"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." ~ Matthew 5:8

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Holiday Visits

Friday, October 26 was a holiday here. The day started not long after daylight with the sounds of children's voices in the street. They were going from gate to gate, dressed in their best and chanting a poem that wished their neighbor a blessed holiday. In return, they would get candy or gum! It was great fun to hear their happy chattering and to see them dressed in holiday garb.

About 10 am, my students Anna (10) and Katie (7) came over to my host family; Anna to go visiting with me and one of my host sisters, Katie to play with my 7 year old host sister Fatima. The girls were also beautifully dressed and had even curled their hair!

All the pictures in this post were taken with my little video camera, and the quality may be questionable. ;)

However, there was still much to be done before we could leave. It would be considered a shameful thing not to be prepared for guests on any day, and especially on a holiday, so a beautiful table of fruit, cookies, salads, breads, etc. was prepared and laid out.

At last, at about half past eleven, we were ready to go. My host mother and sisters, as well as myself, had dressed carefully, as befitted the holiday. Going a little way day down the street, we visited a neighbor's house with a new bride, or "kellin." Here, in a long narrow room set apart for the women, we sat with about 15 other women around an elaborate dusterhahn (tablecloth). Shahlo, my host sister, leaned over and whispered to me that the family probably had not slept the night before due to the preparations. Dozens of fried pastries, sweets, and cookies crowded fruit, tea, sodas, and other treats. It was hard to see the cloth for the food!

A few minutes after we sat down, the bride came in. She was richly dressed in velvet and heavily adorned with her wedding jewelry. The young woman (she was probably younger than myself) wore a traditional hat, and over it, a delicate lace veil. Holding this veil over her face with both hands, she carefully bowed five or six times to the group of women to show her respect, before slowly backing out of the room again. Apparently, brides do this all day for dozens of guests.

Then it was time to go on to other visits. It is only polite to stay 10-15 minutes at each house. Here things got a little uncomfortable for me, because my host sisters weren't in agreement over who I should go visiting with. It was nice to be so wanted, but a bit uncomfortable as well! Thankfully, it was soon resolved and I set off with Anna and Maryam (14) to visit some of her classmates.

It would take far too long to sum up all the adventures we got to experience that day! To sum up, I got a fun view of a Central Asian schoolgirl's life. The girls let me take pictures of them, although one girl cast her eyes down modestly as I did so. They then raced over (giggling) and saying "Show me! show me!" They asked if I had any eyeliner I could use; thankfully I did have some in my purse (see Daddy, that's why I carry so much in there! :) ). Then, almost like little girls at a slumber party, they carefully applied it to each other's eyes, laughing and joking the while.

Although our hostess (left) wouldn't look at the camera, she loved having pictures taken of her.

We drank tea together with exaggeratedly polite manners, chatting politely about nothing. That reserve quickly disappeared when it was time for desert!

These girls loved my makeup!

It was a very full but wonderful day. I was so thankful for the adventure, for the friends God is giving me here, and for the hospitality people have shown.



  1. You give us such a precious gift each time you post. We get a glimpse of a far-away land with vastly different customs and traditions. You're compiling a travelogue, and we're the blessed readers! Thanks, Lissie!

    I treasure you, dear daughter!
    (Counting the days)

  2. Hi Lissie,
    You may or may not remember me: I'm Hannah, and we met a few years back at the Bible Bee! I visit your blog every so often...it is amazing to see the places God is taking you! It's exciting that you are making new friends there! Although I'm not in a foreign country, I'm finding myself in a new place, as I've just started college. While I too am making new friends and can see God working, I know I often miss being at home! Since I'm guessing you must feel lonely in a crowd every so often as well, thought I would encourage you with this verse I read just a couple days ago: "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (Heb 4:14-16)
    God bless!

  3. Loved reading about how life is for you there and hearing about the customs!

  4. Thanks, Mumsie, for caring about my adventures. I love hearing about yours!
    Jessie, I loved (!) reading your blog while you were in Africa-I'll still read about your adventures at home :D (yes that was a shameless hint :P).
    Hannah!! of course I remember you! What a blessing it was to spend time with you-3 years ago now! That verse was encouraging; thank you :)I'll be praying for you as you start a new season of life. So good to hear from you!!