As Morgan Freeman (almost) said in Deep Impact: The snow is receding!!
After seven months I decided to return to the Land of my Fathers to enjoy some quality family time and home comforts. It was nice to see everybody, even though not every surprise went as planned. What should have been below, for example, is a video of me surprising my sister. However, due to her reluctance to open the door, the video is so long that it is too big for the blog.
The main event that occurred whilst I was back in the UK was my cousin’s wedding. We travelled towards the mountains (though having seen much higher parts of the world, I hesitate to call them that) to Craig-y-Nos castle. Less of a castle and more of a country estate, but still pretty and a rare opportunity for me to see the green, green grass of home. It was a wonderful weekend full of fun and a lot of food.
The weather at home was stunning. It was an Indian Summer…before summer has started. This was a great contrast to the winter I experienced in Astana. Considering this, it was a rather pleasant surprise to return to a mild Kazakhstan with temperatures in double figures. Positive double figures. It is now warmer than Britain, something which I have taken great pleasure in telling the folks at home.
Winter is still very much visible. Inexplicably, the children still wear winter coats and hats as we saunter past in flip-flops and t-shirts. We have been informed that this is a by-product of the Soviet era, when summer officially stared on May 1 and winter clothes were to be worn until that time. This helps to explain the strange looks we get when we sport a relative lack of clothing. I’m hopeful that the new generation will be able to liberate themselves from that aspect of their past, as well as their coats!
The other reminder of the previous months is the fact that the river is still frozen, though it has begun to thaw. We believe that there is a fine line between bravery and idiocy, but am not entirely sure which side of the line people who are still fishing on the Ishim quite fit into. It is now warm enough to run alongside the river, which I have done a couple of times from school. A combination of security guards around the President’s Palace and a lack of paving under the bridges, however, makes this a difficult task.
The warmer climate, which is now pushing temperatures up towards 20’C, means that we are more willing to venture outside. We went to watch a ‘Beatles Day’, consisting of average-at-best performers crooning classic tunes in Russian accents. We also watched a bizarre 5D movie in the same entertainment complex, which involved us being flung around in a small car and sprayed with water as we moved into different worlds. Trippy.
We went to one of our friend’s birthday party on Saturday, a girl called Gulshat.
Kazakh fun fact: The country stops to celebrate the birthday of its leader, Nursultan Nazarbayev, on July 6th. Capital City day is one of many public holidays that Kazakh citizens enjoy.
The main difference between a Kazakh and British party – well, the ones I have been too – is the volume of vodka consumed, and the number of toasts throughout the evening. In reality, they’re pretty similar. Food, alcohol, dancing and smiles were the icing on the cake that has been our very happy return to Kazakhstan.
Love you all