Family Journal: September 17, 2021

Oliver defends this week in varsity soccer practice

My heart was filled with joy watching my son Oliver play soccer this week at practice. Our school is re-starting the interscholastic sports program. We shut things down in March of 2020 right after the basketball season and all last year had limited sports offerings. I forgot how moving it is for a parent to watch their child play a team sport. Oliver made the varsity team as a 10th grader! His strengths are he is a tough, physical defender, good stamina and strong legs. He is still learning football tactics and I look forward to this season to see how he develops as a player. I’ll be blogging a lot about the team this autumn!

One of the daily traffic accidents I come upon in my travels in the city.

I am fascinated by driving culture in Tashkent, or I should say the lack of driving culture in Tashkent. In the USSR and under the first Uzbek president Karimov, few Uzbeks owned cars and there really is a lack of understanding of the dangers of driving. Men are so proud of their ability to own a Chevrolet Spark or Matiz and they act like they are in the Fast and Furious series, racing recklessly around the city. Many cars move as unsafe speeds and their lane changes are haphazard. Intersections especially are dangerous, with cars speeding through yellow/red lights and multiple lanes of cars attempting to make left turns. There is a lot of education and enforcement of traffic laws that needs to happen before Tashkent can be a safe place to drive. One executive of a foreign auto company here in Uzbekistan told me that their employees are not allowed to drive and must have drivers because the high risk of accidents. It is the most dangerous thing about living in Uzbekistan. I am amazed at the number of collisions and accidents I encounter while driving through the city. Literally, every day, I see the aftermath of a collision.

My wife Nadia and I are celebrating our 22nd wedding anniversary this weekend. We had a delightful evening by the pool last night with Ocean, Asli and Obi. The weather is cooling down and our plov fire pit is a cozy accompaniment to our nights. We had a nice night together and I am so lucky I met Nadia and she said yes.

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