Posts tagged Kazakhstan

All about the soil, gardening and shards

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Finished up on grades, was part of the graduation ceremony, planting vegetable gardens, mowed for first time last week (needs to be done again) and getting ready for our Syttenden Mai celebration on Saturday at the Carnegie.

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The latest find that makes me happy is going out to the nearby field and finding more glass shards from crocks and also fine dishes.  Last night I found an antique axehead, it was just laying right on the top of the ground.  Much other metal that I pick up.  Remnants of bricks where this farm used to be.  My Dad said that they would go by and pick up the neighbor kids to go to the country schoolhouse, so I KNEW there had been a place but now I know more where the location was. Their place was farther from the road and more into the field, like a football field away.

Anyway, I will start making some artsy things with the pretty glass I have uncovered, perhaps I have already maxed out on the other place I used to go to one mile from our house.  I should check for asparagus though.  The rhubarb is ready and I gave a whole bag to my Mom.  Life is good because I have good friends like Phyllis and a wonderful sister.  They listen to me when I am struggling and hurting.

The Chancellor the other day asked me about the reputations of universities in Almaty, Astana and Aktau, Kazakhstan.  I wrote a real quick, gut level reaction to her question about whether they were reputable.  I wonder what she thought of my analysis?  I mentioned what I knew while teaching at KIMEP in Almaty and NU in Astana. Reputation IS important.

 

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Update after this week

Ken at Koktobe

Not much going on that is unusual…I found a photo of my husband showing off an American hat from our US locality in Almaty, Kazakhstan. We were on Koktobe for a nice outing by using the cable car.  When I had first lived in Almaty, the cable car was not working in 1994 but by the time we went back to live and teach in 2007, it was working and bringing many people up to see the city of Almaty below.

Me in Almaty

During our time at KIMEP, as I wrote earlier, my husband and I went to an American football game where our students were playing against another team that had far better jerseys and equipment. I can’t remember what the score was or who won but it was inspiring to see that the Kazakh students who had lived in the US for a year or two under the FLEX program had been encouraged enough to replicate what they saw back in their own home country once back.  Even the girls got in the act with cheerleading.

NU Astana, Kazakhstan

After our 2-3 years of teaching at KIMEP, we ended up at NU in Astana when it first was getting started. That would almost be eight years ago now. You can see a model of what the whole campus is supposed to look like once all is finished.  The building itself where I taught is in the background.  What a HUGE undertaking this was to create this kind of “westernized” university in the capital city of Kazakhstan. I wish the students and teachers all well.

 

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More skating in Astana, Kazakhstan

four countriesI suppose many people are watching the Winter Olympics in Korea, some amazing talent there!  Not sure who took this photo of four nations represented but we were skating on a frozen solid river in Astana, Kazakhstan.  On the left is a former Kazakh student, then Wilma from Netherlands, a guy from U.K. who liked to travel everywhere and me.  Seven years ago I was teaching and living in Astana, the coldest capital in the world, second to Ulan Baatar in Mongolia.  Yes, when the winds swept through the northern plains to Kazakhstan you wondered what the weather was like north of us, in Russia.

Didn’t matter the temp or the wind chill, an expat friend of mine from U.K. would cross country ski every day along the river in Astana.  I thought she might have been crazy or part Norwegian but this was her usual thing to do while her husband had some kind of government job.  Wonderful couple, I wonder where they are or if Wilma is back in Holland.  I keep up with most of my former students from NAU through FB.

I’m amazed that I had so many visitors to this blog yesterday, must have been something I wrote or the pictures I put up.  I used to have over a 100 a day when I was actually living in Kazakhstan and talking about the culture and people.  Now I just put up occasional pictures of my life back in Minnesota.  The following is something I see a LOT of on our northern plains.

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Life may be cold here, as it is in Astana, but the hearts are warm and we have memories to go on.  I doubt that I’ll ever get back to Central Asia after having lived in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan for 1 1/2 years and Almaty and Astana, Kazakhstan for 2 1/2 years, over four years.

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Skating in Astana

Seven years ago I was crazy enough to go skating on the small river that weaves through Astana. It was very frozen…no worries there of falling through.  Probably it had been frozen sinc November and would not melt until the following April or May.  Anyway, it was fun to skate with a woman from Holland and with a former Kazakh student of mine.  I’m not sure where I got the ice skates, probably from another ex-pat who had left them behind.

Skating in Astana

There had been some winter activity in Astana where Bota, as a volunteer, had an actual uniform and name tag for one of the ice arenas.  She skated fairly well, my friend from the Netherlands was a good skater and the ice was smooth enough to go backwards or forwards.  I have not skated since seven years ago when this picture was taken.

I understand that Astana has recently had some incredibly cold temps and high winds, I hear from people who I know who live and teach at Nazarbayev University.  One American and another British guy are teachers at NU.  Also, not only have I heard about the cold weather in Astana but the very, very strong winds. I saw photos of how people were standing on the sidewalk and just pushed along by the wind or how dangerous it was for even cars to drive.

As for me, I’m in cold Minnesota and we just have to worry about negative temps and some strong winds with blowing snows but nothing as horrific as what Astana experiences. Here’s a photo of our country that is very flat looking outside our second story window.

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Another photo shows our winter when it is beautiful and pure white, when all is still.

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when all is still

 

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Harvey has taken over global news

News for us is that the plum trees have taken over with their bounty…the harvest is plentiful.  The apples are done and my Mom has taken care of about two 5 gallon buckets full of apples.  I have maybe a gallon or so in the fridge and will make a few more apple pies.  Now, what to do with all these plums that Ken and I picked tonight?

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That is OUR news on the homefront but things are not good for my friends down in the Houston, TX area.  The following are pictures of the couples home that I know from Almaty, Kazakhstan.  The devastation that so many families are going through is very sad. But these people are working together to help each other because that is all they have left.

I’m grateful for our fruit and vegetable harvest even though it means a LOT of work to make them into something.  I just give most of it away like the turnips and the basil.  Next will be the red beets.  Oy my!

Thom Orr

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Article about Astana

This article about a faraway place was a surprise to read since I have been there, lived there, worked there…Astana, the new capital or Kazakhstan.  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/asia/kazakhstan/articles/astana-newest-city-break-expo/

If you think that this is a hot destination to go to, then be ready to have plenty of money to pay for all the extras.  Also, it is a blend of old Soviet in the old part of town with the new era that has unusual architecture.  The locals have their own names for some of these buildings…I’ve written about them in my earlier blogs.

For now, enjoy my artwork that I did that is on display with about 50 other artists.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Happy Mother’s Day

Okay, ONE hour left in Central time in the U.S. to wish mothers a very special day today. We went to church, I played two violin duets with a former Korean student and then to pick up my folks.  I had to give my Mom our lilac and plum blossom bouquet first.  Then I also had along a Campfire coleus that requires full sun. That’s unusual for coleus which requires little to NO sun.  Then I also gave her a Ukrainian beaded necklace I bought for her a month ago in Kyiv.  Hard to believe I was there for ten days just a month ago.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Glad I’m back to our beautiful spring and how everything is greening out so nicely in the tree lines.  Our plums have been wonderful, next up will be our crabapple tree out front.  We are starting to get lilacs and then the chokecherry blossoms should be out as well.  Ken hosted my folks and me to a nice buffet this afternoon after church and then we went for a drive to a very famous nursery, it was bustling with activity, lots of flowers, plants, bare root trees were going out the door.  The grounds itself will be planted with whatever is left over from what people don’t buy.

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Ken and I planted our garden that I had in our bay window for several weeks.  We put out brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, peppers and 24 different tomatoes.  Some insect was already eating up the leaves of the cauliflower and cabbage so I put SEVIN on it.  Now tonight I discovered that our ever so industrious gopher took out one of our peppers because he is setting up his mounded home in OUR garden. Ken put out some “bait” for that critter.  I DO NOT LIKE gophers!!!

Tonight Ken and I went for a drive in the countryside to our favorite asparagus patches and found some surprises and other places that are late bloomers.  I will bring some of that to work to share with others and also some lilac bouquets.  We are blessed to be living out in the countryside although right now it is VERY dusty.  We could use some rain soon.

For this month of May, I thought I better get this post done so I have at least two postings for my blog this month. I was advertising this to a genealogy group I spoke to last week.  I used to post every day while I lived in Kazakhstan.  Now being away from it for so long, I only keep up with what I am doing while living back in the U.S.  I am glad I still have visitors that come to this site…many are from either the US and Canada or Kazakhstan. I’m surprised how many other countries are represented in looking up about what I experienced while I lived and taught in both Almaty and Astana for about four years.  Great country. I wonder if I will ever get back to Kazakhstan again?

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