Monday, April 29, 2013

Beautiful Bishkek

It has been raining often, which makes everything clean, cool, and most importantly, green. Bishkek is a kaleidoscope of chlorophyl, from brilliantly glowing translucence to thick, dark overgrown leaves. We've been out in the parks, sharing our chalk, our frisbees, our badminton, and our books.

Misha spends many weekends running around our neighborhood area with his friend Vladik. Sometimes they both ride their bikes, and sometimes they just use one. They run from our house to his house, collecting coins to buy little snacks, and head back outside again.

Last weekend we took a nice walk with my friend Anara and her son Alihan. The three boys ran happily through Erkindik Park, one of my favorites.

Misha helps out his brother when he gets tired.

Alihan and Misha play with insects, sticks, and other treasures.

We stopped at a Turkish cafe for a quick tasty lunch, and then walked down to the avtomoika (car wash) that they are in the process of building and getting ready to open soon. The boys loved grabbing some tools and imagining that they were building it themselves.

Earlier this month, I met up with my Russian teacher Svieta. We took our little boys to the Panfilov amusement park and basked in the sunshine. We were lucky enough to catch the changing of the guard in the center square, which happens every hour on the hour. It's something that's always fun to watch.

Bekjan and Sebby get to know each other.

Together with my Russian teacher and friend Svieta. She has taught me so much about Kyrgyzstan's cultures and traditions, as well as the works of Chekhov, Pushkin, and Chingiz Aitmatov.

Sebby's new bug friend.

A real peacock sits in the park, available for photographs.

No More Cabin Fever

Four boys and a pond full of frogs - who could ask for more?

After a long winter of being quite reclusive, we are finally becoming more social again as the weather tempts everyone outdoors. It feels wonderful to meander slowly home from the boys' school, stopping to play on playgrounds, or coming home first to collect chalk and badminton racquets before selecting a nice spot in the grass in a nearby park.

On a recent Saturday, my friend Alesia invited us to spend the day with her family at a place called Uncle Tom's Cabin. Located near the airport and adjacent to the American base, it features individual roofed shelters lining the quaint little lake. Eating by the water makes everything feel peaceful, cool, and fresh. The weather was pleasant, and even though it sprinkled a bit, the air was warm. That's the best kind of rain.

Misha, Sebby, Pasha, and Yan scarfed down their french fries and ran off to play - there were dogs to pet, bunnies to feed, and a playground to enjoy. Sebby immediately made friends with the huge, orange dog that other park-goers were too afraid to go near. The poor dog was so starved for affection that he reveled in Sebby's attention, licking him and rolling on his back. All the boys loved feeding clover and bits of apple to the little caged bunnies. 

Time for some badminton, frisbee, and a spin on the merry-go-round.

Alesia and I took the kids on a walk around the lake, while the dads stayed to chat in their cabin.

Alesia by the rushes with Sebby and Pasha.

The kids loved running through the meadows, crawling between the trees, crossing rivers, and stopping to listen to the loudly chirping frogs. They ran back and forth near the edge of the water, ever hopeful to catch a frog, but they only succeeded in soaking their shoes and pants legs.

To hear the funny chorus of the frogs, check out this little video:

An impromptu Ushu performance on top of a hill.

We sat in the grass and watched the shepherd come by with his flock.

A nice paintball field hides on the other side of the lake, full of fun things to play in like this old bus.

As the sun set, we ventured back to the restaurant, walking peacefully in the dark, when suddenly we were ambushed by two guys who jumped out of the bushes and sprayed us with silly string!

Then we loaded everything up and went home to throw the kids straight into the bathtub. A fun day full of fresh air, the sounds of nature, and the feel of the grass was just what we needed.