WHO AM I?
"I am a mix of Tatars, Uzbeks and Tajiks, living in Kazakhstan,” tells Dilyara. "I lived in the USA for a year, and then 6 years in Moscow, and at last returned to Almaty for some time. I was born in Tashkent, and was growing up partially there and in Almaty, and these are two completely different worlds. Uzbekistan has so much colorful atmosphere...the bazaars, crafts, cuisine, music, architecture, the mild, welcoming, warm mentality of the people, their endless love of Earth (I remember how our grandma used to have us sweep the yard saying "take good care of the ground, make it smile"). The street we lived on had Jewish, German, Russian, Uzbek, Greek and Tatar families (partly because Tashkent was an evacuation center during the second World War). And Almaty, with its mountains, has a completely different mentality, which I don't even know how to describe. People who usually come here say it is a very pleasant city, although not so much to see, except for the beautiful nature. Locals are so prone to showing off what they have (and very serious about it), it is at times very tiring and brings an ironic smile. Almaty is a charming city to me, it is bizarre, unorganized, irrational, yet you can find small puzzle pieces of sincere love to art and good music. Interesting, how this city became the meeting point of my great-grandparents, grandparents and of parents. I wouldn't be born had my grandpa not come here from Russia, escaping the Gulag repressions and met my grandma here. I asked my parents once while we were already living in Kazakhstan, who are we? We have so much connection to Uzbekistan, but ethnically we are Tatars who have never seen Tatarstan. For this: Who are we? Still working on answering that question."
-this interview with Dilya was for the non-profit organization, So Many People So Many Differences
Dilya has a connection to my great-uncle Jim Vann and me. She has also visited Headland, Alabama once! To see more blog posts of Dilya that I have done, click here.