The Sure Signs of Spring

It’s not the official holiday of Nooruz or the vernal equinox that signals spring. It is little girls wearing sunglasses as they are dragged behind their mothers on the city sidewalks. It is the first ice cream stand. It is the clusters of bicycles built for two at the edge of Ala-Too Square. It is short sleeves and sandals. It is cafes that have dusted off their outdoor furniture and the people who sat in them today relishing the return to life outside. It is the folding tables that have sprouted with big containers of jarma (a yeasty wheat drink) and maxim (a corn and wheat drink with a zest and a zing to it). It is birdsong and full park benches.

It is glorious. And it is welcomed.


Arm Wrestling Competition

On the evening of Defenders of the Fatherland Day, within the walls of AUCA, the Office of Student Affairs and the Student Senate sponsored the annual Arm Wrestling Competition. This year’s event was different because women and staff also took part in the contests. Wrestlers were divided into two categories: Heavyweight and the under-75 kg. Arm Wrestling heavyweight world champion Artur Shmoilov and Arm Wrestling Kyrgyz Federation member Vladimir Fotin refereed the bouts.

Every competitor displayed strength and dignity, but some were just a little bit better.


Winner – Takutdinova Diana

Second place – Isaeva Meerim

Third place – Beksultanova Sezim

Men – Under-75 Kg Weight Class:

Winner – Otonbaev Sultan

Second place – Abduhalilov Nurali

Third place – Emilyev Adilet

 Men – Heavyweight Class:

Winner – Dzhusupbekov Kalys

Second place – Kendzhahunov Dovran

Third place – Mamadrizohunov Akobir

All winners were presented with medals, certificates and valuable prizes by the Public Relations Office and the Student Senate.

We want to congratulate all men on Defenders of the Fatherland Day and all winners on their victories!

 P.S. Fortunately no one was hurt during the competition.

~ from the AUCA website

In Other News

Kyrgyzstan has joined the list of “enemies of Valentine’s Day” this year. Tursunbai Bakir Uulu, a member of Kyrgyz parliament (who has been calling for a ban on Valentine’s Day for several years now), recently called February 14 a “holiday from the devil.” The authorities in the southern city of Osh have banned the observance of Valentine’s Day in schools, arguing that the “holiday of love is a bad influence on children’s morality.” Education officials have suggested that schoolchildren should instead observe the Family Day on February 15.

~ from

Father Frost

The Kyrgyz call him Ayaz Ata; legend says he was born of moonlight and cold weather. He appears around New Year’s Day, gives children presents and sports a white beard, a floor-length coat, a hat that stories say is fashioned from snowflakes, and a magical walking stick. He is often accompanied by his granddaughter, Kar Kiz, the Snow Maiden, who acts as his helper. The woman I saw in the square acting as Kar Kiz is far more fetching than any rendition of Mrs. Claus I’ve ever seen.