West Asheville. Hank Williams, Jr., David Allen Coe and Waylon Jennings.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Ioshpa Family

Through the Uzbeks I befriended at Samford, I was able to meet some other people from Uzbekistan who had emigrated to the United States after the breakup of the Soviet Union. I got to know the Ioshpa family. They were Uzbek Jews who, for various reasons, had settled in Birmingham, AL with a number of Jewish families from Central Asia and Eastern Europe. I had a pretty extensive relationship with the Ioshpas, and would visit them at least every other week. They enjoyed my visits, in part, because they got to practice English. I think they also liked being connected to an actual American, who could help them with learning some insights into the culture. I certainly did my best!  In exchange, I got to have some wonderful cuisine. I particularly loved Paulina's rice pilaf and beet salad! This interaction with the Ioshpas also offered another positive outlet, away from my classmates: a chance for me to learn more about Central Asia, where I was considering going after graduation, on a possible missions trip.

Boris, me, Paulina and Marina

Marina, Elena, Paulina

Boris sister Rita (left), Rita's husband, and Maxim, their child
Attended my first big political event.  Saw George H.W. Bush speak in Montgomery.  Took the Ioshpa ladies with me! 

Through Facebook, this year (2013), I got back in touch with Marina.  She shared these pictures.  I also was able to talk on the phone with Paulina, the mother.  I learned from both of them that Boris had died not long ago.  They said he asked about me frequently, and thought highly of me.  I always respected him (and Paulina too, of course) just because it took courage to just uproot your family from culture and plant it in another.  They had to overcome many obstacles.


Here's a Christmas picture - probably in the late 2000s.  Birmingham, AL
Boris & Paulina

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