Last year we celebrated with about 30 women and we each got plants from the men at our university. This year about 50-55 of us got funky bars of soap, different flavors like passion fruit, peppermint, vanilla, etc. I joked with some of the guys after the perfunctory speeches as we were feasting over cakes and juice, “Did you guys think the women needed to become clean, thus the soap?” I LOVED my plant as a gift from last year because plants are so expensive to buy in Astana. Apparently other ladies objected to the plants, I guess they would prefer something like fresh cut roses.
I got three red roses also from two guys who walked into my office. They were representing another school I work with. I quickly put these roses in water and there they sit in my office because I didn’t want to take them out in the cold. You don’t see as many bouquets of flowers up in cold Astana, it is not practical and they would freeze even before you would get to your host’s place. Although I DID get a lovely salmon colored rose from some dinner guests last week. It still looks nice.
Anyway, we will NOT go to work tomorrow, March 8th. Today, the first year students have tests and exams so they are all at the university along with all their British teachers. Everything definitely stops on Tuesday where the men are supposed to shop, cook, fix the meal, clean, do all the chores. I think it is a chance for the men to see what it is like to be a woman for the day, honoring their hard work. I like this day, I first learned about International Women’s Day when I lived in China back in 1986-88. Otherwise, Americans are unaware that this is an “international” holiday. Enjoy the photos of our 60-70 people and other friends who were a part of this celebration the other day in the Senate room.