I'm going to be occasionally post stories from life in the former Soviet Union. Some have been collected from a friend of mine, Kristina Gray, who teaches college students in Kasakhstan. They often are an example of how life was in many places of the former Soviet Union and history, which is what they are, has always been fascinating to me. Keep in mind as you read that English is a second language for these young authors. I hope you enjoy them.
My name is Ainura and I have a very big family. I was brought up in countryside and we moved to town only recently. Because of that I have a lot of relatives. My mum’s and dad’s families were in close relationships with each other. My grandparents worked together, father’s mother was a teacher at a local school and taught almost all my uncles and aunts. But before moving into one village, the two families had different origins. I would like to introduce some people from my family, whose lives were quite different from others. So let’s start.
The family of my father was from the region which is called Torgay. It is in the south of Kostanay region. My great great great grandfather was a head of the village. Honestly the whole village was owned by him. It was in the 19th century. He had one wife, which was from very rich and influential klan, but they didn’t have any children. After her death he decided to marry again and chose the girl from the same klan from which was his first wife. At that time he was a 60-year old man. Then 17-year old new wife gave birth to their son. That was my great grandfather. After a few years my great great great grandfather died and his second wife was married with his brother but some said that his brother actually was his servant. Today it has not a lot of meanings.
After that they had a lot of children probably, 5 or 6 because one died until the age of 5. All that I heard was from my great grandmother who lived with us for several years. She was born in 1916, it is not justified because she didn’t know exactly even a date when she was born. She also couldn’t write and read. She lived a very long life and died in 2008 and she told us a lot of stories about her life. For example, during World War II women of her village including my granny built a dike alone or she told how they fished and then exchanged their catch of fish for food. Almost all kinds of food they made on their own. When she lived with us, she used to eat a lot and mostly butter. And honestly she never had any serious diseases.
Mother’s family has quite a different history. Her father was from an ordinary Kazakh family and her mother was from Russia but she is Kazakh. In her family were nine children and all of them were raised up by their mother alone, because her husband died when she was pregnant with the last child. All children, including my granny, have different stories. That family is the most international, there are Kazakhs, Russians, Jews, Ukrainians and others. All others live in Russia, excluding my granny. She is in Kazakhstan and the youngest one lives in Kyrgyzstan. Mother’s grandfather was a soldier in 1941-1945. He participated in the battle for Kaliningrad and achieved Poland. He returned home and went to the parade in Moscow in 1973.
So that is my family. Actually all that is a history of my family and if I consider myself as a part of my family I can say that is a history of me.