Central Asian Experience

Finally, it has arrived. Today is my last lecture day at the American University at Central Asia. I can finally enjoy a long, relaxing bath without worrying about my lectures for the next day. I can finally move on to other concerns, perhaps google where “Tumar” is, so I can shop for souvenirs, eat the world’s sweetest walnuts, and buy a felt teapot warmer.

It has been a tiring but wonderful week in Kyrgyzstan. The faculty and staff of the Economics and Business Division of the American University at Central Asia have been quite amazing with their hospitality. They took me around Bishkek, booked me an apartment at the city center, hosted many of my meals, booked me a tour to Ala Archa National Park, and provided a sim card and a university card so I can navigate easier. I now have in my possession a bottle of white and red Georgian wines, all because they took me to a Georgian restaurant for dinner.

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The gang at the Ala Archa National Park

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The river is slowly starting to freeze over

I like Bishkek. I feel at home with the culture. I like that people are ethnically international (although they probably only speak Russian). While the cab drivers may not be capable of speaking what to me is understandable English, they were never hostile and I never felt I was being cheated. Waiters and waitresses were respectful. My students are really eager to learn; and despite the class running from 6:30 pm to 9:10 pm, they engage and I see them fight the urge to feel the tiredness of the day. It is very difficult to not like the place. I have absolutely enjoyed my visit here, and I would definitely, definitely want to come back in the future. In my books, the world’s happiest people are the Kyrgyz. They are just extremely pleasant to be with.

October 21, 2016 | Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

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