Sunday, December 20, 2009

You Know you are in Kazakhstan When...

See the chopping blocks...

See the little piggies going to market :-)

See the man hacking up the little piggies with an axe!!

Go Piggie Go!!

And those of you in Montrose thought I was kidding...

You know you are in Kazakhstan when...

You ask the woman at the counter about the chickens in the frozen food case and she takes it out of its plastic wrap and holds it up in her bare, unwashed hands for your approval. Then you buy it without question.

It is the dead of winter and every woman looks as if she stepped off the runway, including wearing 4 inch stilettos and NOT falling and making a fool of herself.

You buy Christmas garland by the meter…in 1 meter strips.

You can not bear to look at another stinking stick of salami. EVER.

The outdoor vendor/s canopy is propped up by a 6 foot very large frozen fish.

You step outside when it is 15 below zero and proclaim in all honesty “Hey! It’s only 15 below, it’s warm today!”…and you really mean it.

Your restaurant is heated with a large propane construction heater with flames shooting out of it, and you think nothing of going over near it to warm yourself.

You realize that yes, you really could live a decent life without Walmart.

You pay $2.70 each for 3 pair of small men’s boxer shorts that say “Kazakhstan” on it, simply because you love the place and think they will make great stocking stuffers for 3 Kazakh/Kyrgyz little men.

There is ice caking over the inside of your apartment windows and all you can think is “I am glad I am not out in that cold!”

Hearing everyone flush their toilet all night as the pipes run on the exterior of your bathroom walls slowly becomes a comforting sound that lulls you back to sleep with each flush.

You are grateful that although you have to hang dry and iron every piece of clothing for a family of 5 for weeks on end, you at least are not washing them by hand in the bathtub.

The sounds of real live church bells ringing excites your whole family and you rush around the building just to stand and listen.

You see gold teeth everywhere and begin to feel very out of place because you only have silver fillings.

The idea of taking a shower or bath only every few days is starting to become appealing, but you can’t quite “go native” that easily.

You see your neighbor under his hood with a small handheld butane torch trying to heat his engine up so it will start.

No one has ever said “excuse me” when bumping into you, which happens constantly.

You find yourself repeating “Da da da” in a trio, just as the locals do. Imagine always saying “Yes, yes, yes” and you realize what an odd thing that is.

You start saying “Nyet” to your English speaking children out of habit, and don’t catch yourself.

You are clueless what time of day or night it is, and what direction North is.

You find yourself thinking that cold liver and carrot salad actually look tasty…OK…that is a TOTAL LIE.

You begin to wonder, in all seriousness, if you COULD pack 9 into a 4 door Lada.

The grizzled and life hardened faces you pass each day begin to take on a beauty that is hard to explain.

You ache to buy one of those $300 totally rockin’ fur hats the ladies wear here, even if you’d look like an idiot in one.

You don’t see orphans as orphans anymore, but instead think of them as someone’s daughter or son just sitting there waiting for their as-yet-unknowing parents to figure out they are missing someone.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ha! This is great! What is unimaginable to us...you are living! Thanks for yet another peek into the full experience of living in Kaz. As always, thinking of you and praying for your peace and certainty! Love, Miss Joan

Lenore said...

Thank you for putting your Kaz life into perspective, for those of us how can't imagine what it's like....and as always with your own humorous twist to it!! The pictures are amazing!! Full of thoughts and prayers for you all!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the memories!

Debbie in Austin

Laura said...

I love this.Especially the frozen fish....brings back memories.

Hilary Marquis said...

When are you going to model some of those stiletto boots and fur hats??? I think that would make an excellent photo ;) Although, it you're like me they probably wouldn't look real great with a sweat shirt and jeans! You're all in our prayers. Enjoy your Christmas...it will be one you never forget.

Anonymous said...

Smiles and hugs from Vegas..thanks for this piece.

Maria said...

Da! Da! Da! I had fond memories of many of those things, especially the stilettos -- HOW do they DO it????