As most of you know, I live in Astana, Kazakhstan. Astana is the capital city. However, Almaty used to be. They moved the capital for many reasons, including: earthquakes, avoid Russians taking territory, more room to grow, etc. This past weekend, our sister school in Almaty hosted the Central Asia professional development for us. Their school has roughly 500 kids, where as our school has just over 100. Their campus is quite nice, with soccer fields, tennis courts, new gym with a stage, science lab rooms, Smartboards and more! And, the teacher I stayed with had a beautiful apartment that was 3x the size of mine and 100% nicer. So, it would be easy to understand why I am envious. Yep....very much so...envious of myself!! Yep, you read that correctly. Ok, so they have nice apartments and a nice school. But, the quality of life is not nearly as nice.
The air there is so heavy from pollution, and being at the foot of the mountains just holds it there. The city is old and dirty looking. Because it is much bigger, it takes so long to get to places, and traffic is just ridiculous. While I did find some nice things there and enjoyed going out for dinner, I was very much appreciative of where I live. My city is clean and much prettier. The air is fresh. You can walk most places. I am SO happy with the capital I got. We took a trip up to the mountains, which was breathtaking (in more ways than one), and that was well worth it though. Especially since I had the best lamb kebobs yet!!! But, I am "home" now..in Astana...and so glad to be here.