Now that it is officially spring here (although I'm still enjoying some warmer days dispersed among those windy, chilly ones), things are in full-gear. The city is awake and ready to make itself beautiful again for summer. It is amazing how things get turned around here. Workers are busy cleaning streets, tilling every flower bed to prepare for planting, adding fresh coats of paint to all the fences, garden bed walls, etc. When I arrived last August, I found myself in a beautiful and clean city. I was amazed at how well they kept things. I didn't see the work that went into it. Now, I am getting to see first hand how this sleepy, winter-worn city returns to the beautiful summer palace it was when I arrived.
I can honestly say that while there are many things about Kazakhstan that are hard to get used to, the city cleanliness and beauty are not two of them. The architecture, while intriguing all year, seems to come alive with the flowers around it. And while there isn't a lot to do here in terms of entertainment, the summers are so pretty to be outdoors, that a walk is entertaining. I guess this is the reward you get if you survive the dreaded winter months. haha.