Family Journal: December 28, 2022

The best aspect of breaks is time! I have time to connect with my family and think about things other than school. I can exercise more, take care of family finances, spend more time with the kids and my wife, etc. As a school leader, I do need to check in with work-related issues daily, but I have more time for relaxation and family and less time devoted to leading the school. Next week I’ll shift a bit more to school, but for this week I’ve been focusing on recharging my soul.

On our way back from Samarkand, my brother Andy described the landscape perfectly, “post-apocalypse Wisconsin”. We are from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan which is mostly woods and when we drove south to Green Bay or Madison the forests gave way to farmland. The condition of the roads here are rougher than in Wisconsin and the farmhouses are much humbler, hence, the post-apocalypse Wisconsin. Most of the drive goes through agricultural fields but there is a hilly section about 3 hours outside of Tashkent. Andy and I stopped and went for a hike on a section of this journey that was hilly. We could see the white-capped peaks of the Zaamin range in the distance and the foothills reached the main highway between Samarkand and Tashkent. The endless barren rolling hills and gray skies were beautiful and it made for a nice respite from the road. I really wanted to continue walking. It looked like a scene from the Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones and I was waiting for an army to ride up over the next ridge. The hills went on for a long time. I will return with my gravel bike in the spring, but it is a 3-hour drive from Tashkent.

Bill and Andy

We have been showing Andy and Chantal the best of Tashkent. This included an obligatory trip to Black Star Burger, the Russian fast-food chain owned by rapper “Timati”. He is a Tartar not African and adopted many of the hip-hop music, dress, and video styles for success in the Russian music market. As you can see in the video below, “Road to the Airport” from 2017, he promotes luxury, flashes spending, treats women badly, and copies US hip-hop/pop music.

The burgers are actually pretty good and the novelty is patrons receive black latex gloves to eat their burgers. The burgers have an excess of oil so they are needed.

Andy at Black Star Burger

We also introduced them to Kanishka, the Uzbek leather and clothing store. We discovered another store in the basement of an old Soviet era apartment block. The designers do such a good job of making combining the Soviet esthetic with Western pop culture. They also do this with their stores as you can see in the photo below.

Kanishka Retail Store

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