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A Journey through Kazakhstan: Discovering Strength and Resilience

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Feeling Emotional in Kazakhstan

A few weeks ago, I was having these boughts of emotion where I would just cry and cry and cry. The tears were mostly about myself, about what I had accomplished. The feelings started to diminish as I got further into my journey and realized that I really could do anything I put my mind to. Today, the tears came back. But they weren’t about me. Today, they were about the people of Kazakhstan. The people of a former Soviet country, really. And there are so many. The first tears came from a woman pushing through a park.

Crossing the Border from Kyrgyzstan

There is a certain level of exhaustion that comes with traveling by yourself in a foreign place. I wake up each morning excited and slightly tired thinking about the day ahead. It takes energy to figure out where I’ll get my next cup of coffee, how I’ll get to the specific monument or museum on my list, how I’ll communicate my food order for the day. There’s also a certain level of exhilaration that comes with it, not knowing what the day holds and who I will cross paths with.

I had hired a private driving service to get from Kyrgyzstan to Kazakhstan. There is public transportation, and many people use it and have great stories about it, but given that I am a solo, disabled, female traveler, I opted for the private service. A driver picked me up at my hotel to drive me 30 minutes to the border where I would cross on foot – well, wheels – to the other side and meet a different driver. I handed my bag to the driver and looked at the big gorge between the sidewalk and the street, where I needed to be to get into the taxi. Hmm, how am I going to get across this? I thought. And out of nowhere an elderly woman was behind me helping. She did it quite gracefully too, literally lifting my chair and me up and over. Once across the valley, I turned around to thank her. She just smiled, a big grill full of golden teeth. Many people here have gold teeth as it’s cheaper than porcelain.


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