I had only really worked 2 days and the next thing I knew it was a 3 day weekend! Finally I could see a bit more of the city and sleep as much as I needed to get in sync here!
Friday night was a beautiful, warm night (like they all are). My manager (Beate-Germany) and her husband Gary (US) took me out for dinner at a beautiful outdoor patio around the corner from my apartment. We met up with two other German expats who happened to be in Tajikistan for a short stint (honestly, people do come here!). We ate and drank, it was great to hear a lot of stories from these experienced development workers! The best part was that the one man was a Food Processing Expert!! He was here as a consultant for a juice company, and he has done a lot of work getting plants HACCP certified. I was thrilled to meet someone with a similar background to me in the development field as a specialist!
Saturday came and Dilya, the cook from MEDA's office, met me at my apartment and took me to Panchshanbe Bazaar, Khujand's largest market. It was unbelievable, it was huge and very very busy. There was rows and rows of vendors as far as the eye could see! They sold everything from spices, nuts, fruits, vegetables, fresh salads... and unfortunately I was almost run over by a man pushing a wooden cart with a large hunk of a dead animal that still had fur! I think it was a cow's leg or something, I tried to revert my eyes as soon as I noticed what I was seeing! This market is indoor and outdoor, and indoor up on the second floor is hundreds of vendors selling non-food goods such as clothes, shoes, and many random items that you would find in a dollar store imported from China. It was quite overwhelming, but worth the experience! The food is also so fresh here, and so cheap! I just need to work on my Russian/Tajik so I can understand how much things cost!
After the hectic trip to the market, Dilya and I stopped at a Turk/Tajik cafe and enjoyed nice and cold lemonade (more like orange pop to us) and PIZZA!!!! I was sooooo excited to have pizza here! And it was quite tasty with tomatoes, mushrooms and cheese, lots of cheese! After we ate we were so hot and tired I went home, showered and passed out. What a day!
Sunday was more relaxing, Beate and Gary to me to their Dutcha, it is another property they have that has a huge garden. There is a little house and a kitchen, but it is lovely to just spend the day outside in the garden. There was a little kitten when we arrived, Gary said he appeared the day before. Gary asked if I wanted to give him a bath so he didn't look so sad, so I put my old pet grooming skills to work! lol, poor kitten... didn't like the water much, but now he looks like a real pet! All he needs is a few more meals and he won't look so sad!
After I helped dig up a new bed in an area weeds had taken over, and we planted some new seeds. We collected a bunch of ripe vegetables and Beate made a delicious casserole with over a dozen vegetables, beans and cheese! In the afternoon we packed up and went home, they sent me home with a bag full of vegetables from the garden too! I thought that when I got back I would take a shower to cool off then wander on the busy streets where people seemed to be celebrating Independence Day, but when we got back not much seemed to be happening so I ended up resting all afternoon and slept through the fireworks, oops!
Monday was a holiday, so I went with Gary back to the Dutcha for a little bit while Beate had to work. We put some medicine in the new kittens eyes to clear them up, then re-heated some lunch and took care of a few things around the garden. Gary ended up picking me a huge amount of more vegetables, I didn't know what to do with so much food! But we shortly went home and I cleaned it all up and cut them up and put them in my fridge... boy is that a lot of work! Everything is organic here, so most vegetables come "with meat" and you need to really wash off the spiders, slugs, worms, etc. before they take over your apartment, yuck!
So for dinner last night, I cooked a little of everything that I had collected in my fridge the past couple of days, there was over a dozen vegetables, I probably can't even name half of them, but they were tasty!
p.s. I tried to post pictures but the internet connection is too weak, I will figure it out soon!