A Northern Interlude

in which I move apartments and get a new flatmate.

I was going about trip preparations for my travels to Shymkent and Turkistan when I got an email informing me that I would need to move apartments by the end of the week, as the embassy would be giving up the lease on my previous residence. Oh, and I would have a new flatmate as soon as Ryan, the Public Affairs intern finally got to Kazakhstan (oh visas! and clearances!).  This was all fine and dandy, except by the end of the week unfortunately translated to “within 24 hours”, as I was leaving directly from work Wednesday.  And thus, with the help of a baby team of movers, I found myself moved a 15 minute walk away, right next to the Baiterek, the symbol of Astana.  I spent most of my last evening getting organized and packing.  And from Wednesday, I took off, leaving a handwritten note to “dear other intern,” just in case he showed up in my absence.  Indeed, when I returned slightly food-poisoned this past Monday, I noticed my note had disappeared and some random food products had appeared. Ryan had arrived.

I met him later that day.  And that evening, we chatted. Ryan is a student at Wisconsin-Madison, doing the MA program that I applied to (to think! we could have been classmates, had I not chosen to go to Stanford…) for Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies.  And, he had even completed second year Kazakh.  Not too shabby.  We made due with leftovers that first night, but the next night we made the requisite trip to the grocery store I had meant to do before I left for South Kazakhstan (canceled in light of moving).  I was excited to have a new pair of eyes to gawk at the products.  One of my new favorites:

Not as good as the "Chocolate Papa" ice cream with a buff African American man that you can buy in Russia. Still awesome.

Ryan also made dinner that night.  The result, mashed potatoes with red cabbage, were a colorful compliment to my stand-by salad.

And with a Guinness to finish it off. A lovely meal!

Anyway, Ryan is here the rest of my time in Kazakhstan–so I guess I didn’t end up living alone after all.  No complaints here, though.  Anyway, the next morning, I was off again, this time to Taldykorgan and Almaty.  Which will be discussed in due time.  Enough for today.


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