Now that we have been here over a year, we have been able to build some good relationships with local people. Because of this, they are inviting us to their houses, and we are inviting them to our apartment. Unlike hosting our friends in America, hosting in Central Asia is at least a three, usually a 4 course event.
When guests arrive, you need to have the table set and filled with snacks, salads, fruits, candies, etc. They usually have at least two different kinds of homemade and often mayo based salads. After the salad course
, usually something small like meat pastries or soup is served. The third course in this part of the world is most often pilov. We have heard locals say they eat pilov sometimes 3 or 4 times a week. The final course includes fruit and/or other deserts. This means locals are usually making a minimum of 4 dishes from scratch. On top of that, everything must be prepared the day of and buying salads from the grocery is considered cheating.
The good in all of this, guests here are honored and valued. You give a guest your very best and it encourages me to be love people well. It also means when I am a guest, I am treated as such, and we are given the best seats in the house.
Lesson Learned: Take some of this back to America. It is a good thing to make people feel special.