I patiently waited until the weather warmed up permanently which was, unfortunately, right before Tashkent went into quarantine. For the past three and a half weeks, my empty flower pots have sadly waited to be filled, sitting forlornly half-filled with last year's dirt.
This week I got a text from my wonderful Russian teacher who, knowing my obsession, had been looking for flower sellers who would deliver (these days everyone delivers everything). One of the sellers let her know that the flower market at Chorsu was still open, and so we made a date to go together and get some shopping done.
Friday morning I pulled out a brand new summer dress and cute sandals, but decided to skip the makeup as it would be covered by a mask and sunglasses anyway. The children all wanted to know where I was going as they haven't seen me in anything but shorts and t-shirts for over a month. I can't actually remember the last time I wore makeup.
Chorsu, the biggest bazaar in Tashkent, was pretty busy when we showed up. It certainly wasn't as busy as normal, and most of the usual vendors - souvenirs, jewelry, household goods, clothing, furniture, and animals were closed up. But there were plenty of food vendors selling the usual vegetables along with new spring garlic and fresh strawberries. And more importantly, there were flowers.
I browsed my way through the offerings, less than last year, but still plenty enough to fill my pots with lovely, bright, cheerful flowers. I ended up buying most of my flowers from one vendor who remembered me from last year, and each new group of colorful flowers added to my trolley brought a little surge of joy.
I had to agree with her. It's funny what a treasure it is to go and be at a busy market after weeks of isolation at home. I'm not much a lover of crowds, but being out among other people brought a smile to my face as we all just went about our normal business for a few hours on a Friday morning. After seeing empty streets and shuttered stores for weeks, it was lovely to see stall after stall of vegetables, meat, fruit, and eggs. It was a good reminder that life still goes on, even in the middle of a pandemic. And also a promise that one day, going to the market will no longer be a treat. It will just be normal life again.