The last week of July and early August is a busy time of year for international school leaders. New faculty arrive at this time from abroad and it is an involved process in getting settled into their new homes and school. There are travel logistics, visas, procuring accommodation, acclimating them to the culture of the country and school and getting them feeling comfortable, ready to teach. I went several times to the airport to meet arriving teachers and get them to their hotel. It is a big responsibility to bring people to Uzbekistan and I try my best to make sure they are safe and happy. It is also rewarding to meet so many great people and be able to share our mission with them to educate the next generation. It is such a privilege to lead a school community.
I love people watching at the Tashkent International Airport arrivals area. In Central Asia, guests meet arriving passengers outside of the terminal. It is a bit disconcerting for newcomers to exit customs and not to have people waiting inside the building. Summers in Tashkent are the typical hot, dry Mediterranean climate and the airport provides a shaded area with misters. There is also a large park on the grounds of the airport. There were lots of people sleeping/resting under the trees. I am not sure why they were there, my guess is they were waiting for their flights and took a bus to the airport and were limited by the timetable. Tashkent has a bit of diversity with significant Russian and Korean populations. The Uzbeks also have a continuum of religious fervor that translates into really secular women dressed to attract attention to others wearing headscarves and long dresses. It makes for a bit of a cosmopolitan vibe.
One interesting diversion we had while waiting for the teachers get outside was the arrival of Serbian professional soccer player, Bojan Matic. A small but enthusiastic delegation of Pakhtakor fans were there to greet him. Pakhtakor is the premier team in Uzbekistan professional soccer. I have not been to a game yet, mostly due to COVID.
One final note is the city is paving more streets in our neighborhood. We noticed a lot of cars parked on our street and while walking the dog, we noticed the reason why. People were asked to park away from the homes while the pavers are finishing the streets. Many of the old houses are being purchased and replaced with newer, larger homes. Our mahalla is rapidly changing.