The Kazakh Diary 1 post: Karaganda – Complete lack of knowledge

It is Saturday evening and my wife and the kids are sleeping, even though the time is just 8 p.m. They´re exhausted. Just as me. In in two days’ time we will fly from, at this hour, Moscow to a place called Karaganda in Kazakhstan. I have never been as ill prepared as this time and I haven´t even had time, or energy, to look forward to what seems to be a great trip to a place and country very few people know anything about.

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If you Google Kazakhstan, you find Borat dominating most of it. Amazing considering it is the 6th (some say the 9th) biggest country on earth. I know of only three people who actually have been there. All of them only have good things to say. Especially about the people. Which doesn´t surprise me, since we are not completely unfamiliar with this part of the world. It borders Russia and Siberia and I have a feeling Karaganda ain´t to far off looking and being like Yakutsk. Which should mean we will know our way around pretty well when it comes to pure survival. For as far as I know, according to pam who is in charge of this and runs the show, since I am joining her as partner in life and child minder, we will stay and get hosted by the University. It is a great opportunity for her. I am very proud over my wife and her capacity and I have a feeling Kazakhstan is made for her. We will soon find out. We found out about this today and the fact that somebody will be there to pick us up just after midnight at the airport. If we get in. Who knows. We have a visa and an invitation letter, which is dead important. But it feels like we at the end of the day will get in and end up in an adventure we did not expect.

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The reason the normal exhilarating joy is lacking is due to the hard schedule we have had. First a year in Moss Side, Manchester, which was very demanding, but interesting. Pam passed her exams with overwhelming grades. I, together with my daughter Dana, walked from Manchester to London pushing a stroller. A week after the end of this exhausting journey, I flew to East Africa and had a great group of clients for 12 days and when I retuned home, we had nowhere to live, since our flat is leased until the 1st of December. Luckily we have the greatest of friends in Malmö and they helped us with two different places to stay, one in Malmö and the one we stay in now, in a small town named Ystad.

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Returning home from any journey is hard. This time it feels more demanding than ever. I am not sure why. In Pam´s case, no doubt, tough studies, Moss Side life and preparing fully for this great challenge. In my case, I am just worn out physically and mentally. More than ever. And everything feels almost impossible to do and it is the girls who make me smile each day. And I look forward being with them in Karaganda, but feel a bit concerned what we can do. I need, on top of that, to get back to a gym, keep an eye on the economy, stop drinking beer and I have to spend at least 4 hours, 5 days a week, preparing the England documentary and view all the material, so I need a functioning Internet. And, I am concerned over the living quarters and prices; we will see and discover that soon. And the fact that I have no contacts or anything, which is usually the case, but not always. In Yemen, which turned out such a success, I knew no one and see how that completely changed my life! So, on paper, it is a great trip!

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And, as usually is the case, I will note down my observations and make it a great Kazakhi blog to enlighten those who have no idea. On paper, it doesn´t get more exploratory than this. Just imagine, a country few know about, like Yemen, what a challenge! However, I wish I was also working, not only being a visitor. It isn´t the same.

Just so you know, I will do my best just to concentrate on the positive aspects of life, even though I right now feel like one big moan!

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