Friday, December 29, 2006

Over the Pond and through the Steppe

Greetings from Almaty, Republic of Kazakhstan!
We have been here for over a week- actually, today marks the one week anniversary of our residence at Satpaeva 2.
The trip was quite a long one. We left the US on Sunday evening, and arrived in Almaty early Tuesday morning. Luckily we met up with some people from KIMEP (the university where Brooke is working) who whisked us away to our Hotel Kazakhstan. The picture below is the view from our window at the hotel, early in the morning before the daily smog settled in. You can actually see the university- it's the white-ish looking building with the tower on the left side of the photo.

Here's Brooke in our apartment on Christmas morning. Note his glee at having American-style scrambled eggs. Also he found out that he would be a Kazakh millionaire in the near future (that's not saying much). Christmas isn't really celebrated here, and it was just another working day for Brooke. New Year's, apparently, is a huge deal. So this weekend should be eventful!

And here's Brooke at the KIMEP campus. We had snow on Christmas in the evening. It has been fairly cold here, but it doesn't feel as cold as Boston because it's very dry. We hear that the snow stays all winter long, which makes it look very winter-y.

Here's our bedroom- you can see Dagny in one of her favorite spots on the window sill.
We had an interesting experience in the wee hours of December 26th. We both woke up because our wardrobe (the black thing at the right side of the picture) was rocking back and forth very noisily. Then I realized that our bed was also shaking- not a lot, but about as much as when someone who's lying or sitting on the bed is shaking his/her leg. After about 10 seconds (I think) it stopped. Neither of us knew what had happened, and we just went back to sleep. We found out the next morning that it was an earthquake! About 100 miles from here, up in the mountains in Kyrgyzstan, it was something like 5.5 on the Richter scale.

And here is our fabulous living room. We have a little balcony, but our landlady has stored a bunch of junk on it so there's not much room to move around. My favorite part of this picture is the plastic light fixture that I think is supposed to resemble a chandelier. Unfortunately you can't see King Tut in this picture- there's a huge picture of him above the couch, just to the left.

Home sweet home! Yes, the picture below is our building- remarkably well preserved ever since communism. The nicer-looking part in the left bottom corner is Grohe, a store that sells luxury bathroom fixtures.

More details forthcoming. Y'all best post comments. It gets lonely out here in Central Asia.
The End.


Anonymous said...

Hey you two, looks like you're settling in alright. Your building looks a lot like the graduate student housing here. And of course there's paprika-flavored Pringles. That's fricking awesome. Nice to be rich, huh? I wouldn't know. But congrats anyway. Best of luck, thinking of you,

Bobby said...

Glad to hear you are doing well. Kazakhstan looks cool! It really reminds me of Romania. Your apartment block looks EXACTLY like my block in Cluj.

I used to love when it would snow in Romania. It seems like snow just fits those former communist countries. Some of my fondest memories of winter in Romania involve deep snow.

My bits of advice are:
1. learn the language ASAP(i'm sure you're already doing this by now)
2. take TONS of pictures (&videos)
3. keep up w/ your blog. the biggest regret of my mission is that i didn't keep a journal.

С Новым годом!

Shih Ying said...

Happy 2007!
Stay warm. : )

nicole said...

i love the blog! this is a perfect idea to keep all of us so interested, updated! what are the grocery stores like? what do you eat? keep the photos coming. we love you so much!

Larry said...

Congrats to you Brookstina. Looks like a nice place you're living in, and the city is beautiful as well. Thanks for putting up the blog so we can keep up on your exciting travels. I've got you added as a Live Bookmark so please post frequently (at least more so than Adam). Happy New Year!!!

amber jensen said...

love that you guys are blogging -- i will definitely keep up on all of your adventures. long live foreign travel...

be good. happy new year!

amber jensen

Peter Miller said...

You've got a kitty!!! I hope he's gnarly, I'm going to be seriously disapointed if you've got some wuss cat. Mine got run over by a humvee last year and now I just admire everyone else's.
Hey and how's your Russian coming along? How do you say, "I'm not giving you free fuel, get yourself and your damn plane out of my airport?" I'm babysitting some Kazaks and their stupid plane at the moment here.
Hey and remember, tents are safer when it comes to earthquakes.

Neha said...

I love the chandelier!

Happy New Year and hugs to you both!
Keep the updates coming

Anonymous said...

Wow, it is very nice to see that all of you are doing well. Man, it look mad cold over there. Life is Boston is really good thus far. I am loving living here...I have been traveling and working hard. I am in a Portuguese congregation here and so my Portuguese is more solid than ever. I am heading to Brazil in July for my Brazilian sister's wedding..going for about 3 weeks or so.. well, that is all I got..

I miss both of you guys. I pray to to God that you have a wonderful time and we keep safe and sane in the k-stan wilderness. I am sure you will have many interesting stories..


When you can, send me a post card...

arushi said...

Happy New Year!!

I think BrookStina is catching on already...I noticed a special on E! the other day "BrookStina in K-Stan- did they steal all our snow?"

Even though you guys didn't get to spend Christmas here, you got the snow in Almaty that no one on the east coast got.

Hope you are having a great time, they apartment looks wonderful :)



Klangfarben said...

brookstina! wow, you guyz exiznist! This is Christian and Laci and McDuff. wow, hey drop me a line sometime via the world wide web (I think Kazakhstan has that stuff). Oh, how time goes by so quickly.

Emily said...

Oh! Your apt is so twee. Love it. Do keep up the picture-posting, darlings.

Elsie S said...

Wowskies! You guys are too cool living in Kazakhstan!... Be sure to buddle up kids!... Happy New Year, Brookstina! =)