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

Friday, May 3, 2013

Living in Uzbekistan

The whole video is interesting, but here are the parts that feature Andy and me:

11:30  in our apartment with American friends/impersonating Forrest Gump and Bubba/Andy teasing our Russian "Jill of all trades"
19:45 buying bread/Tamerlane monument/souvenir shop/eating pilaf and shashlik
34:50 a brief moment in front of the Tashkent Financial Institute (where we worked)/dinner at Cafe Europa
46:20 crashing a wedding party/riding metro
102:25 student Bakhadir showing us an Uzbek tea house
105:00 enjoying tea with Uzbek men
105:18 full dinner at Bakhadir's family home, "Tonight we are Uzbeks."
130:47 Bakhadir's father giving me pickled tomatoes and some cherry compote (juice) from his cellar

Our "team" of Americans representing various states, from Alabama to Oregon to Ilinois to Michigan to California to Pennsylvania to Nebraska.  The interaction among this group was a cultural experience on its own!  We were affiliated with Educational Services International, out of California.

A small group students I had taken on a "field trip."  I think I got them into trouble!  For more pictures with classes of students, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

A couple of the Uzbek teachers (and colleagues of ours) who were instrumental in helping Andy and me at the Tashkent Financial Institute.  Mrs. Jebova (right) also helped us outside of school when we needed it.  For example, she helped me find a barber and, more importantly,  communicated with the barber on my behalf that very first time.  I knew scant Russian and he knew no English.  After Mrs. Jebova's assistance in setting things up, I visited this barber every three weeks, and didn't have to say a word.  I did eventually practice some Russian on him!  Remains to this day the best "old style" barber experience I've ever had!  Of course, I don't need one today!!!

Ulugbek statue, Samarkand.  Andy and I went with a couple of our sudents to Samarkand.  One was from there, and we stayed with his family.

This was in The Headland Observer.  I have a better scan of it...somewhere....with the whole article that accompanied it.  The photo on the left, in Samarkand, remains my all-time favorite from that time.  Upon returning to the USA, I was on a speaking circuit for a bit.  Andy came over to Headland, AL and we spoke to a men's breakfast at the First Baptist Church.  My dad had organized it.  I later spoke to my aunt's Sunday School class.  Then there was the Kiwanis club, the Lion's club and Women's Garden Club (or maybe the retired teachers group).  The most fun I had, though, was teaming up with Uncle Jim for a presentation to a group in Dothan, AL.  We spent half our time just fumbling through the VHS tape!  Where was YouTube then???
To view other Uzbekistan photos from that period, click here.  On that page, you can also find photos and a video of my trip to India, which I took while in Tashkent during the winter break between semesters.


Anonymous said...

It's like watching my childhood video. How fast we had grown. It was fun to watch your party in Europe restaurant and your dancing in korean wedding, was laughing too much. Nilufar

Anonymous said...

Wow!!! So many memories just came flowing through my head! For sure you were an inspiration for us -very young students then! I see you had a lot of fun. :) Shahnoza

Anonymous said...

Its interesting to watch 90's by view of foreigners, hard time in Russia and Kazakhstan. One thing is better in Uzbekistan now that is Samarkand and Bukhara. Now these cities are just beautiful and very popular.

Allen, thank you for respecting our nation, religion and country itself. After these videos I understood why we all were close to you and were respecting you that much. - Nilufar (May 2013)

Major Allen Espy said...

Thank you. Well, I had a great time and learned a lot too. One thing I have discovered from my own travels there's something enjoyable everywhere, and that people generally, no matter what religion they have or language they speak, want to treat you well. I certainly had incredible moments there - and some tough times too - and a big part of the good times had to do with how well I was treated by students, their families and just normal, everyday people I encountered. As far I know I know, they could have been Uzbek or Russian or Jewish...didn't matter. If and when you visit the USA, Nilufar, I hope we can treat you the same! (May 2013)