And by this I mean…
There is this weed that is some what sacred here in Uzbekistan. The name of it escapes me but people burn it for numerous reasons. Or hang it outside of doorways, which I would much rather prefer because this stuff has a horrible, horrible smell. I really like all these folksy ways the people here live by. I get a kick out of it and some of it I honestly buy into, there was medicine and ways of healing before modern medicine but this, this aint one of them. Its used allot out in the villages (lucky me), very traditional. Its used when people are sick in the home and to generally ward away sickness and evil spirits. And although my Opa is Russian, for some reason she totally is into this ritual, unfortunately, of burning this stuff. How I found this out is the real doozy.
I had a pretty good cold the other week and one morning I woke up by the sound of my Opa entering my room (again, no such thing as privacy, Im not your kid or whatever, I rent a room here and Im sleeping. Come on.). A little disoriented and then aggravated at this point thinking she is probably watering her plants or something but then, I get this big whiff of that horrible, terrible smell and realize she is walking around my room with a pot and the weed smoke is billowing out of it! I cant explain to you what I was thinking right then. Im awake, instantly. Im laying there still (probably in shock), eyes closed, no, squeezed shut, thinking is this really happening? My stomach started to churn (thats how much I hate the smell), and I just lay there, stunned. I open one eye, see that it is FIVE AM, my room looks like its 5am in the middle of a tropical rain-forest, dim light, all these potted plants poking through the now dense haze of this weed smoke. So she leaves and I immediately spring out of bed, and am about to FREAK OUT when she pops her head back in, surprised to see me standing in the middle of my room, just standing there in the haze, and tells me to open a window. I wanted to scream but a just stared at her, still thinking this is unbelievable. I open the window, alllll the windows, and my mind has just gone from idle to full gear in seconds. Oh my god, all my clothes (that are just laying in piles because I dont have a dresser yet) will smell! Im going to have to wash everything! My pillow (how will I get back to sleep)! The furniture! The carpet for that matter! Carpets hold smells! I grab my wrinkle releaser and start to spray like a mad woman! Then I realize that Im wasting a prized possession so I throw it aside and start to try and blow the smoke towards the window, arms failing, starting to hyperventilate. I calm down a bit after serious sniffing tests to my clothes and find out that they aren’t that bad. Then I wrap a t-shirt around my mouth and nose (now I probably look like a guerilla war fighter in my mist filled jungle), and I get back in bed, it is FIVE AM so I really want to get back to sleep. Yea. No, thats not going to happen. The wrinkle releaser didn’t do the trick, I can still smell it. Just the week before, Miquela was telling me on a really smelly marchutka ride that our noses are programed so that we become used to smells, no matter what it may be after 120 seconds of exposure. I start counting. There must have been a ‘but…’ that she forgot to tell me about because that didn’t work. Now I think Im going to throw up. And leaving the room at this point really wouldn’t have done much good because I see out the window that Opa is walking all over the house, inside and out with her pot so there is no escaping. I get up, again, contemplating if I really need the bucket in the corner I had set there in case of ‘unforeseen emergencies’ which I thought would be like waking up with a bout of food poising not having to hurl from an invasion of weed smoke filling my body, but then I think, PERFUME! Yes! And that did the trick. My favorite perfume was depleted down to about 3/4 its contents but I am safe and the bucket is still undisturbed. So the alarm bells have been turned off, I am, ok, and I never did tell my Opa about the dramatics that went on behind the door after she whisked in and out with her pot of ‘evil’, she wouldn’t understand, but if any of you send me any packages in the future, a pack of incense would really be a lifesaver. Fight fire with fire, or rather, smoke with smoke.

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