Sunday, March 24, 2013

Happy New Year! (Nauriz) or March Madness!

On Monday, we made a trip into town to visit our visa clerk, Mira.  We had to take our passports to her so we could be registered with our new Kazakh visa.  The weather has warmed up a bit, so there was slush and water and still some ice all over the sidewalks.  She took a look at us with our boots and laughed at us!  She said, "don't people laugh at you?"  And we said, "yes, all the time!"  We're glad we can help make the Kazakh people happy!  We will not be wearing the boots much longer.

After visiting Mira, we headed to the market.  It was a couple of blocks away.  As we were walking, I said "I smell smoke!"  And then we noticed a crowd of people around this apartment building.  Smoke was pouring out of a window, and a mother and baby were at the next window.  We got to see a little drama play out as the firefighters helped the baby and the mother down the ladder.

Someone had climbed up onto the second floor ledge thinking he could help somehow before the firemen arrived.  The smoke is coming out of the window on the left side.

They were able to get the woman and baby down safely and the smoke stopped coming out of the window, so apparently they got the fire out.

After English on Tuesday night, we walked by this little market.  I have seen it before, but just realized that it is my niece's name "Kamila".  In Russian, the cursive u is like an e.  Cursive just complicates everything you thought you knew!

We had the opportunity to visit our friend Dr. Tamara this week.  (No photos.)  She is the head of neonatalogy at the university here.  We had borrowed some text books from her last year when we went to Tajikistan and had the opportunity to bring her some replacement books.
We also were invited to dinner with our neighbor.  We see her occasionally at the elevator.  Her name is Sara and her granddaughter, Zhanna, lives with her.  She made the traditional Kazakh dinner for us, bish bar mak.  Zhanna speaks English so she helps us communicate, but really we can understand Sara pretty well!  We got to show our family photos and brag a little about our family and she brags about her family.  We got along great.  Her two grandsons came too (15 and 12)  They had lots of questions about the U.S. and the younger one knows more about U.S. movies than anyone I have met here.  It reminded us of our grandsons, Jacob and Michael.
Another holiday has come to Kazakhstan.  They take their holidays very seriously!  This holiday is celebrated in the "stan" countries.  Russia has a different spring holiday, apparently.  Anyway, March 22 is Nauriz.  We came by Congress Hall as they were setting up for the celebration.  They have changed the ice skating rink to a green surface for roller blades.
This is an old traditional swing.  These kids had it going pretty high.
The little kids played it a bit safer.

This is a display of what a traditional family life would have been like.
The big official celebration was on Friday and too bad, the weather turned a bit cold again.  We saw lots of traditional costumes, but you still have to have a cell phone around here!
As soon as we arrived, we were asked where we were from.  How do they always pick us out of a crowd??  Anyway, the TV station wanted us to give a short congratulations to the people of Kazakhstan and tell who we are.  They even found a nice hat for Alan to use!

I think he looks like a Kazakh pirate!

They got me too!
Then we met Emin and his mother Raisa and visited some of the displays.

Beautiful Kazakh girls!
A Kazakh hunting falcon.  When it stretched out its wings, wow it was big!
Emin's keeping an eye on that bird!  Also, notice the hunting dogs in the back.

A warrior guy
These little ladies could sing!  And the man on the right plays the accordion.  They were enjoying themselves.  The Kazakh people are very happy.

Some musicians
Crafts and costumes.  We enjoy how they celebrate their traditions!

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