Sunday, March 11, 2012

sunday the 11th

I am terribly sorry. I have had either no motivation to sit down and type an update or the internet has not been cooperating. So here we go.

The 8th of March, International Women's Day, is a big deal in Kazakhstan. It's the equivalent of Mother's Day in the states except every woman and girl is celebrated. I love that. Everyone gets the day off for the holiday and women and girls receive flowers and presents. NICE. Mike and I borrowed the Pajero to drive into the city for lunch at a restaurant called The Noodles that we heard was pretty good and not too expensive. While we were on that side of the city, we walked around Panfilov Park and the Green Market. We have been learning how to find our way around the city more and more which is incredibly nice because we don't feel so foreign as we did at first. There really isn't much to do in Almaty, but we both really like the Asian culture with its Soviet influences-- there's something so compelling about it, we haven't figured it out.

This is the Orthodox Church in Panfilov Park built without a single nail:

And here is the massive WWII memorial:
It's a beautiful park and on any given weekend, you'll typically see 2 or 3 gaudy wedding parties taking pictures around the monuments.

We are able to do quite a bit with the other teachers Mike works with. They are all mostly from the states or Canada and form a really fun and unique community of people. We're often asked to come over for dinner or to a birthday party. Last weekend we joined some of the ladies to a Central Asian craft fair at the National Museum. We may have splurged a bit, but rest assured, they're mostly gifts. Most of the teachers from the states are from down south, so of course we always have a good time with them. Last week, we went to a birthday party just next door. Everyone was invited and I can't count how many hick jokes there were, but gosh they were FUNNY.

On Friday, Mike and I went to the ski resort, Shimbulak. Michigan's ski resorts are a joke compared to this place. It takes more than just 2 minutes to get down the slopes here. I haven't skied since 7th grade so I'm sure you can imagine the many face plants that may have occurred. One fall happened because I was a little too confident in my stopping abilities. I decided that it would be fun to go really fast and straight down a not-so-steep slope. Well I got going a little too fast for comfort and panicked and fell. I fell hard. By the end of the day I got the hang of it though. Just gotta move those hips! We had so much fun! And we actually got some color because we actually saw the sun through clear, blue skies and not a smoggy, gray one! The simple joys. My body is screaming though, even today I'm just so sore. We hope to go again if there's another good snow, which there probably will be because spring doesn't exist here, I'm sure of it.

Mike's spring break is from the 21st of March through the 1st of April. Almost 2 whole weeks! We're chaperoning a trip of 6 students to Astana, KZ's capitol, from the 21st to the 24th of March. Should be a fun trip although Astana is considerably colder than Almaty. That's not so much of a surprise anymore, you can always expect being cold. Later in March I'll be house-sitting for the neighbors next door while they're in Turkey. They teach at Tien Shan and their kids attend as well. Should be a grand time-- March seems to be flying by already. Crazy!

Does anyone have a good recipe that includes potatoes, carrots or cabbage? And please, please, please don't give me a soup recipe-- I've had enough vegetable soup to last me until next winter.

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