Monday, April 11, 2011

New Years in the Countryside

Spring is here!! Two weeks ago was the annual Kazak New Years celebration, the marker for spring's beginning. Our family and the Lains were invited to go to the countryside and visit our hosting Grandma's son.

We piled into two cars, one driven by a family friend and the other by another brother and headed for about an hour ride out to where this family currently kept their gers. We arrived to a barren area with little more than dirt, rocks, a ger and a corral for the animals. We were warmly welcomed and all 5 kids headed straight for, well, the kids. There were at least 50 kids and lambs one of which was still slimy from birth.

We were called in and enjoy several cups of tea and then after a few minutes outside, to wash hands, we all came in and ate!! The table was laid with candy, several salads, dried milk curd, and meat. Everyone made a good dent in the meat, me being handed a rib and told to clean it, then the soup is served. This is the main food of this holiday and is a milk based rice soup. In every home you are to have two bowls, one to fill each of your legs. The kids were then quick to return to the vast outdoors and all the wonderful babies to be chased, hugged and generally adored!

As the sun began to drop it was time for the ewes to return and the job of helping the lambs and kids find the right mother began. Both ladies of the house knew all the sets of twins by sight and keep handing them to all of us for safe keeping. When the mothers did arrive it is a wonderful mass of animals and people working to get the matches correct.

Before we headed home we were back for one more cup of tea and a few family pictures were snapped. We then pile in again for the ride back, with the addition of two students from a near by ger that were returning to the city after the holiday. The trip, animals and full stomachs made for a wonderfully memorable day!!