Afghanistan is treating me well. After a month in country it really feels as though I’m settling in to some good routines. While I’ve been enjoying spending more time relaxing and being social than I ever had time to do in DC, I’m also working on finding some good activities to engage in. Many expats here tend to spend all of their time working or watching TV. I’d like my time here to be more fulfilling than that alone, so I’m working a couple of new hobbies.
My first new hobby is knitting. Most of my friends are fabulous knitters so I figured this was an excellent place to join along in the fun. I’m working on a scarf that is just the perfect shade of red. Moving right along and having fun with it. I also have something to keep me busy while I’m watching DVDs or chatting on skype. I went on a yarn shopping spree before I got here so I should have a fair bit of work ahead of me.
Today I had my first Dari language lesson. Dari is the prevalent language in Kabul. More people in Afghanistan (outside of Kabul) speak Pashto, but Dari is the academic language. It is closely related to Farsi, spoken in Iran, Pakistan and other bordering countries. I’m just starting with the greetings and so forth but it feels good to be learning the language. The majority of international staff here don’t learn much or any of the local language. I’ve already learned enough random languages that I’m not afraid to get out there on a limb. Most of them have been more utilitarian than anything. While I’m famous for learning a language very well and then moving on to another I’m very happy to have learned as many as I have – Finnish, Spanish, & Ewe very well and Fijian, Twi, & French on lower levels.
My final hobby that I’m getting into is photography. I’ve always been passionate about photography and think that now is a good time to expand on that. Afghanistan is a very photogenic country and the people are fabulous. It also gives a great opportunity to get to know the culture better. There is also a demand of good photography here so I might even do an exhibit once I have some good material. I’ve got a bunch of photos from a couple of weeks ago that I’ll put up from time to time. Below are a couple that I particularly like.
The innocence here feels palpable. It reminds me that while most people outside of Afghanistan only have images of war and terrorism, most of everyday life in Kabul is simply every day life. It means having friends you can ask help of when you need it and being there for your family. These boys epitomize the strong ethics of your average Afghan.
I’ll keep you posted on more of my photos as we go along.