My first Kazakh host family was in Kapchagay during the Peace Corps Pre-Service Training. Their job was to teach me Kazakh and learn about Kazakh food and culture. They were a very unique family but nothing like my Kazakh host family in Karatau.
Kazakhs in the south are very different from their counterparts in the Almaty area. When I met the Orazimbetovs for the first, they had actually prepared an apartment for me. But by the late afternoon I had moved in with the Orazimbetovs. Azan, the School Director, thought it would be easier for me to live with a family. He was right, I could not cook any meals from scratch which also concerned Sharizat.
The first night was memorable. I can still remember the palau (pilaf) that my host sisters had made. It was very delicious. I had 8 host sisters and 1 host brother. You can guess it the youngest was the son aptly named Shurik or "Thank God," in Kazakh.
It was just like a family so we had our disagreements and fights. I really miss the meals we had together too and having Gulzhan "serve" me tea even when she was angry at me. I love Kazakh culture. :-)
I really miss Kazakhstan and my host family but I am not sure when I can return again. My next plans are to relocate to Japan in late 2021.