Since many have asked what my daily life is like, this post will outline my routine from the time I get up to the time I go to bed.
With a lack of a social life during the week, I typically wake up at 5:30am. In the morning, I read the news, work out, and eat breakfast before going to my first class. I teach at 8:00am on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and the students often complain and many do not come to class, but I have become accustomed to waking up and starting work early. Depending on the day, I teach 2-4 one hour and twenty minute classes.
Although I eat breakfast and dinner at home, I always eat lunch at the university. Their menu consists of only Kyrgyz and Russian dishes, but the food is quite good for the cost. On any given day, I will pay $0.75 - $1.25 for lunch, so it is not worth my time to cook and clean at home. Food, in general, is much cheaper than in the US with a week’s worth of vegetables and fruit costing less than a dollar, but you will pay more for western comforts. A medium-sized jar of Barilla pasta sauce costs almost $4.00, as does a small jar of peanut butter. These expenses are not outlandish, however, since the majority of goods are a fraction of the cost at home, so I would guess that overall I pay one-half of what I pay in the US for groceries.
In order to get to work, I usually take a group taxi or a mini-bus, but it is about 20 minutes from both of the university’s campuses by foot. The taxis and mini-buses are very inexpensive, costing only $0.22 and $0.15 a ride, respectively. If I wish to have a taxi to myself, I can pay $0.74, which also can be a good opportunity for me to practice my Russian. Most of the taxi drivers are quite friendly and willing to tell you about their families and lives. Inevitably, they also ask “Are you married?” or “Do you have any children?” with these lines being the standard small-talk in Kyrgyzstan.
Overall, my transition to living in Kyrgyzstan has been quite easy. With the university emphasizing English, almost all of my colleagues and students speak at least conversational English. While my Russian is not excellent, it is good enough to live and travel in the country without significant issues and my knowledge of Uzbek has helped me understand basic Kyrgyz. And although I do not speak well, I have learned a couple dozen words and phrases to communicate with locals and joke with my students.