Posts tagged Pavlodar

More things learned about KZ outside of a textbook

Since going to Borovoye last Saturday, I have plenty of things to talk about with my Friday noon, Advanced speaking group among the university employees.  The following are more things I learned from them about this marvelous place.  I also learned about other places I should travel to in Kazakhstan before I leave this amazing country.

First, Okshepis is the Kazakh word for “mountain so high that an arrow can’t reach it.”  However, there is a legend about a beautiful girl who was the daughter to a rich bai. This rich Kazakh man met many worthy suitors who wanted his daughter’s hand.  They had just come back from war and wanted to marry her.  However, she was in love with another fellow whom her father did not approve of.  So a competition was arranged that whoever succeeded in shooting his arrow to the top of this mountain would marry the beautiful girl.  If they did NOT succeed, they would be beheaded.  (Yikes, the stakes were high).

Apparently in order for her lover to win, the young girl climbed to the top of this Oktopis and placed a scarf so that her lover could see where to aim.  She also sang a song for him to hear her voice.  I guess if he did not win, she was ready to commit suicide because he too would be beheaded with the rest of the suitors.  I’m not sure how this legend ended because there were so many variations that started sounding the same.  But clearly this country is a land of romance. Oh dear, I DO hope the young girl got the man of her dreams.

We also went to a deer farm, they are called maral.  Their antlers are used in a panta cream that is a kind of Chinese medicine.   Apparently when the antlers are cut from the deer, they feel no pain. Also the hooves of the deer are used for medicinal purposes. One more thing I learned is that the blood from these deer is useful to drink for good health.  So, these 170 deer at this farm we went to visit will have everything used from head to toe! (antler to hoof)

Next, I asked my adult students if there is any other place close to Astana that is similar to Borovoye in beauty.  Apparently there is and it is south of Pavlodar and directly east of Astana, something like Baianor or Bainayl (I can’t read my scribbled notes.)  There could be so much more tourism that Kazakhstan might profit from but supposedly the infrastructure is missing and successful tourism needs good management.  A part of Kazakhstan’s strategic plan is to invest more in tourism by 2020.

Other places I would like to go to would be Turkestan which I learned a LOT about from another adult student I had who used to live in the Chymkent area.  Actually, she lived in Turkestan for three years and helped to bring the big artifact that had been stored at the Hermitage back to Turkestan by way of a big Soviet truck.  I hope I still have my notes after talking with her about Turkestan.  From what I understand Turkestan is a very ancient city, over 1,500 years old and is considered a holy place.  Many Kazakh warriors were buried in Turkestan.

Also, the oldest capital is in western Kazakhstan which is known as Sarashik.  I learned about the ritual according to Tengri, a very ancient religion where they used to pray to nature, like sky and moon, etc.  Apparently there are still elements of Tengri in Kazakh traditions that are observed today.

Looking at the map of Kazakhstan with my students, I didn’t realize that Semipalatinsk was so close to the Russian border and is a very beautiful city with the mountains and Irtsk river going through it from China.  Apparently the damage done at the Polygon with nuclear testing for about four decades is 500 kilometers away.  But still…not so good to encourage tourism where there still might be radioactivity.

Another thing I learned was that in the area close to Semipalatinsk there used to be Christian believers there. That would be many, many years ago in the northeastern part of Kazakhstan bordering to Russia and China where missionaries from the very early days were there.  That claim will have to be investigated.  I’ve heard  also that there are blue eyed Kazakhs, which seems even more interesting in this Central Asian land.

So, that is what I learned about Kazakhstan the other day, all this needs to be explored further.  Enjoy one last photo of our group who went to Borovoye last Saturday at the deer farm.  What a memorable trip, hopefully more to come.

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Dana’s Relative was famous among the girls and broke many hearts!!!

I want to tell you one story about my grandparent. My grandfather Kabulda lived in the village Maikain with his 3 brothers, 2 sisters and mother near the Pavlodar city. My Grand-grandmother married when she was 13 years old and gave birth for the first baby at this age. She was a long-liver person and died when she was more than 100. The father of my grandfather died during the World War II when my grandfather was 6 years old.

All the brothers were very famous, beautiful and popular in their village, especially among the girls. The elder brother was the strongest and most popular so that everyone who knew him were afraid him. But the jealousy among the girls was too much. And in order not to have him with anybody they drowned him in the lake.

As stated earlier, it was after the World War II. At that time Kazakhstan was different from how it is now. Most of the people who lived in the villages led a simple life, no education. There was no police, no government or president. At that time Kazakhs lived like in tribes. So, most people were uneducated. My grandfather and his brothers was a aftotitet people in the village.

The elder brother was the most popular, aftoritet, beautiful person with charisma. He was famous among the girls and he was not married till he was in his 30s. For Kazakh mentality to be a beautiful, not married till 30 for man was unacceptable. The girls of the village killed him. All the girls who had been deceived by him drowned him in the lake. I think that he promised everything to every girl sometning and didn’t do that.

The ancestry of my grandfather was closely related to the mathematics, and most of them were scientists. My grandparent was also closely related to the mathematics, but he became an accountant and then a financial director. When he was young he was in Olympic reserve, long –distance runner. But because of injury he left sport. He didn’t marry until he was in his 30s, at that time most of the guys married before 23-24. He was smart, a man of handsome presence. On the wedding of his brother he met a girl. First that he mentioned was the way that she dressed and gloves on her hand. She was so beautiful, fashionable and young, and he fell in love to my grandmother Kalimash. It was love from the first sight. Love…at he’s 30s he met his love. They decided to marry, but Kalimash was sister of the wife of his brother. All the relatives were against of this marriage. However, love became stronger and relatives couldn’t block their way. And they get married. From this marriage they have 3 girls and one boy. The first baby is my mom.

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Abzal’s Grandparents – “Big Unhappy Moments”

For as long as I can remember, my grandparents have always shared stories with me about their lives, and the very different childhood that they had. At last, I am able to share their stories with others, and treasure the events that they have experienced as a major part of history.  On my mother’s side, my grandparents, Massygut Ayashinov and Rysbala Zhienbaeva were born on February, 1940 and on December, 1936, they don’t remember their actual dates of birth, but still they believe that they were born in those years.

 My grandpa was born in Bayanayl, one of the beautiful touristic places in Kazakhstan, at that time that was just a small mountainous village that was very close to Pavlodar, small, but still very important industrial city. It was in a less affluent community that was swarming with farmers. My grandfather is a sibling to five other children in his family, thus his family had to struggle most of the time to provide their children with the necessary food, clothing, and some  basic education. The lifestyle back in my grandparents’ time was very different from now as it lacked the many comforts that people is easily accessible to people now. Back then, life focused on farming and providing for your family in order to have enough food to survive. Though people greatly valued education, educating their children was perceived as a secondary priority.

My grandma told me about how she was born; it’s one of the saddest stories that I’ve ever heard. The parents of my grandmother were people that survived all really bad and unhappy moments of their lives. One big unhappy moment was that my grandma’s mother was pregnant 12 times, and every time after 1-2 months the baby that had been born died, and this repeated itself all 12 times. So one day she decided to kill herself, and went to a well, but before jumping into it, she looked into it, and miraculously saw a face of baby, and suddenly she lost her consciousness, after waking up the doctor said that she’s pregnant again, the parents of grandma looked not so happy to hear this news.  After 9 months my grandma was born so healthy, it was some kind of a miracle cause she survived, and moreover, she was one of the best students both in school and university.

My grandparents met each other in the school where grandma was teaching physics and grandpa was teaching math. My grandpa always told me that Rysbala was so strict, but so adorable and also she was so fashionable, that it was love at first sight, but it wasn’t easy to date with grandma, because at that time she was dating with some businessman, so grandpa started to flirt, send presents and flowers to grandma. Consequently, they got married and had their first children in 1963, then were born my mother on 1964, and then four other children. The big family lived friendly as they are living now, but without our beloved grandmother, she died about 2 years ago, she had stroke. It was really painful for all of us, and especially for me, because I spent all my childhood with grandma and I will always remember that she told me once, “ Do not ever forget that you have everything to become good person, you just need to use it right!”

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“Somebody’s Hero” Maiya’s Grandma

Grandparents…I remembered how many times I have thought about how hard it is to grow up without grandparents. How is it not to have memories of them? What’s a childhood without grandparents?

Unfortunately, my dad’s parents died while he was a child, so I can’t tell much about them except their names and a few stories that my dad’s older brothers told us. And my mom’s father died early, so I have only heard some stories about him and tried to get the picture about what kind of person he was in my head, about his personality and way of living. My grandmother, his wife, didn’t tell a lot about him, I think it was too hard for her, but my mom’s older brothers remember him better than my mom does, so they shared their memories with us.

         Luckily though, my childhood is filled with memories of my grandma. Every holiday we would go to her house and spend at least few days there. I remember waking up at about 5 AM, because it was the time the train arrived to Pavlodar, which is the city she lived in. also, I remember the excitement I felt when I was walking out of my dad’s car, or taxi and saw my grandmother in the window waving to us. We would come into the house and I’ve always felt so safe there! Right at the moment when you would step into the house you could feel the warmth of the heart of the owner and it would definitely make you feel very comfortable and relaxed.

There are two little details in the house that I now remember most clearly – the small calendar on the wall with advice for every day, quotes by different people, recipes, etc., and the radio that was turned on all the time. Even at night my granny would not turn it of, and I still don’t know why.

My grandma died four years ago… I am very happy, because I remember having her in my life, listening to her voice, touching her, playing with her… and the thing I’m very concerned about right now is the fact that my little brother who is only 6 years old right now is growing up without grandparents, because they are supposed to be one of the most important parts of your life! I am sure that almost all people have very warm memories of their grandparents. These are the people who teach you so many things, especially when your own parents are frustrated just because they are so young and they don’t know what to do with a little crying baby. And it is so sad to think that my little brother won’t have these trips to grandma’s house on holidays, he won’t feel her warm hands and won’t try her cakes…

I always think of the things she told me, advice she gave me… I am so thankful for all of the things she taught me. She was such a strong woman! There is a song that reminds me of her. It’s called “Somebody’s hero” and is performed by Jamie O’Neal. It has lyrics like these:

“She’s never pulled anyone from a burning building
She’s never rocked Central Park to a half a million fans, screaming out her name
She’s never hit a shot to win the game
She’s never left her footprints on the moon
She’s never made a solo hot air balloon ride, around the world,
No, she’s just your everyday average girl (but)

She’s somebody’s hero…”


Unfortunately, no one can replace a grandmother for a child, but at least I would like my brother to know as much as I can tell him about her, so that he can be proud of her. Just like me.

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