Trip Start Sep 04, 2003
Trip End Dec 20, 2003

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Flag of Uzbekistan  ,
Sunday, November 16, 2003

It snowed last night! Not very much, just a dusting, but it's still cool. It usually doesn't snow here until January... or maybe it just doesn't snow very much until January... I don't remember. Anyway, it's very pretty from a distance... just don't get too close-- rain and snow make Tashkent even dirtier than it normally is (or maybe it just seems that way.) Plus, the rain is really nasty (there's definitely salt and acid in there-- I accidentally tasted some the other day, blechh, very salty... since the salt probably comes from the Aral Sea, I don't even want to think about what else might be in there) so the snow is probably even worse. Oh well. I have some pretty pictures I will post soon, and you can see the prettiness from a cleaner location. ;-)

Other news... um...

- Anna went to Samarkand yesterday to bring Karen her box (yay Karen!)

- Scott arrived from Osh, Kyrgyzstan, yesterday for his Tashkent visit

- Ildar has been in Moscow for about a week, and apparently his new job is going well.

- I had a very good language day yesterday! I understood and was understood at the supermarket, the bazaar, and one of my cab rides (the one in Uzbek... the ride with the Russian driver was of course a lost cause, but at least I got home! I love that pointing is a universal language, and he was as eager to use it as I was!)
Ok, so Hulkar (the girl who comes to clean my apartment once a week) taught me how to cook a really yummy pumpkin yesterday (you stuff it with ground beef, onions, potatoes and a little rice, and put the entire pumpkin in the oven for an hour or so). So, I went to the supermarket to buy the good beef, and successfully got good steak ground into beef uzing my Uzbek skills- yay! I was very nervous about doing this right. I decided to be frivoulou and take a cab home because it was pouring down rain, and I understood 90% of what my driver said! I successfully bargained for a lower fare, and then had a conversation with him all the way home (it does help a little that everyone always asks me the same questions, so I get used to recognizing and answering "Where are you from? Why are you here? How long are you here for? Are you married?") When we got to my apartment area, I stayed for a few minutes to make sure I sucessfully explained something, and when it worked, he said he was really glad to have talked with me and my Uzbek was really good, and knocked 100 soum off my fare. :) Then I went to the bazaar for the vegetables and stuff. I understood everyone and everyone understood me! I was shocked! I find it more difficult to understand men than woman, and the Uzbek I learn in class is different than what is spoken on the streets of Tashkent (Tashkent has its own lingo, although people do sometimes try to make an effort to speak more literary Uzbek when they know you're a foreigner who's just learning). So, this was a very surprising and welcome development! When I went to buy a fruit whose name I forget (I don't think there's any American equivalent, and it's probably not even available in the States, at least in most places... it's both sweet and bitter, since it contains a lot of iodine, but there's one "chocolate" variety that's smaller and sweeter... I bought and tried that kind for the first time yesterday), the vendor was really really pleased with my Uzbek (by the time I got to him, I had already had a lot of practice that morning!) I went back this morning to buy some more, and found out that he has adopted me! He said that he has four sons and no daughters, and I'm sort of his American daughter now. goodness He's a very kind, gentle man, so it didn't freak me out. ;-) I'm finding that I'm being adopted by an awful lot of people! He said that I spoke Uzbek with no accent, which I don't believe, but it was nice of him to say. :) I also visited Rahima and Scott last night (the Korean soap opera Kish Sonatasi (Winter Sonata) is finally in Uzbek, and is being aired from the beginning! Oh happy day!) and spoke a lot of Uzbek with them... I love that it's getting so much easier to have conversations with people, especially people like Rahima-- there's so much I've wanted to talk to her about, but I'm just now becoming able to. :) Thinking in Uzbek is becoming easier, and I've been dreaming in Uzbek for a while now (not the entire dream, but little snippets of conversation amidst the English).

Oy, I think that's all for now. I'm going to try to upload some pictures, but I might have to do that later (not sure if this comp has a usb port, and here aren't any others available right now.

Ok, I unexpectedly was invited to Ruslan's Mom's birthday party, which was so much fun! Thank you Ruslan and Ruslan's Parents. :) I have pictures to post of that, as well. Enjoy!
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