Last week’s blog reminded me of a previous Christmas Eve I celebrated in Kyrgyzstan. My wife and I were house sitting for a Scottish family during the holiday season a few years ago. The night was cold with light snow. It had been snowing all evening. We ate dinner with some friends and afterwards we played the game “RISK.” It was a long game and we laughed all evening at each other’s stories of nightmarish public transportation experiences, great and horrible encounters with local neighbors, and countless instances of simply being a foreigner in Kyrgyzstan.
Sometime after midnight we put on our jackets to walk in the Christmas snow. Bundled up, we left the house and walked the tame streets in the southern part of Bishkek. We made the first footsteps in the neighborhood running up and down the iced roads. It was a beautiful night.
We sat on an old Soviet swing set and slid on a playground. It was great to have fun company and run in the snow. We walked for more than an hour when we decided to go to a store to get breakfast items. There was a 24 hour store called “Narodney” down the street from the house where we were house sitting. We grabbed all the ingredients we needed for pancakes.
We left the store and we saw nothing in the streets. Not a single car or person. We slid chaotically on the empty road all the way back to the house. We made a full circle from where we started. The only footprints in the fresh snow that night were from our feet. It was a night to remember. My first “Holiday Season” in this country.