Like many other introvert people, a lot of the time – I don’t know what to talk about, or what to ask the people I meet.
Sometimes I don’t even recognize that someone is trying to start a conversation with me, I just answer their question in the least amount of words possible and move on. I’m like a blind zombie not able to see the all brains because of all the people.
It’s like the left side of mine brain is shouting:
“Oii! Brat! Say something!”
While the right side Is going:
“Right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot – ♫ I wish you ♪ would step back from that ledge my friend ♬ Is Shanghai the biggest city in the… ♪ You could, cut ties with all the… la la la.. hm hmm.. 🎶 I wonder how much a boat costs in India… ♫ Aaand if you….. Meee agaain! ♩What? I should say what? To who? No ones here!? ♪ I wooould uuuunderstaaaiaaaiaannnd 🎶
“🖕🏻– That was about 20 minutes ago…”
But I’m a firm believer that you with enough effort can become at least good at anything! So I’ll try to interview at least one person I meet along the way in each country I go through. I haven’t even remotely figured out how to do this right, so the first couple of times they will most definitely be either too long, short, weird or boring.
Also, it might be nice to have something else than just me me me on the blog.
Ainaz is a 22-year-old Kyrgyz woman I met while staying at Central Hostel in Bishkek. I was lucky enough to meet her because I had to wait for 3-month, before traveling on to China so I wouldn’t get caught in the Himalayan monsoon rain.
“I was born in Bishkek, but my parents are originally from the south part – Around Osh. They moved to Bishkek when they were 18. But people here would say we are from Osh – even my own kids would be “from Osh because my parents are from there.” – Ainaz
“When I lived at home I would wake up, and my mother or sister would cook for me, while I work on the computer, or on making my own jewelry – I can do that for ages. Most of the day, we cook or have friends and neighbors over – My day is busy, but sometimes I think it’s with useless things.” – Ainaz
Marriage is one if not, the most important goal in Kyrgyzstan, and while arranged marriages and even kidnapping isn’t a foreign tradition – Ainaz’s parents are a bit different – Friends and family often ask if Ainaz is still available for marriage.
But instead of forcing her into marrying someone the “old kyrgyz” way, it seems like they try to take Ainaz’s own wishes into account and agreed that she should try and live on her own for a month. For some parents in Kyrgyzstan, this can be difficult not just because of the way they themselves grew up, but because they have to defend their decision to friends and neighbors. The more people we see behave a certain way, the more it makes us believe it is ok.
In Denmark, it’s very uncommon for friends and neighbors to interfere with the decision you make with or for you children – In fact, some will people can get quite offended or even angry if you stick your nose “in their business”.
So I met Ainaz at a time in her life when she had a lot going on, both in her life and in her mind. I see Ainaz as part of a new Kyrgyzstan – A country and a woman which both have a lot to offer to the world – and which are slowly trying to adapt to it.
“I think I’m very different from my parents partly because I was born in Bishkek – My mother is very smart, but being smart doesn’t change the way you were brought up. They grew up in a very traditional Kyrgyz/Muslim culture, and I think the older they get – the harder it is to adapt to the way we grow up today. Your upbringing takes up and an enormous amount of space, whether you like it or not.
She tries hard to understand me and the choices I make, but I think it’s difficult for her.” – Ainaz
Kyrgyzstan had their first female president in 2010 after a revolution against the former president – That’s 1 year before we in Denmark finally had our first female Prime Minister. Although this a good first step, women are still taking a backseat in a big part of the society. Before the year 2007, there had been no women governors or women head of the local government in Kyrgyzstan.
“I feel offended when my relatives visit and they all just praise my brother about how great he is, and totally forget I’m also getting an education. There’s is this model of who you should be, and I don’t like that” – Ainaz
Taxes & Work
“I have several jobs at the moment – But I’m taking a break from one of them where I worked as a receptionist for a massage clinic while I’m working on this “secret” tv project. The pay is a lot better there, and the clinic was a bit unprofessional concerning scheduling my hours” – Ainaz
If you ask people here how much they pay in taxes they either just laugh at the question or don’t know. At one point I was riding with a taxi driver, and trying to explain to him the meaning of paying taxes:
“If you earn a 100 sum, how much would you give to your government?” – Walters
“Give the government? Why would I give the government money? It’s my money.” – Taxi driver
“Ah..” – Walters
It’s been a bit difficult to confirm, but the average income tax should be around 19 – 20 percent in Kyrgyzstan.
“A lot of people and businesses only pay a small amount of their income to make it seem as if they’re paying their taxes – in fact, so far I haven’t been given a single job contract to sign from any of the places I’ve been working.” – Ainaz
Even though Denmark has the third highest tax rate on earth, I (almost) happily pay the 50’ish percent of my wages in tax every month, because I believe the government tries to redistribute them as best possible and they put them to good use.
Kyrgyzstan is placed as the 136 most corrupt country in the world, while Denmark is sharing first place with New Zealand as the least.
The closest I’ve come to any sort of corruption in Kyrgyzstan, was when a couple of policemen wanted me and a couple of other “tourists” to buy them lunch, but I have heard lots of stories from others passing through the hostel I stayed at.
You don’t have to have any sort of scholarly education to see that this is probably one of the reasons why Kyrgyz people take paying taxes as a waste of their money.
The normal pay for working at the hostel I stayed at was about 500 sums for a 10 – 11-hour shift, which is about 6 – 7 Euro. Why pay taxes on that if you think most of it will probably just end up in the pocket of some greedy selfish prick.
The school life expectancy or the number of years kids on average would go’ to school if the trend continued throughout their lifetime is 13 in Kyrgyzstan, compared to 19 in Denmark. While that is a considerable difference I still meet lots of people that speak 2 – 3 and 4 languages, while I’m still struggling with learning the basics of Russian.
“I study sociology and psychology – I was the only one in my school to get into this university – well, besides a Korean girl, but that doesn’t count 😆😋 It was one of the happiest days of my life.
When I’m done I think I want to work with autistic children. They are amazing and see the world in a different way than we do. Even when they’re screaming, it seems like they’re trying to say something.
Many parents don’t listen, and just choose what they think is right for their children, instead of trying to help them figure out what it is they actually want to do.
I love talking to people, and for some reason, they’re always really open to me and share things they won’t even share with their parents – even though we might not be close friends they trust me. I think this is a gift from God, so I might use that to work with some sort of coaching or consulting and do some good.” – Ainaz
Basically, Ala Kachuu is when a man wishes to marry a woman he knows or even just seen, he drives together with a couple of friends to where she lives or works, and.. Well… Kidnap her – Read more in the last post, here.
“In the past, Ala Kachuu was used kind of like Romeo & Juliet when parents wouldn’t allow you marry a certain guy or girl. But today is has a different meaning, especially for some guys who are too lazy to try and connect with the girls.
Sometimes it isn’t even the guy, but instead, the family and friends who will say “We already have someone in mind for you to marry”. People would come around to see if I’m ready to be married and if I’m good enough at cooking and cleaning.
Ala Kachuu is a cheaper way of getting married because you don’t have to have a big wedding, but it feels like parents have to much control of marriage in this culture.
Most of my family on both my mother and fathers side have married who their parents choose, even one who was kidnapped and then escaped, didn’t get married because her parents decided they didn’t want her to – So again it was because her parents decided it and not because she ran away” – Ainaz
“The best thing about Kyrgyzstan is probably our nature and the fact that there aren’t a lot of rules as to what people can and can’t do – We’re a very free country.
But at the same time, people here are very nosy and always keep an eye on you to see if you’re doing something they don’t like, and then go’ complain to your family.
So I always have to be careful about how I act.” – Ainaz
“The most common misconception about Kyrgyzstan is probably… Well.. A big part of the world don’t really know we exist and if they do, they usually think we’re all communist because we were part of the Soviet Union or they think we’re still all barbarians living in yurts.” – Ainaz
A big part of Kyrgyzstan looks like scenes out of big blockbuster movies like Lord of the Rings with the country covered in 80 percent mountains.
“You should come and see the country that has 2 completely different worlds, with Bishkek you have so many well educated and talented people, and then you drive just 15 kilometers outside of the city and you have these amazing rural people, living and passing down knowledge like their parents did” – Ainaz