Pamela Catalan came to Kyrgyzstan from Argentina two years ago with her husband. They liked the republic so much that they do not plan to leave the country in the near future.
— What do you do? Where do you work?
— I’m a Spanish teacher. I love teaching and my language because it is sharing a part of who I am. I love nature, mountains, lakes, everything green, that’s why I enjoy camping and hiking.
We wanted to leave Argentina to see other places, to live in another culture and have an experience of living abroad.
In Bishkek, I give private Spanish lessons and we also have a Spanish club called Los Amigos, where we teach Spanish in a dynamic way. In addition to studying Spanish in a traditional way, we carry out different activities such as picnics, volleyball games, meetings to celebrate birthdays, meetings to celebrate national holidays of Latin American countries.
We also have an English club called Friends to practice English.
-What surprises you in Bishkek and Kyrgyzstan?
— What surprised me the most about Kyrgyzstan is its incredible nature, its natural beauty, the mountains and the incredible places you can find in every corner of the country. Your nature is wonderful.
What surprised me most about Bishkek is that it is a very friendly and comfortable city to live. You have everything you need and it’s easy to live here, work and live with the people.
-What in Bishkek reminds you of your hometown?
— My hometown is very small compared to Bishkek, but they are similar in the kindness of the people. Many are willing to help you even if they do not know you, the affection of the people is noticeable.
-What do you miss in Kyrgyzstan?
— Of course, I miss my family and friends, but many times I do not realize that I am far from them, because here I have a new family and new friends. Their love makes me feel comfortable.
-What is your favorite place in Bishkek?
— In Bishkek, I like Victory Park, I love to walk there. My husband and I go there with our chairs, books and guitar to enjoy a relaxing moment on weekends when we do not go to the mountains or lake.
On weekdays, I enjoy Erkindik Boulevard. I walk there every day between classes. It’s a beautiful place, I love seeing people sitting, children playing, young people walking … It’s a place for people and I love to enjoy it even if it’s a short time of the day.
The bazaars are my favorites, when the weather is not good to go to the mountains or the lake. I love going to any bazaar and buying my fruits or vegetables there. It is another place where you can meet the local people and learn about the culture.
-What national Kyrgyz dishes do you like?
— I am a vegetarian for about 10 years. The national dishes mostly have meat, but I have found a lot of delicious food for me. My weakness is boorsok, I can eat it all day at any time. It’s very tasty.
I also love lepyoshka. In our first year here, my husband and I ate 2 or 3 lepyoshkas per day. We also make lepyoshka pizza, we say «lepyopizza.»
Other my favorite foods are oromo, manty and samsy, but vegetarian. I know that these are not the original dishes, but their vegetarian versions are very delicious.
-What are you afraid even to try?
— My stomach is very weak and I am afraid to try many things, including mare’s milk and horse meat.
— What has fascinated you in close acquaintance with the local population?
— I like the love and respect they have for the family. It is the most important and valuable. I think the family unity is incredible. I love seeing families having picnic on Saturdays or Sundays in the parks, the mountains or on the lake.
I am fascinated by the respect they have for the elderly. In my country that was lost, here I find it very valuable to respect their elders.
-And what disappointed you?
— What causes much sadness is the attitude towards women. Woman is not valued and many times she is not treated very well.
Sometimes, I saw husbands buying clothes for their wives and it seemed very tender to me, until someone told me that many times a woman has no choice. Her husband chooses and buys clothes for her by himself.
I believe that women are not respected or cared for as they should. I do not speak of feminism, but of equality.
Another thing that I do not like is corruption in public entities. A simple example is the transit police. The system of traffic tickets seems very corrupt. When you are a foreigner, they take advantage thinking that you have a lot of money, but we are simple workers like everyone else.
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