Central Asian Music

I recently had the opportunity to go to a concert with a local friend, and let me tell you, it was completely different than I had anticipated. I have heard the more “traditional” Central Asian music, but this was decidedly not traditional. This artist was like the Beyonce of CA. While more modest and less overt in her dance moves, she did descend from the ceiling, changed outfits 7 times and had as many set changes. She bounced from a Roman theme, to NY hiphop, to Indian. Of course, like most concerts here, she lip-synced all of her songs, but she danced along with her sometimes 50 background dancers. Needless to say, even though my language skills are not quite up to par, I was entertained for the entire 2 hour concert.

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You may also be interested to know that artists here do 1 series of concerts a year. Meaning, they will do 5 concerts in one week, and that is it. The rest of the year, they record more music, make music videos and perform at weddings (a big dollar business here).

Lesson Learned: Expect the unexpected, and maybe consider a career in music


Women’s Work

This is the first time in my “adult” life when I haven’t had a job. Even in high school, I worked after school, and I worked every summer in college. After college too, I worked full-time, and I worked during grad school. I worked after grad school and through my first year of marriage until we moved to Central Asia. Now because I am on a spousal visa, I really can’t work. Never mind the fact that my language level is not yet up to par, and I don’t want to be employed teaching English as a second language.

So what do I do with my days? Well, I try to study and practice language like a full time job, and outside of that, I am occupied with women’s work. There are some who would be bothered by that, but really, I love it. Not only that, I am happy to do it. My husband does a lot of jobs that I used to do myself as a single woman. He pays the bills, manages the budget, fixes things, arranges transportation and travel. And of course, he goes to work. He is not unwilling to help me out around the house, but he already does so much. I am happy to do the laundry, clean the apartment, be the main shopper and the in-house chef.

So, I’ll let Benjamin do the man’s work, as long as I can continue women’s work. I have few complaints.

Lesson Learned: Be content and whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.

Eating Healthy

Now that I am pregnant, eating healthy has become even more important. I am mindful that I am eating for two (one is super tiny) in that I try, now more than ever, to eat a balanced diet. Whatever I eat, the baby eats.

“What to Expect When You’re Expecting” has been full of beneficial information especially considering my nutritional needs. It has some helpful suggestions on portion sized servings for every building block on the food pyramid, and I took these suggestions and whittled them down to what is available to me. Living in a place which doesn’t have a Trader Joes or a Whole Foods limits my healthy selection, but the work that I put in this summer freezing various fruits and veggies, pays off big time now.

One of the easiest ways I have found to pack a lot of nutrients into one meal is to make a smoothie every morning. Doing this gets me at least one serving of calcium, usually 2 servings of Vitamin C and a serving or two of other fruits. I have loved trying a few different combinations, all without added sugar (other than the sugar which is is added to fruit juice).

One area of struggle has been in the whole grains department. Pregnant women are supposed to get 6 servings of whole grains a day. 6 is a lot, especially considering I have never seen whole grain bread or pasta here. I am eating oatmeal every morning, and I am experimenting with different grains. I have access to buckwheat, millet, farro and buckwheat groats. Millet is a great substitute for rice so that has been an easy change, but if anyone has great ideas for the other grains, I am all ears.

Lesson Learned: Eating healthy means eating new foods.