Posts tagged Saint Petersburg

Aisulu’s Humorous Grandma Believed in “Simplicity”

My Grandma was born in 1920 in Aulie ata – former Taraz in Zhambyl oblast. Her father was born in Kazan and was a tailor. He was a very interesting person – curious and smart. Being a little boy he dreamed of a career as a soldier and wanted to enter Kazan’s cadet corpus, but his mother wouldn’t let him go there because she believed that that there he would be made to change his religion. So he failed in his dreams and became a pupil of a tailor. In early 1900’s he took his family and moved to Kazakhstan in search of better life. At last he settled in Aulie ata, where my Grandma was born.

Grandma was brought up in a very big and united family there were 5 brothers and 3 sisters and she was the eldest of sisters. That is why she had spent all of her childhood looking after younger brothers and sisters. She attended only two classes of primary school and then her parents decided that it was enough for her. At that time in Kazakhstan there was used an Arabic alphabet and till her death she had been writing everything in Arabic and it was rather funny to open her phone book and see all the names written Arabic alphabet. And another curious thing about her was that if you ever met her you would never say that she is unable to read and write in Russian! So clever, wise and well-mannered she was. You’ll laugh but she was really surprised when I had told her that the Earth was like ball. All her life she thought that the Earth was as flat as a table! But I think that was not her fault it was the fault of her time.

She was born and raised in a very hard and tough time. Collapse of tsarism, civil war, years of victimization, famine, collectivization and so on and so on… Her eldest brother was arrested in 1930’s and then killed in a prison. He was only 28 years old, a talented poet but he left three little kids and a pregnant wife. Those were cruel times… She only told me once about the famine of 1930’s. It was caused by collectivization and thousands of people died during the famine. People were dying on the streets, even the richest ones were starving to death.

She married my Grandpa at the age of 20. He had just graduated from a Saint-Petersburg state university. A young well-educated Kazakh man, he was 27 and needed a wife. A “public enemy’s son” he changed his surname and left his home city – Aktobe. He moved to Aulie ata where he got acquainted with Grandma’s father and became his good friend. So that when my Grandpa told him that he is looking for a wife Grandma’s dad offered him to pay his attention to his daughters. So that is how the love story was! Grandma didn’t know my Grandpa well but married him because her father wanted so. Her father was sure that this young man would never hurt her and would take care of her. And he had been right they lived a long life together, gave birth to four children.

The most important thing my Grandma taught me was – the simplicity. Be simple everywhere with anyone, the more you respect everyone the more everybody respects you. If you are simple it will be easier for you to rise and then fall. All of our life we are kind of climbing up and down the mountains and it is easier to make your journey with the help of people who are ready to help because they respect you. Talk to people in a simple manner, and never think that you are better then the others. People are just not the same, no one is better no one is worse.

Money was nothing for her. She had never measured people with money. And she had never respected someone just because of his treasures and money. She believed that the true treasure in this life is a good friend.

She loved her family very much and when I told her that I’m going to go to study abroad, the first thing she said was: “But you won’t be able to come when I die…”. Good sense of humor, isn’t it?

I decided to name my first daughter – Asiya… After my Grandma!

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“Believing is a Way to Survive” by Yelena K.

‘There is no way to survive, but being optimistic’, – says my Grandma every time when I feel sad. When I was a child, I couldn’t understand her, and it was hard for me to believe these words, but few years ago, she told me her story, and since that time I have no right not to believe her.

         My Grandma and her family lived in Ukraine, they had their own manufacturing factory, it is impossible to say, that they were rich, but still they didn’t suffer from hunger and poverty. My Grandma was really gifted in music and she started study piano. She wanted to become a pianist.

          When World War began her father and elder brother went to fight for their Motherland, my Grandma, her Mom, two sisters and youngest brother were evacuated to Kyrgyzstan. But the process of evacuation wasn’t so easy, because there were millions of people, who had to be rescued, so my Grandma’s family were evacuated on the last platform, and on one station her Mom broke her leg between two wagons, so she and my Grandma (she is an eldest daughter) descended from the train, and her Mom was taken to the hospital and my Granny was taken to the orphanage. She didn’t even know where is her siblings, if her Mom still alive or not, but she continued praying every day, asking God for their life, life together.

           Almost one year my Grandma lived in the orphanage, her every single day was full of hopes. She expected every minute her Mom to come and take her home, and in 9 months her Mom was already able to walk, so she took her and continued evacuation. I am really delighted with her belief, and she always says, that there was no other choice: ‘The only opportunity to help my relatives was to believe. I thought, if I stop believing, they will immediately feel this, they will loose part of their strength, and not believing for me was equal to betraying’. When they arrived in Kyrgyzstan, they found their family, but I cannot say that they lived there, no, it was just keeping body and soul together, they dreamt about bread.

           After the war Grandma’s Dad and elder brother came back and started work, her father was a tailor and brother worked on factory. My Grandma has got a scholarship and went to Saint-Petersburg to study in university, and then she went to Almaty to work. Here, in Almaty, she met her first and the only love, my Grandfather. That time he just started working in hospital, an ordinary doctor from very poor family. He worked hard, he wanted to make my Granny a best present on their wedding ceremony, he wasted all his money, but he presented her a piano.

           My Grandma is sure that believing played a big role in her life and now I understand how it is important not to lose hope. Nobody will believe, but me.

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