Friday, August 30, 2013


There's a joke about Montana--There are 4 seasons in Montana--nearly winter, winter, still winter, and road construction.  That joke holds true for Astana as well.  (Except, it's not just a joke, it's quite true as well!)

Also, Astana is still a quite new city.  It was founded in the 1800s but was rather small until 1997, when the president of Kazakhstan (itself a brand-new country) moved the capital from Almaty in the south to Astana.

Kazakhstan is the most prosperous of all the Central Asian countries, thanks to a stable government and oil money.  And so Astana, a new capital city in a new country with high aspirations, is constantly under construction (and not just road construction).

My second year here I switched schools.  My new principal had been in Astana for over 3 years.  Every time we went somewhere, he would comment that this or that building had not been here when he had arrived.  Mega, the popular mall I live next to, was not there.

Now I have been here for over 4 years.  And as I drive people around, I find myself commenting on this or that building that hadn't been here when I arrived.  Astana is such a different city from what it was 4 years ago!  Which was such a different city from 3 years before that!  It's amazing!

Construction was recently finished on a new school building and so over the summer all of our things were moved into this nice, new building, which is about a fifteen minute walk from the former building.  When the land was purchased for this new building (over 4 years ago), there was nothing there.  Now the school is surrounded by construction--so much so that it is hard to get to!  The road that leads from the main road to our entrance is completely obstructed by construction.  Luckily, there are other ways to get to school, but you will pass construction and torn-up roads on your way to the school.  There's no way around it.

I enjoy being in a city that is changing so much.  I especially enjoy the new, fancy concert halls that are appearing, as well as the new opera theater which is grand and amazing and finally opened a few months ago.

Pretty soon winter will hit and then construction will slow down... but once the snow melts (April, May) construction will begin again!

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