Posts tagged Germany

Marina’s Grandmother and Lingering Regret

I would like to tell about my Grandmother, because she was really a great person. She died this year, but she is alive in my heart and hearts of her other relatives. She was born in 1932 in Russia. So her childhood and youth was difficult and hard because of the War in 1941-1945. She was the eldest sister and she had two brothers and two sisters. So she needed to care for them from the earliest childhood. And she did that. She helped her parents to bring up her brothers and sisters and to provide them with the necessary food and clothing. During the war my Granny had been working as a nurse. So she saw a lot of terrible injures, but also she helped a lot of injured people to survive.

After the War she met my grandfather and they got married. He was a military officer, so they traveled a lot. My uncle was born in Germany, and my mother was born in Lithuania. In 1960-1970s they left for Kazakhstan, Almaty. Granny told me that it had been very difficult to live in Almaty in that period of time, because Almaty had been only a little city after War and it had been very difficult to get food, clothes and other necessary things. My Granny had graduated university and became a teacher of Russian language and literature. So she always tried to help people.

I loved my Granny very much. I could say that me, my elder brother and cousins grew up with my grandparents, about whom I’m telling now. They brought up us, played with us, took us in the kindergarten and school, because our parents were very busy at their work. So I think that my Granny did everything that she could for us. And I hope that she would be proud of us.

About three years ago, my grandmother got sick. We thought that she was going to get better, but medical treatment didn’t help her. I lost someone who was literally one of the most important people in my life, and it happened in an instant. Now I really regret about my behavior in her last years. She always kept asking me to come to meet her. But I always had meetings, exams, classes… Now I really regret about it. But I think that she loved me and forgave me for my mistake. I really loved her.

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Photos of Busy Holiday Season (Part II)

Yesterday I showed some of the photos from our Thanksgiving feast.  Today is the Culture Festival at our university which I experienced after the big meal with a full stomach, watching my students sing and dance.  What fun to see Aina perform a solo in French and Karlygash as a model for a fashion show in the French Club; Nariman, Assemzhan in the German Club, Dana was dancing in the Turkish group, Xeniya was one of the M.C.s and Young Su and Jisun from Korea were in the Russian group.  Did I forget anyone?  When you have almost 100 students, you are likely to see many of your students in extra curricular activities.  I was proud of them.  I think the crowd stopper and stomper were the Turkish dancers, break dancing and hip hop must be a derivative from traditional, macho Turkish dance!

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Aina’s Grandfather is her HERO!

Aina’s Grandfather is her HERO I want to write about a great person who had a big influence on me, it is my grandfather. Now he is alive and he is very energetic, enthusiastic up to day like when he was young. Nowadays we talk about different famous people, heroes and so on, but for me my grandfather is a hero.

Grandfather was born in 1934 in Semipalatinsk province. His name is Malgazhdar and he has three children: two beautiful daughters and one son who is my father. Now all of his children live separately from my grandparent, but every weekend we assemble together and spend a good time with them.

From my father’s stories about grandfather I knew that when my grandfather was a child he had a difficult time. In 1941 when he went to the first class there was a war and because of this he could not finish school and went to work in the collective farm. When the war was finished he could go to the school again and finish it. Then grandfather served in Army in Germany after that when he returned home he was sent to work in the Ministry. After my grandfather built a good career. He was a purposeful person and this quality helped him to be promoted in the career ladder because he always achieved his aims which were planned.

Grandfather, of course, has many qualities such as motivating people to do good things and to make right decisions, easy communicating with people and helping them. But he was not only a good hard worker; he also was a great father for his children. In the role of father he is perfect. His children were raised in love, trust, respect which was given by parents. So, we can understand that grandfathers are important in our lives.

For me my grandfather is ideal and he is a good example for people, for his children and for me. I hope that all people can respect their grandfathers and love them for being with us.

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Alexander K.’s Belarussian Grandfather

How gratifying for a teacher to have their students enjoy an assignment so much that they take off with it by doing more work, over and above what was expected of them.  Read to the end of this essay to see how Alexander K. regarded his first assignment of simply writing 300 words about one of his grandparents.  This makes my teacher heart proud of my students and happy they enjoyed sharing just a little bit about someone special in their family.  Read on…

     “His name was Arcady Brodkin. He was born in 1921 in Belarusian SSR. Actually I didn’t know anything about him till yesterday evening, and I just didn’t even guess that I had such outstanding person in my family. He was frontier officer and served on the western limit.

     On June 22 1941 fascists attacked the Soviet Union and my grandpa was among them who took part in the first battle. When he was telling all that to my mom, she clearly remembered scary pictures of that story. There was a river passing by the battlefield about 80 metres width away. On the next day of the battle, it was possible to pass the river by dead bodies.

     Also he protected Moscow when Germans were within 25km distance in autumn 1941. He was wounded with a large-caliber shell. Leg was really milled and the bone was broken into little pieces. First, the doctors wanted to amputate his leg but one surgeon with golden hands tried to operate on him. He gathered all pieces of the bone, bridged all them together and saved my grandpa’s leg. After his leg was totally cured, he returned to the front to protect his native land.

     The war ended and he continued to serve on limit but he was sent to the eastern one. In that time there was a conflict with China. One enemy tried to pass the border unnoticed. A pursuit had begun for him. He was found only on the second day in the thicket of forest. When grandpa tried to arrest him, he resisted and injured his friend with a knife. He made arrest to bear his friend by his back. As they were too far from the post they reached it only after 3 days. My grandpa got pneumonia and thereafter he had asthma.

     During all his service he got 13 war awards.

     He decided to leave the military and go back home. When he had finally returned he knew that all his family: Mom, Dad, younger sister were killed by fascists. He didn’t want to stay in Belarus any more so he went to his friend in Tajikistan. There he was placed in Society for Preparation of Youth for service in the army as an instructor. There he met my grandma. She was great in shooting and she got first place in the city for shooting. And their great love gave a birth to my Mom who told me that entire story yesterday. And now I’m going to know more and more about all my relatives. I’m not a Kazakh and actually Russians don’t have a tradition to know all their forefathers but now I’m going to start a book where will be my geological history of our family.”

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Zaida’s Red Army Hero Grandfather

My grandfather Baidrahmanov Permahambet Sabitovich was born in 1911 in the village Karatal of area Prishimskogo of the North-Kazakhstan area in a family of poor men. His father Sabit died in 1934 since my grandfather went to an elementary rural school. Though the time was hard and the family were in need, despite that he wanted to study so much that he went to the village Bogolyubovo. There he entered in a Russian seven-years school, which he had successfully finished in 1927.

After there with a certificate about seven-years education, he went on to the city of Petropavlovsk and entered in the pedagogical school. In 1930 by direction of a department of formation he went to the area of Presnovsk in a village Ortalyk. Up to 12 years before leaving for the Front, he worked as the teacher in villages of Ortalyk, Berlyk and Zhargain areas. According to him, he was a very strict, fair and creative teacher.

In May of 1941, my grandfather was called to the army and directed to the city of Gorki on intensive courses for political workers. Having finished study in October of the same year, he was directed to the Baltic front as the assistant to the commander company on watered-parts 50-th shelf. Considering bravery, courage and other positive qualities, the command he was directed an infantry school where he was training from 1943 until 1944. At the end of the study he was appointed commander of the shooting platoon 177 –th Kishinev Guards a shelf of 60-th Red Army divisions of 5-th shock army of the first Belarus front. To serve in the elite troop of the Red Army was honorable and very responsible.

In 1957, he was selected as the secretary of the party organization and he worked there some years. One advantage his work had always been established in the Front. His fighting awards were Gold Star of the Hero, Lenin’s award for Fighting Difference on Front also a medal for Victory over Germany. His personal feat in January 14-th in 1945 at break of long term defense of the opponent in area of Bada. My grandfather, during artillery preparation, had advanced the platoon to a German mine field. As soon as his artillery had transferred fire of defense of the enemy, he wired obstacles carrying away for fighters. In suburb of Bady, my grandfather with a platoon blocked the enemy, he had destroyed pomegranates one machine-gun and he had provided promation of his infantry.

In my opinion we shouldn’t ever have the right to forget about the severe years for all our people. Certainly the traces of the war on the ground didn’t remain, but they were kept in our hearts, in memory of our brave grandparents and ancestors.

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Kazakh Grandparents are Greatly Admired


My grandparents died when I was 4 years old girl. But my father told me the history of our family. My grandparents  were born in  Kostanay oblast of our country. They had three daughters and one son.

During 1930 there was a famine on the territory of Kazakhstan. My grandfather had organized the migration of his family from Kazakhstan to Russia, where the neighboring cities had sufficient amount of food, even in excess. It was a genocide against Kazakhs, because at this period of time the Kazakhs were a majority on their own territory. Later after this famine and other actions of the Government the Kazakhs became a minority.  After several years my grandfather with his family had returned to Kazakhstan in Akmola oblast. My father was born there.

During  World War  II my grandfather participated in operations against Military Germany on the territory of Russia. He was a machine gunner.  He had an injury during one battle, near  Stalingrad. After this, he spent several months in hospital, and then he was demobilized and returned to home. He had received Government Awards for actions during  World War II.  But his younger brother was missing in 1943. My relatives had received a letter of notification.

After war my grandfather continued his work in forestry. He was a director of a forest reserve in Kurgaldjino. My father continued the traditions and he worked in forestry. In 1960 our family moved to Almaty city, former capital of the Kazakh Republic. After retirement he continued his work in the forest reserve near  Almaty. During his life he fully provided for his family. After his death my father was provided  a house in the city, the house outside the city and car. My grandfather was an example of an excellent manager at home and at his work.

My grandmother was older than my grandfather, she didn’t work but supported my grandfather by doing all work at home. She had a big vegetable garden near the house, where she cultivated all vegetables necessary for the family. There was a small farm, near the house. There were cows, sheep and horses.  She cooked homemade sour cream and butter, bread.

My grandparents from my mother’s side were from Akmola oblast. My grandfather also participated in  World War II. He had Government Awards for  the battles in  Stalingrad city, and in Berlin. He was on operations of war from 1941 till 1946. He reached Berlin. We don’t have a family, where relatives didn’t participate in II World War. My grandmother from my mother’s side was a seamstress. She sewed different clothes, she embroidered different patterns. She had a small vegetable garden near the house, where she cultivated some vegetables.

I admire my grandparents. They lived in very difficult periods in the history of our country, but nevertheless they achieved successes and excellent results.   


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“World Class Flat” and Wise Buys (Part II)

Here are my “Wise Buys” for those more astute, speculating shoppers:

1)     Naturally, one should always start in the bathroom area of one’s flat.  That is where most other people who are cost saving start, never mind the big ticket items such as cars, washing machines, computers, etc.  In our flat’s bathroom a more appropriate term would be “Water Closet” because it is as big as a closet.  I have a foot high metal holder for toilet paper, towelettes, spray.  I bought this at the Green Market and not the barahoka, so you KNOW it is stellar quality. Mind you, not manufactured in China. I also have the kind of spongy matting (forest green) that people use in bathrooms, imported from Germany and of very good quality. Again, not made in China which is a major selling point made often by Green Market sellers.  Okay, I dislike bathroom humor so thankfully this part is over with, moving on…


2)     These next items are for our truly “green thumb” shoppers.  The next place to look in order to save money for us is to sell all my plants.  When I first arrived to our flat that my husband had secured over a year and a half ago, the whole place was devoid of the color green.  I LOVE green (especially our old style American dollars) so I made short work of a trip to Ramstor just a block away and I bought 10 green plant holders, potting soil and the requisite GREEN plants.  For some reason I have many “Mother-in-laws tongue” plants that seem to proliferate.  So, not to use the ubiquitous “mother-in-law” jokes that abound in the former Soviet Union, I will refrain from writing any more.  Just know that my 14 + plants are healthy, they make our “World Class Flat” a home.


3)     For those of you who observe Christmas as a holi-day, I also have a collapsible Christmas tree for sale.  This has many fond memories attached to it having celebrated two Christmases with us here in Kazakhstan.  This tree I bought at the Green Market and is from Poland so you KNOW it is of top notch craftsmanship.  It stands less than a meter high when on a box and I will throw in the twinkling lights to the highest bidder.


4)     Apparently, we had our place newly remonted, meaning we had a European style remont which means absolutely NOTHING was on the walls, just whitish wall paper.  I suppose I prefer that over the gauche red carpets one sees in packed in living rooms and overly stuffed book shelves of outdated books in Russian printed in Moscow in the 1960s.  Yes, with bare walls, I could actually be creative with using pictures of my own taste to fit our color scheme of blue, purple, tan, beige, red and off orange linoleum.  So I quickly bought 14 frames at the big Tsum department store, matted the pictures off our old Carl Larsson and Terry Redlin big calendars and asked my hubby to drill the nails into the wall. (I found out later that these @ 18 inch by 20 inch frames were much cheaper at the Green Market)  Of course, the walls on our “World Class Flat” are patently secure with a 6 inch thickness of concrete so my dear husband went through many drill bits on some of our more fortified walls.  In any case, I will eventually sell all 14 frames and it will be of no extra cost to you, dear smart shopper, if you actually LIKE the pictures I matted under the glass and in the frames.


5)     One of my prized, big ticket items is a small CASIO keyboard.  It has more keys than the person at Housing who strenuously requests all foreigners to give over an extra set of apartment keys for “our protection.”  Well, maybe not, I counted my piano keys and it is short two octaves of the 88 keys that a full sized piano would have. However, it does have all the bells and whistles you could possibly want to make it sound like an accordion or a trumpet, ad naseum.  Me, I just prefer electronic pianos with an on and off switch, but this one also runs on battery.


6)     Another item is my HP LaserJet 1018 printer that has an extra filled print cartridges. It runs like a top.  Well, it should, it was purchased so we could continue to do our jobs at home while we are away from our office computer and printer. My husband and I buy our own reams of paper so that cannot account for the high erosion of paper that is lost by our university.  You find these things out when we are told to not use as much paper.  You see, they too are only trying to cut corners to save money where it really adds up!!!  That goes for number 1 above, we buy our own toilet paper at Ramstor. I can’t even imagine anyone embezzling toilet paper at our university except maybe impoverished college students.


7)     Finally, we also have the usual toaster, crock pot (from the U.S.), juicer, upscale hot pots for heating water necessary for any post-Soviet kitchen.  When the apartment complex heat is eventually turned off we have the SEVEN oil filled heater that will have to be sold along with heater fans to keep ones feet warm under one’s desk.  We have a boom box that uses both tapes and CDs. 


8.     I will give away music CDs, what is left of my DVD and video collection, my textbooks and reading books to those people I count as friends and important colleagues.  I may even have a phrase book or two in English on how to properly use Jesus Christ’s name rather than using it profanely.


This fine tuning we MUST do in order to pay back our credit card company and to run our “World Class Flat” more effectively, until we leave on cordial terms with our landlady, of course.  I’m truly grateful we have things to sell and not have to sell ourselves.  Unfortunately, some Central Asians have been forced to sell themselves into slavery due to their dire and grim circumstances.  (please read “Two Kyrgyz Women” to get perspective) Others have, perhaps, sold their souls.

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