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Meet the family.


I bet you have been wondering what life with my Kyrgyz family is like, right? I have purposely put off talking a lot about this because for the first week and a half, my host dad was away for work. Well, he finally arrived back home this past weekend and home life has changed drastically – not necessarily for the worse – and I am finally seeing how a Kyrgyz family normally functions.

mira and aizada

Meet Mars: Mars is my host dad. He is in the Russian Delta Force as he put it, meaning he is in a special security team here in Kyrgyzstan. He practices Russian Judo (was a former Kyrgyzstan fighting champion), and even showed me the video documentary of his team breaking bottles over their heads and demolishing burning boards. Every night, except for the first night when he spent hours singing Karaoke, we have watched some sort of video involving the military. He is very passionate about his work, which is always refreshing to see, and is very much in line with anti-terror governments. He might sound a bit on the scary side, but I assure you he is a very easy-going man.

Meet Aizada: Aizada is my host mom. She is a German teacher, which makes me wish I had retained a little bit more from my semester years ago. It is funny because when she cannot think of what to say in Russian, she will say it in German hoping it will ring a bell. She tries really hard to communicate with me. I am still slowly coming along with this Russian learning business. I might have to stay a bit longer than I was planning (but that’s not so bad, right!).

I guess German is actually a common language here in Kyrgyzstan. When I am out and about, I often get asked if I speak German. I asked Aizada about this and she said that after the war, all in Central Asia had to learn to read German in case there was another. Just a little tidbit!

Meet Rasul: Rasul is my 7 year old host brother. He doesn’t talk much and, like any other young boy, spends most of his time playing video games on the computer. He also never wants to eat unless its meat.

Meet Mira: Mira is my 4 year old host sister. She is the one I get along with the best! We use words like “play” and “doll”. When we can’t think of anything else to say, we just watch cartoons.

Since Mars arrived home, our dinners have grown in size and also in their communality. For example, we might have a big plate of Russian salad in the middle of the table, but there is no serving spoon, and no plates, so we eat off our fork and then stick it back in for more. Also, Mars has no problem eating off the serving spoon for the main dish. What do we do if someone gets sick?!

Well that’s about it. We live in a small apartment in a nice little microdistrict of Bishkek. When I step outside in the morning, the mountains are in full view. More updates later.

PS – I just learned that we are not going to have hot water for a month starting mid-May!


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17 Responses to Meet the family.

  1. Christine Gilbert May 1, 2008 at 8:28 am #

    Sounds like an interesting family. Does Mars talk much about his Russian Delta Force work?

    • Brooke March 16, 2010 at 9:25 pm #

      He did talk about his work, but in really broken English, or in Russian I could partially understand.

  2. Meg March 13, 2010 at 7:01 pm #

    Great site, Brooke! Just discovered it today and it is very informative (and hilarious).

    Just curious: How does one go about finding host families while traveling? I imagine it’s a little more than walking up to a stranger and asking if you can live with them.

    For now I’ll keep reading; maybe I’ll answer my own question, haha! Keep up the good work.

    • Brooke March 16, 2010 at 9:22 pm #

      Hi Meg! I found host families through the language schools where I took lessons.

  3. Globetrooper Lauren June 17, 2010 at 1:33 am #

    Hey Brooke, how would you feel about going back to Kyrgyz now? There are quite a few news stories at the moment about the violence in the South.

    We’ve been trying to help an adventure travel writer, Kirsten Koza, to get some people on her trip to Kyrgyz in August. But the headlines seem to be a deterrent even though her route is far from the clashes where the nomads live in the north. Any thoughts on who would be interested in this type of trip?

    The full itinerary is here:


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