I haven’t seen as many horses as I have seen today since I lived in Kentucky!
I arrived in Talas City about 3 hours ago and had dinner (and tea, of course). Dinner was amazing.. fresh veggies and fruits (both of which have been lacking in my diet) as well as an assortment of baked and meat-based foods. It was all very delicious. I have a host- mom and dad, 3 sisters age ranging from 7-20, 1 brother age 5+- and maybe another brother slightly older… family dynamics here are really hard to figure out!
The younger sister played a violin concert for me. She is quite good for her age! Reminds me very much of my cousin Matthew when we were young. The older sister pulled out all the stops with a belly dance. I wasn’t expecting that at all! But she was also quite good at her talent.
The house is HUGE, and the accompanying yard has vast gardens and beautiful landscaping.. the best I have seen in country. There is an indoor bathroom with a sit down toilet (super rare!), a shower with hot water (even more rare!) and a swimming pool! (unheard of!) The informal living room reminds me of Elvis’s Jungle Room. I will send pictures later and you will no doubt see the similarities.
Then the director for my NGO stopped by for about an hour. She is super awesome and we are going to work together very well. But to top off the whole night, the director is fluent in Kyrgyz and Russian (almost everyone here is), her English is quite good, but the BEST part is that she is fluent in German! So we spent much of the night filling the Kyrgyz/Russian gaps with German which was just fantastic.
The most important and epic character in all of Kyrgyz history/lore is named Manas. He is the hero figure that united the Kyrgyz clans under one banner, defeated the Chinese and others and claimed Kyrgyzstan as the land for the Kyrgyz people. Manas is from the Talas region and my new host family has given me his namesake as my nickname. I can’t think of a higher complement a Kyrgyz person can give to another, especially to a foreigner.
So day 1 in the new region was fantastic! Tomorrow I see the office, meet the chief of police, mayor, and a few other key figures in the city that I should be acquainted with.
The adventure never stops!
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