My six-month mark passed with little fanfare, many shots of vodka, and a reminder that my time here is moving much more quickly than I could have imagined.
Time here is fluid and measurable only by the shortening of the days, each day slipping more into darkness than the day before. There are immovable stretches that feel infinitely slow and weeks and months that I can barely distinguish for their passing speed. The leaves are changing, filtering the short daylight into golden rays breaking on the birch-lined boulevards and receding from the pink-marble buildings like a great and invisible tide. The cold is growing more pronounced, and – as my fellow Volunteers like to say – winter is coming.
I feel my mind quickly shifting between reminiscing over the past six months, trying to find ways to actively engage the present, and also, always, envisioning a million futures that could branch away from this moment. I find myself counting the months of my service, not because I want to hasten my experience here, but because I find myself recognizing things as patterns, the dangerous turn of allowing myself to grow accustomed to patterns of thinking. (Max wrote beautifully about this phenomenon of time and pattern here.)
Time is passing, and all I want to do is be sure that I am making the most of it.Image: Autumn in Bishkek