Last week in Uzbekistan was more fun than the average week, with a diplomatic reception, a road trip on a rare Wednesday off, a spring masquerade ball, and what my neighbor S and I have come to call our “neighbor appreciation” Sunday evening dinners.
On Tuesday, I attended a diplomatic luncheon in honor of International Women’s Day, the 8th of March. It was an honor to be in the presence of several ambassadors and foreign diplomats as we discussed the progress and challenges women face in society and the workplace. The delicious food was a treat too!
Wednesday was the actual holiday, and the embassy was closed. My husband and I celebrated by taking a 90 minute road trip northeast of Tashkent to a small town called Hojikent, where one of our favorite restaurants, Cinara’s, is located. We took a different route than the one we usually drive, and got to see some fresh sights. It’s always nice to get out of the city and a bit closer to nature.
We had to wait about 30 minutes to get into Cinara’s because we didn’t make a reservation. We drastically underestimated the number of people who would be dining randomly at 15:00 on a mid-week holiday. But this holiday is apparently a big deal. I don’t think we would have even gotten in had we not been foreign diplomats who had driven, as I pointed out in Russian, “all the way” from Tashkent. (Hojikent is technically part of Tashkent region, or I would have had to fill out a travel notification, LOL.)
Eventually we were welcomed in. The food and service at Cinara’s were wonderful, as usual. We were so lucky to stumble upon this place in December 2015 on our road trip back from Charvak Reservoir.
The company was great, too! But the weather as we all wait for spring was as cold as it looks…
I have been a member of the Tashkent International Women’s Group (TWIG) since I came here, so the following Saturday night, my husband and I attended their annual spring ball. This year’s theme was a Venetian masquerade! It was held in the ballroom at the brand new Hyatt Regency, by far the best hotel in the whole country, and it was incredibly beautiful and elegant like nothing I’ve seen before here.
Although we aren’t much for dancing, it was fun to dress up, don masks, socialize with friends and colleagues, and enjoy a great meal and night out.
The following day my husband spent several hours making stuffed peppers, spinach and feta pie, and eggplant salad for our neighbor dinner with S. She brought homemade chocolate chip cookies that were so soft and sweet. Although most people know I’m not much for sweet things, these were a little piece of America and I couldn’t stop eating them!
It’s all of the little joys that we add together to make a regular workweek more interesting. And it’s those little joys which remind us how lucky we are and how many perks this crazy overseas life has, despite being far away from family, friends, and the comforts of home. We do more than just find our way in a new land: we find ourselves a new home, by pursuing and seizing each little bit of joy that comes our way.