Well, Nowruz has passed. I had Monday off from school, and went to the Botanical Gardens with a bunch of friends to celebrate Nowruz and, simultaneously our friend Gabby's birthday. All of the females dressed up in traditional Tajik garb - the Kurta, or "the Tajik Mumu." The Kurta makes up for what it lacks in aesthetic appeal and figure-flattery with supreme comfort. It's like wearing pajamas, and the Kurta is especially awesome because it's socially acceptable to wear them on a daily basis. Imagine. Wearing pajamas. All day. In fact, most women don't even have to buy maternity clothes during their pregnancies - the Kurta is a 3-in-one deal - everyday wear, sleep wear, and maternity wear.
For Nowruz some of my host family's relatives came to visit, and Muhhabat, being the good Tajik woman she is, spent most of the day in the kitchen. In fact, for dinner that night she made Qurutob, which is a traditional Tajik dish. Qurutob consists of fitayer (a type of bread) soaked in chakka (think liquid sour yogurt) and topped with fresh and cooked onions. Qurutob was a welcome break from the monotony of carrot-potato-mystery meat. Unfortunately Jalol ditched family dinner at the last minute to go over to a friends house. Hey, no one every said Tajik men were mature. In fact, they're all fairly arrogant and entitled (an insight my older male Tajik professors agree with! Ha!). I made sure to let Muhhabat know how much I appreciated her efforts. She was especially proud of a side "salad" she served with the Qurutob - basically, it was a strange gelatin terrine thing with meat and carrots. Imagine salty grey jello with chunks of meat floating around in it. Yuuuuum.
One more highlight from Nowruz: After dinner, 6-year-old Shukrona was told to take the dishes back to the kitchen because "you're a girl, this is what girls are supposed to do." Hopefully Shukrona's destiny does not lie in the kitchen, but alas, this is Tajikistan.
On Thursday I'm going to a Buzkashi match. Buzkashi is basically polo, but played with a goat carcass. I'll post a bunch of pictures and an entry about "goat-carcass-polo" by the end of the week.