Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Sack Over Your Head A Ring On Your Finger

It all started two years ago and today I’m going to put an end to it. You would think people would stop me on the street to ask me for the time or for directions or even money. NO! They stop me to ask where am I from. The waiters in the restaurants should ask what I want to order for my entrée but instead they ask me where am I from. My neighbors instead of saying hi or bye to me ask me where am I from. Ok. Enough. I am going to finish it today. Let me clear this up by saying I’m not Chinese or Japanese - I am Kyrgyz.

We have quite different appearance and completely different customs, traditions and beliefs. Lets just take our tradition on marriage. Young people date for a short period of time and if a guy decides to get married his friends get together and stalk after her and when the moment is right they just kidnap her. Sometimes even the groom participates. He might trick her by asking her out to a restaurant and after dinner instead of taking her back to her place they just go straight to his house. As soon as they arrive the grooms mother puts a kerchief on the bride’s head and if she doesn’t take it off- that means she agrees to be his wife.

The riots, hysterics and crying are not rare as well. How would you feel if a boyfriend you just met kidnaps you and when you left your house you forgot to make your bed or even more tragic- you have to have your favorite pillow to have a good night sleep. And he happens to kidnap you the day when you didn’t have it in your purse. I understand when a girl knows a guy and they have dated at least a month, but there are marriages where couple’s first date was on their wedding day. The funniest thing in all this tradition is that the divorce rate is very low in Kyrgyzstan. My marriage was in a similar way, I was kidnapped and we had a baby girl year later. I want to tell you guys about how men used to test if it was a right woman for them, but it’s getting late and I have an early class tomorrow. So ciao for today my friends!

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