Laura Pop

March 22, 2005

How does a native of Targu Mures, Transylvania end up in Kazakhstan? Probably the best way to reconnect with her past as a chief pioneer was to try to teach critical thinking to Kazakhstani students who, surprisingly, have fewer memories of Communism than she does. However, because Khrushchev-era refrigerators and Soviet-chic crystal chandeliers are still around, she decided that Almaty can be her home for another year. Luckily, her American roommate, who hails from Brooklyn, is more Soviet than the youth of transitional Kazakhstan. Only in Almaty, can Laura snack on horse sausage, complain about Kafka-esque bureaucracy in Russian and analyze the lyrics of local pop hits with her Kazakh teacher. The PIA fellows in Kazakhstan also consider themselves fortunate to bear witness to an important moment in the history of the country- the premier of the first Central Asian reality show- "Yakrasivaya" or "I am beautiful".

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