(Post originally written around December 18, 2008)
I have a new host family. There weren’t any problems with my previous ones; they were just too far away from my new office. This is actually the fifth family I’ve stayed with in Kazakhstan. (One during PST, one for OJDA, two for the first month at site, and one now.) And I can say I’ve been lucky to have great experiences with all of them for the most part. No creepy siblings. No drunken uncles. Everything has been pretty spakoina (tranquilo, peaceful). My current family is just a widow named Fatima in her late forties. The past few nights we’ve spent watching TV while I crochet and she knits. Exciting, I know. She has four kids (one son my age) who have all grown up and moved to the cities. For the past week, the two-year old grandchild name Toma has also been living with us. She’s absolutely adorable, and dances like the girl in Little Miss Sunshine. If I had my camera right now, I’d totally video it.
Toma is also the sixth child that I’ve lived with here. Learning to deal with children has been an unexpected perk of my Peace Corps experience. It’s not like I didn’t like kids before Kazakhstan, but let’s say on any volunteer form, I always put working with children near the bottom of my preference list. As the youngest child, I never got to experience having young children in the house. I am still not completely at ease around them, but I enjoy having them around. And they definitely make life more entertaining. Plus, I’m getting great experience for when I go back and greet my two-year old nephew Mason.