Why Uzbekistan? When people asked, and they all did, I would say that I was concerned about income.

To Uzbekistan and Back

June 2012

Read this essay online
Contact Madge

Why Uzbekistan? When people asked, and they all did, I would say that I was concerned about income. Other things, too, of course, but income I could do something about. Parents in their eighties in an excellent senior living facility in NC, a son sick for 15 of his 29 years settled into a terrific residential community in GA, the other son happily working in Moscow, contemplating grad school, the husband gone, remarried, the two books I had been working on eluding me. Why not go?

Offers came from other international schools, but Tashkent had the head of school I knew best and had reason to admire. Living expenses would be low, salary and benefits good, and the job—working with motivated special needs high school students, great. The university in New York where I had been happily teaching for seven years readily shifted my courses to online; I would have one full time job and one part-time job. Adventure was the word everyone around me used.

“Terrific, Mom,” Ike, our older son (my former husband and I have two) said. “It means you’re not so worried about me.”

More than half his life now, living with a still-undiagnosed degenerative illness, Ike talks less as the years pass; his speech has become aphoristic and extracted—pithy, sometimes funny. Clearly he wants his mom to be happy.

My mom, living independently in the same senior living facility where my father lives with dementia in the skilled nursing unit, expressed similar support—pride, perhaps.

Keep Reading

An essay on caretaking, being taken care of, and how distance limits neither, “To Uzbekistan and Back” appears in the Spring 2012 issue of Glassworks.

Read this essay online Contact Madge

More Books and Essays


(Re) An Ideas Journal, March 2021


Lumina, May 2018

A Concern with Space Leads Elsewhere

The Inquisitive Eater: New School Food, April 30, 2012

What Really Happened

The Best American Essays, October 2011

No Apologies

Utne Reader, November/December 2010

The Great Salvific Power

Topograph: New Writing from the Carolinas and the Landscape Beyond, October 2010

What Really Happened

TriQuarterly, vol. 137, July 2010


Distinction Magazine, July 2010

Here We All Are

The Fayetteville Observer, January 10, 2010

Paul Newman On Sixth Avenue

Lost and Found: Stories from New York, January 2009

Blue Peninsula

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006