March 2007 - Happy Nauryz!

Hello All!
Happy Nauryz!

Nauryz is the Kazakh New Year. Traditionally it is filled with games on horseback, wrestling competitions, riddle and story telling competitions, and drinking "Nauryz Kuzhye," but here in our small village in the north we have to content ourselves just with drinking Nauryz Kuzhye. You might be asking yourself by now, "What is this Nauryz Kuzhye I've heard so much about? And how might I obtain some of this deliciousness?" Well, since this is your lucky day, I will provide you with a recipe:

Nauryz Kuzhye Take one large bowl. Fill with milk, horse's milk, yogurt (kefir), water, raisons, rice, and salt. Float pieces of meat (sheep or horse) on top. Allow time for the flavors to blend. This year my school seemed to have added a special ingredient to enable the Kuzhye to congeal as well.

Nauryz was a pretty low key event in general though since the weather was pretty chilly and we were outside. Our schools each put up a yurt. There is a competition each year as to which organization can construct the best yurt, and so our schools changed their yurts a bit from last year. This year my school had an animal theme so we were greeted by a stuffed wolf at the entrance and inside there were many fox skins hanging around the yurt. They had, of course, made horse bishbarmak, and since there wasn't any available cutlery I just dug in with my hands as traditionally Kazakhs do. I soon became aware of whispering around me and realized that everyone at my table was talking about how I was eating with my hands. I thought they might be impressed at how multicultural I've become, but instead they just found me a spoon.

Jack's school had a Jack theme since it was his birthday on Nauryz. This did not affect their decorations, but it did affect their toasts. Every person who entered the yurt (whether they knew Jack or not) was quickly instructed to toast Jack and congratulate me (I'm not sure why). We headed over to our host family's after the Nauryz celebration and our host mom made (what else?) horse bishbarmak in Jack's honor. Plates and forks were provided.

We hope you are all enjoying lovely spring weather with none of the mud we are experiencing from five months of snow melting at once.

Happy Spring and Happy Nauryz!
All the best,
Jack & Amy