Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Kyrgyzstan Heritage Weekend in Washington DC!

So early this spring I saw another mother who adopted from Kyrgyzstan mention something about a Kyrgyzstan Heritage Weekend in DC.  I immediately asked more questions, and then I got all the information about it.  I was so excited that an organization would take on such a thing to give these adopted children from Kyrgyzstan the chance to help understand their culture.  This has always been so important to me, that Andrew learn about the country he was born in.  My intent when we adopted our son was never to Americanize him to the point that he didn't know anything about where he was from.  Andrew has many items all over his room that is from Kyrgyzstan, and I make an effort every year when we celebrate his adoption day to carry on some Kyrgyz traditions and cook traditional Kyrgyz food.  I also try to talk about Kyrgyzstan often so that it is never a weird topic for us to discuss.

So this event was amazing for the fact that I learned things that I can tell Andrew about when he gets older.  Andrew seemed to understand a little about what was going on, but understanding another countries cultures for a 4 year old isn't something that is going to happen in one day.  I'm hoping that we will get another opportunity in the future to share such an amazing experience.  Below is some of the events from the 2 day weekend.

Andrew watching how they make rugs in Kyrgyzstan!  He was so interested!

Megan learns how to make a traditional craft using potatoes as weights!  Very cool!!!!  She loved this and made us by one for her to hang in her room.  Money well spent I say!!!

The kids learn how to play a traditional Kyrgyz game using rocks!

They had a little shop set up for the parents to purchase items from Kyrgyzstan.  This was amazing to all of us because these our items that our very hard to get a hold of.  Also the items you see above were items that children made themselves from one of the children's homes, and the money was going to go back to them!!!!  Also very cool!!!!  We were sure to make a few purchases, and I wish we would of brought more money!

Andrew making a craft!

Megan getting braids in her hair.  I didn't know this but the way that females where their hair symbolizes whether they are married or single.  Also the young girls shave their hair till they get older and then they will braid their hair.  

Megan showing the other kids what she learned!

All the adopted children from Kyrgyzstan!  

All the kids that were from Andrew's orphanage.  These kids are close in age, so there is a good chance that Andrew shared a crib with some of them.

I volunteered to take pictures of all the kids, and to do pictures of the families, so my friend was kind enough to capture a picture for us of our family!

It was amazing to watch Kyrgyz women cook traditional food!  We were allowed to go in the kitchen and help them cook it if we wanted, but that didn't keep Andrew's interest to long!  I wish I could of learned more, but the food was yummy!

They even brought in some of individuals to share traditional Kyrgyz music, instruments, and clothing! It was amazing!!!!

Then they had a little Kyrgyz fashion show!

Then they taught any of the kids that wanted how to do some traditional Kyrgyz dances!  Andrew and Megan had so much fun with that!

I loved how these Kyrgyz women took a moment to talk to Andrew and to us.  The women touching Andrew's flag told us that she looked just like her brother.  This confused us quite a bit because we have never been able to figure our little guy out.  If you look above all the kids have the dark hair, unless their is Russian in them, and then they have the lighter hair.  It's very apparent that Andrew has asian features in his face, but we could never explain his hair.  So I asked this women, "how did Andrew look like her brother", and I said "does your brother have light hair".  She then said "yes"!  Then I asked her "does your brother have Russian in him, and she said "no".  So now I was more confused then ever.  Finally she explained it to me like this "a long time ago the mongolian's were the majority in Kyrgyzstan, and then the Asian look started mixing in, to the point that the asian look is dominant most of the time now".  She then said "every now and then you will see a child with the mongolian features, but it only pops up here and there now".  I was amazed!!!!  Finally I had some answers for my son one day, when he ask me about his hair!  We have no history of Andrew's parents so we have to go on information like this to piece it together for him.  I have always been confused on what box to check for my son on forms when they ask "what nationality"?   

So the following day we got to spend the day at a park with all the kids!  It was great because when we adopted Andrew, I got matching t-shirts for him and his soon to be buddy Matthew.  The shirts were way to big for the boys to wear till now, but since Matthew and his family were also at this event, it became a great time to wear their shirts together!  

The kids participate in a tradition that they do, where all the kids line up and run to a baby that first learns to walk.  The baby has its legs tied together with a string and the first child to arrive to the baby has to cut the string and then the baby begins to walk.  Megan was determined to run faster then any of the girls, and so she should since she was the oldest child there.  They also did this for the boys, but Andrew came no where close to winning.

Megan's prize for winning the race!  This doll is very different from anything that we would have but Megan displays it proudly in her room!

I was trying to get a picture of Andrew with this girl for 2 days, and then her mother finally told her she had to stand by him for a picture.  Look how happy Andrew is to be by her, but she doesn't look to happy.  She was looking at her mom waiting for the moment to be over with!  It cracked me up!

Andrew with his Kyrgyz buddies!  

So we were sure to take park of our time in DC to walk around and see the sites.  I have to admit, I was around 2 months pregnant on this trip, and I was verrrrrry sick.  This pregnancy has not been easy on me, and even now at 19 weeks I'm still feeling sick.  However, this particular evening was not easy for me with all the walking, and I can't wait to go back to DC sometime to see more then what we were able to cram in one evening.  

We were able to spend a lot of our time this weekend with our friends the Lehrs!  We have been so fortunate to have them in our lives.  We have our sons from Kyrgyzstan in common, and now my friend Kim, and I our both pregnant at the same time.  I'm thrilled that we get to go through something again together.  God was amazing when he put our families together as friends, and I so glad that we can share experiences, like this weekend, with them.

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