Saturday, November 21, 2009

Feeling better

Saule and Zhere :)
Blog 32
November 8

Well, I'm feeling much better about my situation today than I did yesterday. I think this place is actually much more down to earth than Panfilova and my family there. My host mom's hearty smile is so comforting. We went to the bazaar this morning. Even though I couldn't understand most of what was being said, I could tell by the body language of the interactions that she has her head on straight. (isn't it funny how that happens - even without language, you can still tell how a person is by spending a normal day with them...) She's a smart woman. I think my previous host mom was negative and yelled so much because she was insecure about something. I'm not trying to compare them, but I'm human and I'm just saying... My new family is nice in a way that reminds me of home, which was what I was going for. The little ones, Zharas (5 yr old boy) and Zhere (4 yr old girl) are so adorable. Curly hair and tiny teeth and voices. They remind me of Alex and I... I can remember being chased and getting in fighting position on the couch haha, Alex. Being stuffed into poofy coats and mittens, so cute; and, every two seconds "Mom... Mo-om... Mom!" The way to respond to a beckon (lol) is the "ow?" part of "How" - meaning "Yeah?" or "What?". So the kids call out "Moo-om..." and Aigul responds "o-ow..." lol. I love it.
So like I said, my host mom and I went to the bazaar, which is in Balpuk Bi, where Johnny is. For the most part, I liked what I saw. We took a taxi, and the ride wasn't long at all, but very close. (Very do-able on a bike! Especially when compared to my Ciao route :) There were also a number of bikers at the bazaar... good sign. There were even bike supplies sellers! However, I didn't muster up the courage to ask a biker where they bought their bike... in due time. We also went into this meat building. What an experience. I didn't know what kind of meat I was looking at, but it just felt wrong. My knees went weak and my stomach turned. My host mom didn't notice... but the guy hacking away at a carcass on a stump with a huge axe sure did. I didn't realize what face I was making until the hacker guy smiled and winked at me mid-whack lol. There were segmented furry hoofed legs under the tables, and a lady pulled two nice white chickens by their feet from out of nowhere and then they disappeared... sad day. All kinds of organs and body parts were hanging from the walls... yuck. In the end - we didn't find the hangers I had intended on purchasing.
Another positive point in regards to my host family... they actually cut the fat off of the meat before cooking it! :) Pretty amazing, I know. I expressed my appreciation openly lol. I spent mainly the rest of the day with my host sister, Soule (14 yr old girl) and the two munchkins. Soule is a very cool girl and a good big sister. I like that she likes sports and scary movies. Most little girls that I've met here really enjoy and even desire fitting into the "girly, house-wife" mentality, which is fine if it's genuine... but I tend to question if they really want what they say what they want here. Every Kazakh person here will tell you they love bishbarmak and Nasurbayev. It's like asking someone if they like puppies... "Is that even a real question? Of course I like puppies..., weirdo." lol. Even though bishbarmak is essentially plain wet (in my opinion, mushy) noodles and boiled horse and/or beef. Not exactly what I would call tasty - the main indicator to me is having to pile on the hot sauce.... "But it's the Kazakh national dish....!" Yeah, not buying it... Nonetheless, I look forward to having Soule in class, and watching the little ones grow up.
There are definitely adjustments that I will have to make, but I'm feeling better about them. This is farm life, with a smaller house, less to do in the village, and definitely less friends (as of now). And, it's looking like my new nickname is Nelly haha. People are just puzzled by my name. The way they say Noelle sounds like Noil, think foil. Not so cute. (And usually they can't even come up with Noil... I know how they feel! :)

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