-hour drive between Bosteri and Bishkek was surreal; something about the sun and the views had me feeling good about Kyrgyzstan, about work, about Peace Corps, about where I am now. Sorry to get sappy, but come on – these views!