18 October 2005

Not Quite There Yet

It's interesting to see the various lifestyles among foreigners here. I was thinking about that today as I was driven to the orphanage today by my friend's driver (she wasn't able to go today). Riding along alone in the back seat of a nice car, passing the crowded buses and minibuses, felt strange. Later on, we went to a party at this same friend's house- a house that is significantly nicer than ours.

I haven't met a lot of foreigners here. But said friend knows quite a few people who are living in places that seem as much nicer than her apartment as her apartment is nicer than ours. And our apartment is better than many we've seen, although not as completely out of line as the others I've mentioned. Most of our neighbors are Kyrgyz and Russians; most of theirs are foreigners (that's why I've met few foreigners).

I've always been uncomfortable with the extravagant lifestyles many people have while living overseas. I really can't see any reason for living so far above most of the people around you. I wouldn't want to do it in the US, I don't want to do it here.

So, again, I still feel like I don't fit in. A Kyrgyz woman at the Embassy even commented that I'm not quite like the other American women who have come here. Apparently, I'm not supposed to want to live the way we do since I can afford to have so much more. Or I'm supposed to do so much more- why in the world am I staying home with my children when I can easily afford to pay someone to take care of them while I go out and really help people?

Too bad for them. I'm used to not fitting in. :)

1 comment:

Nathan said...

I've always been uncomfortable with the extravagant lifestyles many people have while living overseas. I really can't see any reason for living so far above most of the people around you.

And for that I applaud you. Our American doctor at Peace Corps in Uzbekistan bothered me (and many others) to no end because she was so insulated. She had no idea how we lived--just like our host families with the exception that we could afford "luxuries" like cheese. And when she said she took the job so her daughter could experience a foreign culture, I always had to stifle a laugh. They lived in a bubble.

There's absolutely no need to suffer, but one has no idea what a place is really like unless one wades into the society's waters a bit.