After returning from Iskanderkul, we went back to Hostel Latifa and they welcomed us back with open arms.
Grandma waved me over after putting our stuff down. Somehow she knew we hadn’t eaten and offered us leftover quitoub. Grandma’s version happily stayed in my stomach.
Much of our four day stay in Dushanbe was deciding whether or not to do the famed Pamir Highway. Yes, it did take us four days to decide.
We also enjoyed the spring flowers around the parks in Dushanbe proper. It’s amazing how flowers make everything feel more beautiful.
Hostel Latifa was like our home. Sean, the Scotsman who was there when we first got there was still there. The four Indians who ever left the premises had all been ready to go but was left stranded. Even the Belgian-American couple came back earlier than planned from their trip to Khujand. Even Alexander, our St. Petersburg friend who stayed behind in Iskanderkul came back. It was like a family commune of misfits.
The family has lofty dreams of living in America. I tried to tell them that America has its own problems, but they still want to try. I told Zariff that I’ll look for an American wife for him, with his wife’s approval. I also old Grandma I would look for an American husband for her. She laughed and gave me a hug.
On our last night, the hostel was abuzz. Filled to capacity for the first time in the hostel’s one month history, the family was busy taking care of everyone.
“Problem no?” said Zafar on numerous occasions.
“Come to my house and sleep! Two floors but no WiFi,” said Zariff every day.
When talking about his children, Zariff said, “I have two white children and two black children. I don’t know what happened!”
When we left the next morning, I felt sad. We had stayed there for 7 days, and in that time, even with the language barrier, we still bonded.
Grandma gave me a big hug and wouldn’t let me go for a while. We posed for pictures and passed on contact information.
Dushanbe has a little place in our hearts now because this family took us in and accepted like their own. Hopefully, one day, we can meet again and enjoy quitoub again.