I hired a cab with a British man from the WHO who had been on the plane. It was 6:00 when I came up to my host family’s house, and the zinnias had not only shot up to two feet tall, they were blossoming. The tomato plants look like weeping willows from all the green tomatoes, and about a quarter of the raspberries are ripe. The weather is lovely, sunny with big well-defined clouds, only a couple degrees warmer than the ideal (to me) temperature.
My host family welcomed me back very warmly and can’t hear enough about America. They re-did the walls (probably with the mud/cow bokh mixture used for walls here) and rearranged the furniture. One of the aunts, Damien, finally had her twins. This house is like the babysitters’ club, the phone is constantly ringing with family members needing Shatagul to come watch their kids while they go to Damien. “There’s no news here,” everyone says, “how was America?”
They looked at all my photos. Samal sat in on each showing. “Susan, you look exactly like your sister!” they said, one by one. “Well, they look alike to us, but probably we all look alike to them,” Samal told them. Samal, who will never be mistaken for anyone else.
I visited Zhopar, who was wearing her husband’s singlet (why on Earth does he have a singlet, and how old is it?) She was thrilled to see me and gave me lots of dairy products. She and her son were especially pleased with a key chain that has a ring with “Lucky Penny, Chicago” and a penny that spins around inside the ring. Zhopar's chicks are pretty big and are running around on those incredible adolescent chicken legs that look like they could launch the chicks to Jupiter. Her family has acquired a kitten that seems to have been born with fleas.
Last night, Dilda apa opened the bag of Dove chocolates from my family, and Samal discovered that there was writing inside. This provoked a feeding frenzy, and they finished off the bag. Damira translated the silly advice inside the wrappers (“whisper in the dark,” “Hey, why not?”). We finished after the sun was down and went to bed well after midnight. The sky was black black black, although only the closest stars were visible.