Friday, March 11, 2011

Kabul Break

Empty, snowy Kabul Education University.
Visiting Babur Gardens, Kabul, with the new ELF Amy. Bullet holes still riddle the mosque.
The view of Kabul from Babur Gardens.
My Afghan friend's daughter making "Crossfit rings" soup.
The kids and me cooking in my kitchen, Kabul.

Night has fallen and I am no longer alone. Though my apartment is still cold and empty, new friends and activities have filled my life. Five months ago, I wrote of being imprisoned in my own home. Now, I still face the same challenge of not having freedom of movement; of not being able to make my own choices about many small things that we take for granted as citizens of a free and peaceful country, but in the space between the loneliness and wanting, life has grown around me.

After returning to Kabul from my trips to India and Nepal, reality slowed down like a slug on a cold winter morning. I returned to an empty University, a freezing apartment, unforgiving snow, friends gone on vacation, and not much to do but work out. My Kabul break had begun.

Fearing that boredom, loneliness, and quite possibly insanity may set in, I took to working out twice a day, writing letters home, studying Dari, and planning my semester. Though idle hands usually would cause much mischief in my seemingly unadulterated real life, here it just makes me fantasize about taking a long walk outside.

Thankfully, crossfitting and spending time with friends has filled my break time with much-needed socializing. During my winter break, I have spent time with students, entertained the new English Language Fellows by taking them to Babur Gardens and out for dinner (I know, it is a little crazy!), gone shopping for clothes in the local mall, attended lessons at Dari school, gone to my University to do some work and toughen up in my unheated office, cooked, spent time at Camp Eggers doing crossfit, and invited my Afghan friend's family over for lunch.

Surprisingly, life has been quite pleasant during this break time. I still find myself gazing out of my window towards Television Hill, wishing that I could throw off my chadar and bound up to the summit. Five months ago those peaks seemed thousands of miles away. Now, they are closer than ever.

Recently, I was invited to go and explore those hills. Though I won't be running to the top, when the time is right, friends will accompany me to one of the highest points in Kabul where I can look down on the city from a new perspective; when I arrive on the mountain, I will say my prayer of freedom, just like I promised so long ago. Only this time, I will say it not for myself, but for this humble city of Kabul. For now I know that anything is possible.

Only five months ago I felt as though I was alone, in prison. Now, the peaks of mountains are at my fingertips. If life here can blossom into a beautiful, friend-filled existence in such a short time, maybe the same can happen for the city itself. Only time will tell.

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At 9:22 PM , Blogger Piyush said...

"anything is possible" nice to hear from you !!

At 12:03 PM , Blogger Luana Joslin-Lester said...

Jaala, you wre always able to occupy yourself while alone. Your imagination was unbelievable. I am so glad you have made wonderful friends In Kabul. What, if anything do you need for your birthday. I have scype ion my phone. Please clarify your phone number . Miss you and continue to be so proud of you. Love Mom

At 1:41 AM , Blogger ali akbar said...

Life is somewhere we show ourselves, if life deserves us OR we deserve to life! Very difficult to make other's way, but easy to make our way... Thinking about how can I be a freethinker?? Not being impressed by other's opinions, but stand on my own feet and saying "NO" to my hardships!
I really admire and appreciate your nice memo... and jelous about it... ! :)

At 1:41 AM , Blogger ali akbar said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 10:07 AM , Blogger Jaala Thibault said...

Thanks Piyush and Ali. Mom, love you too! Will call soon.

At 11:04 PM , Blogger Sohrab Azimi said...

it is more than 3 years since you taught us conversation in Kabul Education University, your always in our heart as you are very nice teacher. wish you best of luck in your life and more success in your academic and sport life. "Suhrab" a veteran student of you


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