Well, really, the countdown has already begun. We leave Tashkent in less than two months. It's difficult to believe, but we're now looking at what we have around our house, and trying to figure out what we will give away or sell, what we will put into long term storage, what we will need while in the States for three months, and what will ultimately follow us to our next post, which will be Chennai, India. I don't know that I've posted that in the blog, but, yes, we will be in south India from late September, for a similar two year stint.
We are very much looking forward to Chennai. This despite the very real changes we will encounter there. Our colleagues have one of two strong reactions: they either think it's the best thing ever, or they question our sanity. The interesting thing is that both reaction stem from the same basic themes: Chennai will be hot and humid; there are a LOT more people there; and it's much dirtier than most places. The people who love the idea focus on the overall vibrancy of the experience, while the naysayers just see inconvenience. We have focused our energies on the former perspective.
I've been finding myself looking around at Tashkent lately, realizing how much of its ways and existence I have absorbed in the short time we've been here. The streets that once seemed so alien to my eyes seem almost normal. The idiosyncratic behaviors of Uzbeks in this city at most cause me to barely roll my eyes (as opposed to shock or alarm at the beginning). I am sure that old hands in diplomatic circles might roll their own eyes at what is surely a banal set of my observances at this lifestyle, but I hope that these posts serve some useful purpose, such as they are.
As an aside, I should mention that it was in the course of trying to leverage this website to help with all the moving logistics that I screwed up the main home page royally. This is why there is a new look to that front page. If I can figure what the hell I did to mess it up, I will try to restore it. For now, it will have to suffice.