About the skies over Bishkek. And life on the ground.

A Nocturnal Message of Love

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There must a romantic living in my apartment building. Actually, I think it’s his girlfriend who lives here. I found out last night, as I was coming home late.

Usually, I feel lucky if the outdoor lights on my building work at night. All apartment building doors in Bishkek have an electronic keypad lock. And Bishkek is a largely unlit city at night, and this goes for street as well as building lights, unfortunately. Side streets are notoriously unlit at night, or underlit at best. So if the lights are out (there are also frequent power outages), you must enter the code with the help of a cell phone display (or, if you can’t find your cell phone, you might as well use your laptop. If you think you love your phone and laptop: you have no idea how much more you will love them when you come home during an electricity outage and have to feel your way into the building and your apartment), or you have to trust your trained fingers in the dark to type it. All looks like this (in daylight):

Last night, as I was coming home late, an unusual and beautiful sight in front of the building entrance next to mine. And good thing that the building light was working to illuminate this declaration of love in rose petals:

A young couple was standing next to it, the woman holding a bunch of red and pink balloons. The young man in love (evidence abounds) explained to me that he had made this work of art for his girlfriend. And, yes, I did tell her that she is lucky!

This Sunday morning, in daylight, the work of love looked even better:

And I was not the only one who was enchanted with this public expression of affection. Not even the only one taking photos. It got a smile out of everyone, people who stopped and people who tiptoed around it as they left the building.

I now know what “I love you” means in Russian. Even how to write it! Learned it overnight, so to speak. Haven’t learned that in Russian class. Some things you just don’t learn in school. But there, I learned last week how to count to 100, and I can write and retell this very important text from my book by heart:

A lesson is in progress now. This is the teacher. This is the boy student and the girl student. The teacher is reading, and the boy student and the girl student are listening. They are listening carefully. Jim and Mary understand the text well. Then Jim reads. He reads quickly and correctly. The teacher says: “Jim, you read well.” Then they speak Russian.

WOW. This Sunday, in Bishkek, a story about a boy and a girl, in front of my building. I don’t know their names, but I am sure they are not Jim and Mary. But they did speak Russian, and he spoke a little English. And they seemed happily in love.

For those of you waking up stateside to a Sunday morning, this might be just the right way to start the day: with a lovely image from Bishkek, and with just the right soundtrack to go with it:


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