Things I Miss:
- Chips that aren’t crushed.
- Half-sweet soy mochas from Starbucks, even though they always give me a stomachache.
- Good pizza.
Specifically, Okanagan rosé.
- Cycling over the Lion’s Gate Bridge.
- Cycling. Period.
- Events (other than the ballet and opera).
Though I did see a really great ballet last night.
- Good beer.
- The ability to spontaneously meet up with friends for a drink (that doesn’t take place in someone’s apartment).
- Meeting new people. It’s hard to meet people when there are no events and both expats and locals seem to be very family-focused.
And here’s one that gets an explanation: hugs. In the six months I’ve lived in Astana, I can count the number of times I’ve hugged someone on one hand. And the number of occasions on which I have come into any sort of physical contact with someone on two hands. This includes both times I’ve had my hair cut but does not include the number of times I’ve shaken hands, collided with people on the soccer field or high-fived after a game.
I am both embarrassed and surprised to admit this as I have been called out by two separate friends in the past for being hug-averse. When I saw how the latter felt hurt by my stiff-as-a-board reaction to hugging, I softened and fully embraced the friend-hug. But here, no one hugs. I think it’s because living, working, and socializing together creates a strange dynamic. No one wants to risk crossing a line or making someone uncomfortable when they have to see that person in all facets of day-to-day life. And then see above re: meeting new people.
A reluctant hug with one of my best friends (2008, pre-hug-reformation).
On to the positive!
Things I Like:
- Free coat check everywhere.
- Not being sick ever. I had chronic sinus infections/bronchitis every winter in Vancouver but have not had so much as a cold here.
- Toothpicks are socially acceptable.