|My apartment building - I live on the 6th floor.|
I relaxed with the smell. My anxieties about moving here that were spinning out of control only hours before were centered around my fear of the unknown. But this wasn’t unknown at all – it was the same smell that overwhelmed my senses the moment I stepped into Delhi and Beijing. It is the familiar stench of Asia.
There is one thing you should know if you decide to move to Almaty with more luggage than you can carry on your person: the carts at the airport are few and far between, and highly coveted by those who can speak Russian well and are able to be more pushy. Having to ask someone the word for cart (telega), and having spoken no Russian for 11 years, I was in no position to be pushy about my need for one. No offered to help when I stacked my bags in a clumsy pile and attempted to drag them out the door to where (thankfully) the curriculum director of Almaty International School was waiting with a big smile and helping hand.
The driver brought me to my 6th-floor apartment, furnished for royalty and complete with security and a doorman, at about 2 in the morning. It was another two sleepless nights before my body decided that it would in fact make the 10-hour time zone change and sleep when the sun slept. (I know I told everyone that there is an 11-hour time zone difference between Kazakhstan time and EST, but I didn’t take into account daylight savings, a season not recognized by Kazakhs).
I have trouble sleeping when I don’t eat, and the clutch-burnt air of Asia, coupled with the fact that I can’t seem to keep my mouth closed in the shower, always has a nauseating effect on me. In the past I’ve stop noticing it after a while, and only remember that it’s there after returning to the states and having it disappear.
|Standing on top of Chimbolak, the local ski resort.|
|Ascension Cathedral - a Russian Orthodox Church|