As previously mentioned, New Year’s is a big deal here. Thrown in our versions of New Year’s Eve, Christmas, Thanksgiving and Halloween and you are on the right track. The festivities more or less last ten days, with many get-togethers to eat and little work (my work is on vacation still for another week. Taylor and I celebrated Christmas alone, but we did Skype with our families which was really nice. Our families sent us gifts from home and we put them around our Christmas tree Taylor made from a Sprite bottle before opening them. Besides staying in pajamas all day, we had bacon with every meal (first time in 8 months!) that we had saved from our last trip to Bishkek.
The next day we went with my counterpart to Bishkek for a New Year’s party with my organization. It turned out to be a large banquet hall where different companies buy several tables and the restaurant puts on a show. There was a crazy amount of food and free beer (I took advantage.) The entertainment including comedians, traditional dances and an Elvis impersonator (which the crowd loved.) After the entertainment was over it was time to dance, they love to sing and dance here. Unfortunately we had to leave before the last meal but they always save sheep for last so perhaps it was ok to miss it.
We came back to Balykchy for actual New Year’s Eve and went to our host family’s house (I don’t think I mentioned yet that we moved, we’ll show photos of our new place soon.) We arrived late, ate and caught up with the family on what was new. We watched the Kyrgyz President’s 2 minute speech and then went outside to light off a firework. Nurlan also shot off his shotgun a couple times and asked if I wanted to shoot it to. Besides my hesitance to add to the random bullets being fired in the air it’s a major PC rule not to shoot a gun so I declined. It was pretty fun to watch all the fireworks around Balykchy. There are very few tall buildings so you could fireworks going off all over the place. The next day we went to my other counterpart’s house to celebrate the New Year. We ate a ton more food and drank a bottle of scotch (seriously, it’s just a week of eating and drinking.) A good first New Year’s in Kyrgyzstan! Next year we’re going to get a hotel in Bishkek to see what goes on in the capitol for New Year’s.