Updated: Nov 20, 2022
It's been a few years since I've strolled off into the unknown, but as I sit here in JFK Starbucks across from my Turkish Airlines gate I am reconnecting with that churn in my stomach that I used to feel in the starting gate before a cross country ski race. I know that in awhile I'm going to crossing the finish line and look back with pride on what transpired - but right now it's just a slight anxiety at the unknown that awaits me in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Will my Russian come back? Do I really have any expertise to share that they will value? What will the teachers and schools be like? And at the same time there is that excitement of new doors that are about to open. I remember sitting on the airplane back in August 1985 when I flew up to Yakutat, Alaska to my first teaching job - in a state where I knew exactly no one. Now I'm flying off to a country where I know exactly no one. Now I'm not expecting that this is going to turn into another 25 year adventure like Alaska did - but I also hope this Fulbright is a whole more than 6 weeks and done. Just the thought of living in a land that was first settled in 800 BC and has been the crossroads of so many great empires - it's not Vermont anymore that's for sure.
And since every trip has to begin with an adventure - this one began with discovering at the Burlington airport checkin that my expertly packed monstrosity of a bag was almost 30 pounds heavier than the max that Turkish Airlines would accept. So off flies Joan to University Mall to buy another suitcase - it was either that or bail on the books that I'd bought to guide my work and leave for the Samarkand Teachers Institute. I think the 25 minute run from the airport to JC Pennies and back with a new Samsonite might be another world record for my Olympian sweetheart!
I think everyone in the Jet Blue checkin enjoyed the site of my repacking on the floor - but suffice to say it is all heading to Uzbekistan!
So time to board and get some sleep - and the next post will be from Central Asia. As the Russian say - до скорого