BISHKEK: ''I really love English because, knowing it, you can learn about so many interesting things. It is a world language,’’ said Begimai, 18, who was walking in the center of Bishkek holding English language textbooks. One of three children, Begimai said she wants to be an English translator, but does’t plan to limit herself to just one foreign language. ‘’I became interested in Chinese language this year because I understood that a person can learn 2, 3 or 4 languages at the same time if there is a desire. If you have a goal, you can reach it.’’ Begimai said she went to China 9 years ago to visit her aunt, a translator. She said her aunt returned to Kyrgyzstan, got married and know lives in a village. ‘’She said you can forget a language if you don’t practice it.’'
BISHKEK: ''My Belarus grandmother had a hard life. She went through German and Siberian camps’’ before ending up in central Asia, said Daria, 25, a Bishkek native. Her other grandmother - a Volga German - didn’t have it much easier. She was exiled to central Asia during WWII. Their children - Daria’s parents - met through their shared interest in skydiving. Having German roots, Daria now wants to move to Germany. ‘’I don’t feel like Bishkek is my home. I feel I can do more in Germany.’’ In the meantime, she would like to write her grandmother's memoirs. Albina, 21, grew up in a small village in Tajikistan, before getting accepted into the American University in Bishkek. She wants to move to Germany to pursue physics, a passion from her school days. ‘’I had a good physics teacher in high school and my parents were both into math.’'
BISHKEK: Myrzabek, 17, was wearing a sweater that read ‘’We are different, We are equal’’ while he helped his dad sell goods in the street underpass in Bishkek. I asked him what the sweater and expression referred to. He said he is a volunteer in a organization that tries to ‘’unite people’’ of various ethnicities. He said he takes part in trainings at schools and universities, especially in the Jalal-Abad region that borders Uzbekistan. I asked why he is volunteering when he could spend his time hanging out with friends or playing sports. ‘’I was born there [Jalal-Abad]. There were terrible [ethnic] fights. It is possible that a village will be split between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz. They may go to the same school, but not talk with each other,'' he said. ''We want to them to study and play together so the fighting isn’t repeated.'' Myrzabek, who helps his dad after school, wants to dtudy physics at university.''
BISHKEK: These high school students were relaxing in the center of Bishkek on an early summer evening. They said they wanted to study medicine when they finish school.
BISHKEK: These two students of the medicine faculty were practicing parkour in the center of Bishkek. They got into the street sport while in grammar school when they randomly came across a youtube video. I asked the student on the left with the headphones what music he was listening to. He said he was listening to some religious texts. When I asked about the shirts, they said they were proud of being Muslim. ''Many in Europe and other countries associate Islam with terrorism, but that is wrong,'' said Shamil, the young man on the right. Shamil wants to become a veterinarian while his friend wants to become a surgeon.
BISHKEK: "She received the [Soviet] title 'Mother-Hero.' She actually gave birth to 14 children, but as two didn't live to age one, it was counted as 12," said 48 year-old Misha (his Russified name). Nine of the 12 are still alive. Misha, who has 4 children, specializes in repairing clocks & watches. He's been working in a street underpass for the past 20 years.
BISHKEK OUTSKIRTS: ''I used to work as a driver, but the traffic police took away my license," said this ethnic Russian and shepherd, who was trailing a herd of sheep along a road outside Bishkek. He said there aren't many job choices in Kyrgyzstan.
BISHKEK: "Many Chinese come [to Kyrgyzstan] to study Russian because it is cheaper and the teachers are native speakers," said Natasha, a teacher of Russian at a university in Bishkek. I asked if she would like to stay in Kyrgyzstan. She said she doesn't see a good job market for her son and would like to move to Russia, but her husband would like to stay. She said her sister lives in central Russia.