Rip van Winkle in Kazakhstan

I have lived in Kazakhstan since fall of 2007 and the farther away I am from my own American culture, the more I feel like a Rip van Winkle.  Songs on the radio are all new to me when I go home to Minnesota for a quick visit, cars change their style and I’m not up on the latest models, many people have seen the latest, catchy advertisements on TV and will refer to them years later and I won’t have a clue what they are talking about.  I’m trying to figure out what this trend in Wii is about, I think it might be a good thing.  A friend of mine from college said that these “digital native” kids who are practicing “Dance, Dance Revolution” (old now as of 3 years ago) or on “Guitar Hero” and other Wii games will be operating on us one day.  Yikes, that’s a scary thought!!! I think future surgeons should be practicing needlework or something more constructive!

Where are the baseball diamonds filled with boys and girls playing t-ball or softball or baseball?  Are the arenas for hockey being used to the max for figure skating competitions and hockey games?  In my home town they just built another big arena with the possibility of three rinks running simultaneously.  What was wrong with the one built by WPA in the 1930s and the other updated one beside it?  Ice is ice!!!

All these changes while I’m away in Kazakhstan and yet I think how the Kazakhs have had to watch the blur of changes whirl around them at an even more quickening pace.  They might feel like I do about the useful inventions such as GPS and people going as families to geocache.  I’ve spent some fun times with my nephews in the last year or more going on these treasure hunts using the GPS coordinates. I don’t think that has caught on in Kazakhstan yet.  In that case, there ARE real treasures buried in their soil.  Many fled Kazakhstan during the purges of 1930s and they really did hide their silver and gold in earthen vessels.

What’s most vexing to me is the name of music groups that my 12 year old nephew knows and I’ve never heard of before like “Tenth Avenue North” or “Remedy Drive”  Aren’t those street addresses?  How about “Superchicks” or “Kutless” or “Third Day” What are these names supposed to mean?  Other artists I’ve heard of like Steven Curtis Chapman or Chris Tomlin but not Jeremy Camp. I feel like Rip, that’s for sure.

I’m showing pictures from Independence Hall of photos from days gone by in Kazakhstan.  Kazakhstan has a LOT Of catching up to do and must be as bewildered as I am about knowing the latest in pop culture.

2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Michael Thompson said,

    Hi,
    I am from South Africa and have worked in Kazakhstan and Russia. All this western and American hype / technology is not “worth the paper it’s written on”
    I, like you have moved away from this so called new age living. The life style in Kaz and Usbek is peaceful. Almost back to nature. I wish I was bach there.

    • 2

      kazaknomad said,

      Michael, thanks for your thoughts on this puzzling we are living in. Yes, there is a tranquil spirit here in Kazakhstan if you don’t allow yourself to get involved in the glitz of technology. Yet I find I need it when living far away to keep in contact with loved ones back home. How long did you live in Kazakhstan?


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