August 2, 2012
I was guesting with my old host family the other night and we were discussing dinner plans. Pizza was suggested, plans were made for tacos later in the week and some good ole’ Turkmen palow was considered. Note: my host sister studied in America for a year so she too gets teary thinking about good Mexican food. Eventually our host mom enters the conversation to clarify that we will be having şaşlyk for dinner – grilled meat on a stick. Yes.
Eventually we all gather outside to do the cooking (well I really just went to watch but either way I was present). As we started throwing meat on the grill, I realized there were quite a few people hanging around. The family is building a new garage so the workers were unwinding after what must have been an excruciating work day in the Turkmen summer heat. A few relatives dropped by just to say hello and were forced to stay and eat with us. Then, there were the normal 10 members of the immediate family, myself included in that number. In total, there were 16 of us…on a Tuesday…for no reason simply other than to have a regular family dinner.
After I finished eating three plates full of delicious şaşlyk followed by a heap of fresh grapes and topped off with some tea, I was sufficiently stuffed. I don’t really know why I wanted to write about this. Maybe just because it was a good night, with good people and I went to bed really happy to be in Turkmenistan.