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What the hell are you doing?!


I don’t know! I just really don’t know what I’m doing back here in Kaz-Stan, or Central Asia for that matter. When I booked a month for home it was just so cost-effective to get a round-trip ticket that I couldn’t pass it up. Plus that meant I could store some things with friends in Almaty (my super cute red guitar included) in case I did decide to stick around in these unknown lands a bit longer.

I really thought that I would just go back to Kyrgyzstan, but alas, my beloved Bishkek just isn’t striking my fancy at the moment. I believe I need a change of scenery, but I do have a want to remain in Russian speaking countries for as long as I can stand it. Finally, at the very end of my month at home I thought I had it. I found an opening for an English teacher in Kiev, Ukraine. The money sounded decent, the hours excellent, and the time off to die for! So, on my final Friday at home I had a phone interview with a recruiter calling me from Kosovo, but sadly, the call dropped in the middle and I have yet to hear back from him! So, I am not holding my breath on that one (but would still jump at the opportunity).

I got myself kind of psyched to go back to Ukraine so, of course, that got my mind rolling on how I could make this happen without the job. Besides housing, the cost of living and studying in Ukraine is not too shabby, so I was thinking that maybe I could stick out not having a proper income for a bit longer and just take some Russian lessons there for a couple of months. This would give me the proper flexibility I would need in order to make the Amanda and Brooke trip to India in January happen as well (and then continue on to Asia from there?).

Then there’s the question of how long to stay in Kazakhstan. It’s not cheap, that’s for sure. But, my visa lasts until the end of the month. Then, there’s also the flight to Latvia to be used from here when I want (I had already purchased that before I decided to go home instead). There was also talk of meeting a former Bishkek student there for a while. So, head to Latvia and then make my way to Ukraine? This might be where I’m leaning to at the moment. However, there’s still the idea of remaining in Central Asia and continuing on with Russian and adding a Turkic language as well (Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Uzbek, etc.) I was reacquainted with this idea when catching a taxi from the Almaty airport to the guest house. Even though he wanted a few hundred tenge more than I was told I should get, I let him have it since he was just so freaking nice! He spent the entire car ride trying to teach me basic Kazakh words and phrases!

What to do, what to do!?!

Any words of wisdom are greatly appreciated! What do you all think of Brooke going from Latvia-Lithuania-Belarus-Ukraine from mid-September through December?


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3 Responses to What the hell are you doing?!

  1. bethster September 13, 2008 at 9:26 am #

    Hmm.. Lots of options here. I think you know my first choice.

    1st Option: Mongolia- You get a really interesting country/culture and super cheap prices. You are very close to it now and it still borders Russia which could help w/ learning a language and or possibly gettinga job. There is this cool looking site that lists volunteer resources in Mongolia. The country has an amazing background w/ Ghangis Khan, etc. Plus you could Siberian Train it right into Beijing and hit up the coast of China, bounce into SEA and then to India if you wanted to move around a bit. it’s a good location, cheap and located near other super cheap places.

    2nd route: Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, Albania, Turkey- or a combination in that region. Hungary looks amazing and Romania is also very interesting w/ Translyvania, vampire lore, etc. Romania is really pretty cheap. A friend of mine went there and loved it as well. I would flock to an instant to Turkey but it is getting more expensive over there, but still worth it. I def. have a love affair w/ Turkey but my guess is that you will lose some of the Russian language. You could also hit up northern eastern Europe (Estonia, etc) but i think you’re going to hit higher prices there and it might start getting really cold.

    3rd option: Southeast Asia. A guaranteed good time, guaranteed good prices & close proximity to India. I don’t think you can go wrong at all with Thailand, Vietnam or Cambodia and they’re good places to meet people. Laos is on the up and up and dirt cheap. I saw Anthony Bourdain there and fell in love with it. Everyone I know who has been to SouthEast Asia absolutely loved it and it is beyond cheap. I cannot wait to do that loop. Plus it puts you in a good spot to head to India, which i think is something that should not be missed and it’s great to have a buddy for. Maybe i will quite my job and meet you guys in Mumbai! – That would be so fun!

    Those are my suggestions. You could also totally switch it up and go to Egypt & Jordan, the weather could be getting good there. Although I would say that takes some mad balls to go there alone. So I’m totally sure you could do it! 🙂

    You have LOTS of options!

  2. Brooke September 13, 2008 at 10:06 pm #

    Wow, Beth! Thanks for the good ideas! However, here’s what happened… the recruiter guy finally contacted me back and there is still the possibility of working in Ukraine! So, I booked my flight to Latvia for next Friday and I’ll hang out there – Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus – until I know for sure. I also love the idea of Moldova, Romania, Hungary at some point 🙂 yippeeeeeee


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