Hi, I'm Shavkat, a Software Engineer at gap intelligence. I'm from Uzbekistan, I was born in a small town named Navoiy. My wife, son, and I moved from Uzbekistan to San Diego in May 2015. San Diego is a beautiful city that among other things has shown me the true meaning of the word "mellow." Through this blog post I would like to share with you thoughts that I have from that move, that I have from living in San Diego and details about my home country.
The Tashkent Office
Unless you work at gap intelligence or are a close friend of someone who does, you probably don't know that we also have an office in Tashkent – the capital of a young and independent country named Uzbekistan, located in the heart of Central Asia. Uzbekistan is exactly 12 hours ahead of San Diego … except when this weird Daylight Savings Time thing happens. To put this in perspective, when San Diego gappers go home after a long day's work at 6pm on Monday evening, Uzbek gappers are getting up and getting ready for work Tuesday morning. So really, you could say that we are from the future!
My hometown of Navoiy was named after a very famous poet, writer and linguist from the 15th century, Alisher Navoiy. He was a significant contributor to the development of the Uzbek language and is considered one of the founding fathers of Uzbek literature. Almost every city or town in Uzbekistan has history and a meaning behind it's name. Tashkent means the "City of Stone" or "Stone Fortress," Uchkuduk means "Three draw-wells," Dustlik means "Friendship," Gazalkent means "Beautiful City," Bogishamal means "Wind in the Garden." I could go on and on … pretty nice, right?
What Is This Organic You Speak Of?
If you ever find yourself in a grocery store in Uzbekistan and you want to really confuse people, just ask them if their food is organic. There is no doubt that the very next thing you will hear is: "What do you mean?" (In Uzbek, of course). This is because there is no such thing as non-organic food in Uzbekistan. All vegetables, fruits and meats are essentially … organic. Our produce may not be the biggest and best looking, but I can assure you it is all organic and it is all delicious.
100 °F Going on 120 °F
Snow, rain and sunshine – we get it all in Uzbekistan. Crazy amounts of snow during the winter, non-stop rain during spring, and definitely an overdose of sun during the summer! I can confidently speak for everyone in Uzbekistan when I say that the summer heat is not that bad. By summer heat I mean 120 °F in the shade. We even have some weeks that we call "chillya" (sounds almost like chill, ha!), where the temperature can go up as high as 130 °F. This is indeed hot, but the humidity averages around 35%, so that makes it pretty bearable. San Diego on the other hand has humidity of up to 75% – this makes 100 °F here same as 120 °F in Uzbekistan, trust me!
You Are Not You
A big cultural difference that I quickly realized when visiting San Diego, is that there really is no difference in the very simple word "you." Whenever you speak to an elder like your mother, father, aunt or older neighbor, you use the word "you". When you speak to younger siblings, classmates or your neighbors, you still use the word "you". It may not seem strange to you, but in Uzbekistan there is a clear difference in how you address people. The first way is with the word "Sen," which is used when talking to someone that is clearly younger than you are. The second way is with the word "Seez," which is used when speaking to somebody that is clearly older than you are. Seez is also used when you aren't really sure about someone's age, but you use it as a show of respect.
Of course, living in San Diego is completely different than living in my homeland! I can honestly say that everything is different, literally everything. It's been 6 months since we moved here and we really like San Diego a lot so far, we really do! There are some things that we have been able to get used to, some were really easy to accept. But as you can see, there are aspects of our daily life that we are still trying to get used to and learn from.
I hope you learned something new today too.
Photo Courtesy of: rap.genius.com