69: Kiki Seit, Returning Home to Quarantine From Italy (transcript)

ATTENTION: This is an automated transcript for this episode of “People I Know Show”. It has not been edited or reviewed. It will have some mistakes and sometimes be unclear.

We walk in the center Piazza di Spagna, Piazza Venezia, Fontana Trevi

it was actually an empty

no tourists no people there it was really empty and this day I just decided that I think it’s the situation is getting worse and I should go back to my country

this is People I Know Show a podcast about influential people personal growth and being wrong. I’m Curt Carstensen said

this is Episode 69. My guest is Kiki Seit. I met Kiki on my recent trip to Europe we met in Greece and ever since we last saw each other a few weeks ago, her life has been kind of strange, as you’ll learn in the conversation she had been studying in Rome and Italy, but she’s from Central Asia. And just before the lockdown decided to get a flight home, she’ll tell the story of how she made it back. And what’s been happening since then, because Kyrgyzstan, her country has been holding her and other travelers reentering the country in quarantine. In addition to those experiences, we talked about how she and I met randomly in Greece, and learn more about her country. And as usual, we get into the personal growth and being wrong segments. And it never seems to fail someone from a far distant place shares a perspective that is common here as well. Remember to subscribe to People I Know Show on your favorite podcast app. So new episodes download automatically To your phone or mobile device. Also you can like follow or subscribe to People I Know Show on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. full video of this conversation is available on YouTube as are many others. find links to all this in the show notes for this episode. Kiki and I actually had the conversation on the day This podcast is being released March 20. We recorded it through zoom and she’s a half a world away from me now into the conversation. Curt Carstensen here for another episode of People I Know Show and joining me today is Kiki Seitbek. Kiki, you’re one of my newer friends I met recently while traveling, we met in Greece. But that’s not where you’re from. That’s not where you’re living. The reason I’m having you on today is you are living in Italy but you’re back home in your country. So tell me the story here. of, of what’s been going on the last couple of weeks as we all know, Italy, things aren’t good, but you you got out of there. So hello and and tell me about what’s going on in your life.

Hello everyone. My name is Kiki and I’m from Kyrgyz Republic, not Kurdistan, not Turkistan. It goes, Kyrg-yz-stan. So my country in Central Asia, I think, you know, the countries like Kazakhstan. So we are neighbors. And it’s a very small country with 6 million people. But my last two years I live in Rome in Italy, do my study in university. And I’d like to tell you what’s going on in Italy right now and what I’m doing now Right now in current in in my country and how it’s going so, all this coronavirus situation starts in in Italy in the beginning of February.

before February, everything was okay.

And we saw that this situation is going on in China, but just in a few days, it was like a bomb. And a lot of people, a lot of impacted people then start to make news that a lot of people dying from that and mostly it’s people under 50 years. So, about Italian people, Italians, very positive, very kind people and they still Very calm to the last minute to the last second situation they I can say that they were beat unresponsible for this situation because when television newspapers all media was posting that in Italy these coronavirus most of these people they were not worrying mass. They were not sitting at home. They will they will continue their usual life. Like they were sitting in restaurants they were walking and plus that I think that’s why Italy


how to say it.

You totally got in fact it’s so good. fast, so fast, I think in just two weeks. So about my live in last week in Italy, I can say it was a bit panic, actually really? And plus

we met in Greece in new return home. Yes. Your back for about what it was your back for one week we met on our vacation. We can talk a little bit more about that. Yes, later. But you were you were back home for about one week before you decided to get a flight out of there. See, I explained that that final week there.

Yes, final week. So when I came back from Greece, it was already panic. It was already a beat. Fear from people, especially to my side because I’m Asian. They were starting to just in public transport, for example, or in restaurants somewhere else. They were started just to close their faces from me,

they would that they’re moving along like normal and then they would see you. And yes, you are Chinese or might be Chinese and then


yes. And it’s not just one station It was a several times, especially in public transport in Metro in buses. But at the end, I just used to see this situation. And I was just like, okay, I don’t care. But all everything happened on the eighth, eighth of March, when my friends and me decided to walk because it was a celebration of Women’s Day and these day, especially I so the real situation. You need to leave because, as you know, in Italy, always, always a lot of tourists. And we walk in the center yet despite the Piazza di Spagna, Piazza Venezia, Fontana Trevi.

it was actually empty.

No tourists now people there. It was really empty. And this day I just decided that I think it’s the situation is getting worse. And I should go back to my country. And that was for

me, right. There’s a Sunday now the Sunday, Sunday nounce. The partial like the the northern part of Italy was locked down. Was it that day? Yes.

Yes, dad did that day just a nurse of the teller was locked down.

And after the next day, the next day Monday at 8am March, they at night department decided to lock down all country, all Italy. My flight was the 10th of March. So they decide to lock down the country. Evening nines of March. And I was actually really so that I can’t go out of Italy. But seems like I’m lucky because I did it. But every visit tuition starts from university first university. Say that university will be closed from five Of March 1 of March to 15th of March. But I didn’t know that. I think they will continue the current team. And I was right actually, then my work I’m working as an English teacher for Italian kids and the families they start to cancel all the lessons due to virus because of course I can understand them. They are they have they are afraid for this for their kids. So, the last days in Italy I was just sitting in the room because even if you’re going out, you have just two reasons, grocery shopping and pharmacy.


I decided that there is no sense to stay in Italy because quarantine will be really for a really long, long time because this situation was grow and grow and grow and grow. A lot of impacted people everyday hundred hundred people was in fact that a lot of people also was dying. And it was a really clear situation. That all countries soon will be in quarantine. And when it will happen, you can go out and no one can go in. So after that I just decided to come back to my country. Kimmy Chino, the most big airport in Italy. I never saw this airport so empty.

You know, like, horror movies.

Really horror movies with zombies with apocalypses it wasn’t real. You’re just going in, in the airport. All these luxury shops, everything closed. No bars, no restaurants, no cafes. You can usually you have a habit like before. Fly we can see to have some coffee or something else. Nothing.

No One

how many people? Did you see that that weren’t working? Or even that were working?

Ah, well, not so much but of course they are. They were working a lot of not so much people but around maybe, I don’t know. 20 no less or more. So yeah. And it was a really like horror movie. Because usually in this brand shops, like a little bit on Chanel, a lot of people and in restaurants we’re seeing they’re having dinner before fly. And it’s really nothing. And this time, I think, there were two or three flights.

And even my fly

airplane was half empty. All people were in mass all the flights So I had

I had stopped in Moscow

before we talk about Moscow. But when you were going to the airport, were you even sure that they would let you on the airplane? Like what was that? What was that conversation? The first conversation you had with someone at the airport? What was that conversation? Like when you realize okay, they’re going to let me leave?

Yes. Um, when I was doing check in so when I was doing check in, I did check in and I was pretty, absolutely sure that I will leave Italy. The first thing I did in airport I did check in because I had a luggage.

So yes, I did check in and they

asked me where I’m going. They check my temperature before and after the situation. I was absolutely sure that I’m going to my country. Okay.

So yes, this situation in the air in the airplane,

all cabin crews were in mess. And in the gloss.

All people were in mass. And

everyone mostly were afraid of sitting nearby or someone else because of course you didn’t know. Maybe he’s infected. So it was half empty as I said before, but I had I had fly with my friends is my friends. They are also from my country. And we are students in Italy. So we sit together

in one line. Wow. But others.

Yeah, others were. They were trying to see it alone or beats far from another passenger. The most funny situation I was thinking, you know, Musk, of course, you know Russian people, you know, you have you heard something about Russia and I was afraid I was really afraid that I will have travels in Moscow because there’s a lot of there’s very strict security’s very strict checks and I was thinking that he or maybe will be something maybe they will take analysis or maybe they will be something like I thought that maybe they will put me in quarantine.

But everything was okay you know,

I had fly was airflow, Russian airlines. And when air airplanes stop in airports should emit you Kevin Cruz gave us new masks, new masks. And then there were doctor in this I don’t know how to say in uniform. All clothes. He started check us with a special device, like checking temperature. Yeah, After that we went into in the airport. Everything was okay actually in Moscow.

They probably must go like you they didn’t want you there.

Really it was like two different worlds because Rome panic. Epic offices, no people in Moscow every single like any usual day life. A lot of people everything is working. Not so many people have is must.

Yeah. And I had no problems actually.

I was like a transit Passenger, so they just check my temperature and just let me go to my gates and wait for my flight.

That’s all, how many how many hours did you have left? Like this whole trip was how long and then how many more hours before you were back to your country then at that point, it wasn’t

10 hours. 10 hours. It was 10 hours. Yes. And totally because from Rome to Moscow, it took me four hours because it was night flight. Then

I was waiting two hours in the airport

and from Moscow to my country for hours, okay.

Yeah, so, that situation was okay. I was pretty calm.


there was guarantee that I will have fly from Moscow to to Bishkek and Had it. Here’s another situation. Again this airplane was half empty but not so many people were musk everything was okay Kevin Cruz had no mass and we had a good flight actually. I was sleeping all my all my trip all my flight to Bishkek and here’s studying very interesting situation before our flight in Rome we contact with our embassy and we say them that okay. five students, going to country going to Bishkek please be sure and control to make us to lead lead us Come safe, because of course we didn’t know that we will have a current team and

you did know you are already aware or do you do Yes, you did.

We did know that we will have a current team. And after that in the airport of Kurdistan we didn’t went into in in the airport. It was just like a, like a trap of airplane in here is already military people, military workers with least. Okay who is a student from Italy? Yes. And they check us separately from other passengers. separately from other passengers. They did registration where we came from how many time we are. We were staying in Italy, what we are doing there and other things. Then they checked our temperature. said okay, you’re going to quarantine for 14 days, 14 days, 14

weeks, 14 days. Two weeks. Yeah.

Um after that they bring us to

x American military base in Kurdistan.

I had no idea you told me this I had no idea there was a an ex American military base in Kyrgyzstan.

Yes, yes. And we had American base before. A lot of American soldiers and after sanctions between Russia and America, we had to choose one country with whom we will be Like a more close so our country decided to be in the side of Russia okay so after that American base was closed all American soldiers they back to their country

that’s probably a good idea you’re far too close to Russia to be on their bad side I would think

yes actually definitely we’re far

away so you’re probably okay over there. Although I have to I believe on the the extended the travel ban list your country was on it so we can we talk about that later. But yeah, word relationship, apparently is not that great if your country was listed there, but go on. Tell me what it was like then you got to the base. And

yeah, we got to the base. Here’s like standard rooms, All rooms, similar. Just bats, no windows, just bats and AC

Air Conditioner. So after that,

they just

we choose our rooms. We went inside and put our luggage is everything. After that the doctors

came and took analysis from knows

from nose

after that they they were checking our temperature every two, three hours every time

because we are first

first people in this base. Now it’s crowded actually. Oh really? Yes. Now it’s crowded. But before we were the first passengers from Europe and South Korea

in this base, but now it’s crowded.

Do you know Are there other locations where the same things are happening for Or your fellow citizens there? Or was this the first time that they realized that they they better start doing this and

all we are all having a visitation the first time.

So no one there is not another location where this has happened.

No, of course it is location like hospitals. Mostly it’s hospital but all hospitals right now are crowded. That’s why they start to put people in currently in in this base, okay. Yeah, and it’s my 10th day. Nice day, actually. Nine day, five days left.

I’m days left. Okay,

I’m still okay but what we are doing.

So it’s prohibited their special lines, your territory, territory of every base because we have a lot of like this. How to say it like a bunker


Yeah, I think so here’s a lot of bunkers and everyone could have his own little space and go out of this space of this territory is prohibited. What do we are doing? We have a breakfast at nine. Lunch at 1pm and dinner at six. What else? The doctors checking our temperature three hours, three days per data through two times three times per day. Morning lunch and evening. Before before sleeping. Um, they they put our Wi Fi here Few days ago. So we have a we can watch some movies series. Everything else. Also a lot of students here having their online study online lessons. Mostly we are just sitting outside because in this room sit there are small rooms, no windows. So we are trying all day sitting outside on the fresh air under the sun, so,

yeah Richard comfort comfortable there. I see you’re you’re in a T shirt right now so it must be warm.

Spring is coming to hear.

Right now it’s around maybe 15 degrees.

And 15 or is in Fahrenheit. That’s I’m not sure exactly. But it’s probably in the 60s is my guess off the tongue? Yeah,

I think so. I think not bad. Yeah, not bad, and either bonkers. There are a lot of people From Germany from France, South Korea, China so

so these are plants from those countries like or they’re citizens of Kurdistan that are are returning from those countries.

They are returning from this countries our citizens are returning from this country’s yeah ah yesterday actually had a bad news because here the first three cases of coronavirus Kurdistan

yeah I’ve been watching nationalist Kiki and I was looking for your country and I never saw it never saw it and then I all of a sudden sight pop up with three. So yeah, explain that.

Yes. But yeah, interesting situation. This. In fact the three people they came not from Europe, not from China. They came from the United Arab Emirates. Oh, you know that Muslims have a special like religion trip to Mecca.

Yeah, there’s Is it a big one every year? Yes, that would be happening right now or was happening but they cancelled it. I think then they

Yes, it calls like a big catch and small Hodge. So they came from small Hodge Okay. Yes and very funny situation because he has a lot of students from Italy and Italy right now it’s a really most dangerous zone. And this virus came from the United Arab Emirates.

So that’s happening those people are obviously getting extra special attention then but were they on your base somewhere else? The three people

know our analysis. Clear. Everyone in this base. They’re healthy.

These people else in your country.

Yes. These three in fact people they are Right now in special hospital apart of

all people,

okay, so for you in the group of people you’re with it seems to be and I don’t want to jinx you here but it seems to be all of you are okay. And you’re just you’re waiting out your time now. Yes, we

are waiting our time because our second analysis, control analysis will be the 13th day of our current team one day before leaving Okay,

so then I’m sure you’re pretty bored with being there. You’re ready to go home the point of leaving Italy Well,

yes, actually because he no freedom but our department, our people trying to give us all the comfortable things that we need. But this group, we are trying to make some fun we are playing cards, we are playing mafia. Watching movies together. Walk and at night we are telling each other some horror stories. So yeah, we are trying to spend to kill this time.

Yeah. You seem to be


Sorry. You seem to be in good spirits like it’s not it’s not too bad of a time.

Yeah, it’s not bad actually because I met really good people and it’s very interesting when you’re listening a lot of new stories, new things you can know from your city them and how their work there how the climate how their people they are. It’s interesting, actually.

And I think that’s a good transition point for the moment because for me, anytime I’m anywhere if I’m around good people, people that make the experience better, then I enjoy it. So let’s talk for a bit about how we met and then I want Want to learn more about your country after that? Okay, so here’s my version of the story we were in, in Greece in Athens. My friend Brad and I were touring some of the old ancient ruins the the sights of Athens. And this and this and this afternoon, we had seen a few sites already, but we we saw that it was going to rain in the forecast. So we realized we better go to the Acropolis, which is like the big one, the main one, that’s where the Parthenon is. And we went to the Acropolis. We didn’t really know what we’d find once we got up there because it’s up a big hill. We walked up the road to the big hill and saw that there was this little mountain area like a viewing point. So he and I went onto this viewing point, just kind of looking both back behind us at the Acropolis but also forward to the city and is a really great place to see the city. And at some point I was looking around, kind of checking out some some sites and maybe taking some photos and I turned back around and I saw that that Brad was taking photos of you. So yes, tell me tell me I know the story but explained back for me and my audience, what you were doing by yourself on the mountain in Athens.

Okay, so, um, I have my friend, she’s living in Athens with her boyfriend. And I had plans really I had a plan for a long time to visit her. And finally I decide, so I had I had my free time from work, my study and I decided, Okay, this right now I need to go to the admins. Also, tickets

were very cheap.

So yes, I traveled alone in Athens. My friend all the day during the daytime while she was working and

I was walking I was walking along

Yes, I started my first day in others from also from Acropolis. Because she, she said, Okay, let’s go to Acropolis. The main thing in Athens

I was walking and

I had my camera, taking a photo of

things around.

But I, of course, as a tourist, I wanted to have a photo of myself on the background was Acropolis. And I just so, Brad, he was standing near. And I just asked him, please, can you take a photo of me? He was kindly Yes, sure. He took a photo of me, us, standing near him. After that, we were just walking actually. The same the same way.

Yeah, we talked we chatted for just a few, like maybe a minute. And yes, you and I and Brad and then we parted ways like any typical stranger, like you made some money, you’d be friendly and then you move on. But yeah, we we ended up taking the same route very often it seemed.

But the funny situation

is, you know, Europeans have different accents, really different accents. And when you leave in Italy, and you speak with a UPN English, like a you used to hear us also this European accent, and when bread and court was were talking to me, I was like, trying to understand them. I can’t I can I can understand that it’s in English, but oh my god, what they’re saying, because your accent was really different. To me, and funny situation the second time I met you also already inside of Acropolis, right.

Yeah, we were walking around out there, I noticed you were kind of in the same area. So I we cross paths and I asked you something about the photos. And


yes. Walking around and court asked me something about photos. Like you said, you asked, how’s the photos? Right?

Because Brad took those photos of you I asked to see if if they were okay.


Actually, I didn’t understand and I saw that

a court asking your your turkey taking photos how it’s going? And I said it’s a stupid situation. And I say just Well actually, son in the different way different side and i don’t know i don’t remember what I said. But it was Tibbitts,

your response is like it’s something to do with the photos that you were taking in that moment when he wasn’t. Yes. But the thing for me, is that you you said a few words, and then you just like walked away. I’m like it seemed like he’s not want to talk to me at all. That was my impression. Oh,

actually, actually. It was just I just had

I didn’t know I was like, Oh my god, what I’m saying I can’t understand them. Of course, I wanted to talk with you and No. Get to know each other better from where you are, and what are you doing here but your accent? I really couldn’t understand your accent and I was like, Oh my God. What are you saying about it that you’re stupid?

But then I said, Okay, let’s try it again.

Yeah. If I were taking photos of the Parthenon, right, yes,

inside and I said, Okay, let’s try again. And I just came to you and as Okay guys, let’s make a deal. I will take a photo of you, and you will take photo of me. So yeah, from this time from this moment we start to talk, we start a conversation and then I explained you that I’m sorry that I can understand your accent. Could you please?

talk a bit?

Bit clearly,

slowly and clearly.

It’s easy to get that sometimes like I was excited to talk to someone in English that someone could speak English not that people don’t speak English in Greece, but it’s not as prominent as other countries in Europe, I find that there weren’t as many English speakers not nearly as many so we could speak English with you. And that was cool. So I get excited. I start speaking English. Really fast but I forget that once speaking.

Well, we’ve had a really good time actually,

after that after this meeting, we spend two to two days together right up to the next two days together, we got to meet your friend Sally. Oh, who you were there to see us working a lot, but and then you got to meet both moss and row who they had on the previous episodes of my podcast with me. And we all just became like a bigger friend group for a couple days. And it was it was pretty neat because you you were looking for people to spend time with because you had no one for most of the day. And we were happy to include you in our group.

Yes, I really enjoy our time together, especially dinner. Thanks for inviting me again. And after after you leave Greece to another island right now. We flew to Athens. Yes I was pretty boring actually. Yeah, I was pretty bored because I was walking again alone. And no company. No, no person who take a photo of you. But well, after that they after I left Athens also

so what did you think of Athens compared to other countries you’ve traveled to in Europe?

You know, I dance it’s like a

mix of Soviet Union acts USSR beats, maybe east. traditions, food, and just the peace of Europe. Yeah, it’s a really like a mix of we beat Russia. Maybe a little bit, a bit of East and Europe but Greece actually before meeting before visit Greece, I didn’t know anything about Greece. I just didn’t know that they have stories about, like

Gods like, URIs Gods Yes. mythical gods. Yes,

yes. But I didn’t know anything about their food traditions and never heard of Greece language. So for me, it was really something new, very new. For example, if in Italy, you can understand at least some words from sentence. Greece language, Greek language is really just


Yeah, that’s it. Different alphabet and the different


words relate to the words in English. So yeah, it was for me it was, it was a very different travel experience, because I barely except for the people at like the shops, or the restaurants the few times we did that they could speak English but the the, the everyday person that I might meet they, they didn’t so I couldn’t communicate with anyone, which is, I think fairly common in international travel. But for me, I haven’t been to many places like that. I’ve been to a few Spanish speaking countries where it’s similar, but it was it was different because I kind of felt like I was by myself when I was a few times I was by myself, I felt like I was really by myself and it’s a different feeling. I didn’t have any issues in the country. I enjoyed just taking it in and walking around and seeing the sights to what I was able to see. But I felt I felt somewhat detached from it even while there because I didn’t know how to interact with people and part of that is opposes my own fault for not knowing any of the language really, and not prioritizing that. But also I think it’s just much more difficult for an English speaker to, to really take take in all of Greece because so not a bunch not a lot of English well can although they do put English that is like still the second most common language, they put it on a lot of the signs, which that does help a lot because obviously, they know that they need to adapt to tourists, because not that many tourists are going to speak Greek.

You’re right, you’re right. So I think I suggest you to visit Greece, because it’s a really different part. A little piece of Eastern Europe and Russia in one country. So yes,

yeah, I was happy to go there. I had a good time and I got to meet you course.

And it’s again here hear my neighbor’s trying to sing making curl care.

I think so far it’s not too distracting but there are some sounds in the background but it’s okay it’s it’s understandable you’re under quarantine on a military people are trying to enjoy themselves the outdoors so yes let’s keep talking more so when I when I met you and you told me what country you’re from I can’t even be sure to that moment if I if I knew like I think I knew that your country Kurdistan curves Say it again from how do you how do you say it when you’re when you’re? You don’t say that’s what the rest of the world or some of the world calls you? What do you call yourself?

Well, ah, actually and in Russian it calls like Kurdistan

Okay, so it gets done, okay?

In English, it’s reading like Kurdistan.

And usually European people say like, he’s Jesus tag or kill Jesus.

Okay, like you say you’re from the curries Republic.

Yes. You can say Coco’s Republic. Kyrgyz Republic.

Yeah, we are one of some countries.

And on the map your central Asia, kind of between the Middle East in China, there’s a whole bunch of countries there that for me growing up in the United States with my education, when we’re learning about the rest of the planet, the rest of the countries, I don’t know that any section of the planet is skipped more than like the few countries in your area there. It’s not, they’re not prominently taught about it. We’re not talking about your countries. That’s it. That’s the back of the textbook probably. So we don’t really that’s at least my memory of learning about it. That’s not something we learned about so I really was very unfamiliar. But talking with you and with the sale, your friend I got to know a few more things so what what do you think would surprise someone not from your part of the world about your country? Give me a few tidbits that you think your, that your country is known for or that you’re really proud of from being from there?

Well, actually, yes.

A lot of people don’t know my country and usually when I

when I meet new people, and when I’m saying where I’m from, they’re thinking like, Where’s that? Where’s your country? Kurdistan


And I was like, Okay, yeah, Kazakhstan, Russia, Kazakhstan. Mostly people know Kazakhstan. But about Kurdistan. They did. They don’t know. And we are neighbors, your neighbors, but my country is much similar. Smaller. 6 million people for no

capital. Call Bishkek

Yes, and our first language is Korea’s language. And second language is Russian language. So our people can speak fluently in Russian and also in Caracas. And for European and American people. It’s very like, wow. Especially when Asian girl with Asian eyes start to speak in Russian, clearly. And usually sometimes, I was just joking. Okay, I’m from Russia. And there’s also a lot of questions, but if you’re from Russia, why you are Asian.

So, yeah,

my country is still young, my country so we became independent in 9099 to one

29 years ago and not even 30 years

yes 1991 Yep. And my country is really young and we are just starting to grow

our touristic

I think the the karaoke scene behind you, it’s more distracting to you than it is for me listening from a half of a global way.


Oh my god.

I can show you if you want,

that’s fine. You got the camera, you should yell to them and tell them that you’re on the world famous People I Know Show.

You want to shoot. Okay.

So, on the video right now we can see that it’s actually normally you want to have a conversation with people on the video. It’s just my face and their face here. Yes It definitely looks like winter ended not long ago the trees are without leaves are mostly without leaves with people in Minnesota who would be familiar on the ground books. Mostly brown, a little bit of green and not a lot of excitement with your surroundings as you can tell it

is so as I said before, it’s like a bunkers. Yeah.


I think I just need to go

maybe four from them.

That’s it. There’s like nobody around while we’re doing this and but they’re right above you like,

yes. Okay. So, um, I think better for you to ask, what, what are you interested in from about my country?

So I think as someone that’s now I think I’ve seen like 21 or 22 different countries. If and when I eventually come to visit your country what what would draw me in there what what do people commonly travel there to see or to do for tourists

okay um people coming to my country to see the nature because we have a incredibly beautiful nature. We have also a lot of lakes and we have a Mounties. So, during the summertime we have a lake and we have a beach season. During the out of course, mountains

high high mountains very beautiful and very

virgin nature. So I can see like a virgin nature because our nature I still

not so A visited

How do you say I’m sorry for my English but

this is great actually for someone that wasn’t born speaking born into it.

So I can say that it’s still a virgin and not visited with people and it’s still like

it saved like, from the first time. No. So there’s parts of the country that like people have not been to yet. Yes, yes you do did Shanta yo when when we were having dinner one night and at Airbnb you were showing yes to one of your family vacations and this the images are just astounding How beautiful is this? You’re in the middle of nowhere in nature and the sights are just amazing. No you’re you’re showing me no filters on these things like I want to go snow person

you Yes and good point that in winter we have a ski basis.

So we have all kinds of

sports. How the court

like a winter winter sports people come there to go skiing and snowboarding.

Yes and that summertime you can just doing high.


So a lot of nature, people would come there enjoy the beautiful great outdoors, like because there’s just you can get away from the city. But you’re also like, I think you told me your city is in one location. But if someone wanted to go skiing, that it’s not very close to the city a far far away.

Yes, actually. There’s a very popular base. Reserve really high mountains It’s in six hours of riding by from from the Capitol.

So the best skiing area that someone would guess they would have to drive six hours. Yes. Okay which mean it’s probably worth doing but you’re if you’re deciding to go vacation in Kyrgyzstan, you’re going to be putting some time in to really get to your vacation spot.


What else? So I visited the city, Bishkek, what is happening in Bishkek that someone from another place might find interesting perhaps?

Well actually in Bishkek, nothing interesting except of nightlife maybe because I have a lot of night bars and clubs and good restaurants with a good atmosphere. Beer and Wine are so here in Bishkek you can just see maybe in nightlife and plus some bazaars


a it’s a word we don’t use in the knighted states very often but it’s like shops right different

Yeah. It’s like a streets big big street shops and in Bishkek we have the biggest one of the biggest bazaars in the Central Asia. Okay. So here you can find anything from anywhere especially mostly from China.

China goods

Okay, so a lot of commerce there. If I remember looking at the map there’s a really big lake close to but

yes, it calls it’s a cool it’s a cool from Clovis language means hot lake. Hot Lake called Lake Yeah, hot Lake because it Winter it’s not getting freeze. Okay. Yeah because of because it’s salty and because of salt it’s not getting now freeze like other small lakes during the winter and this lake it’s our like Miami Beach, some kind of because around like we have a lot of like resorts, hotels where a lot of people especially from Kurdistan and plus some Kazakh people some Russian people come in summer to have their vacation

yeah we have a good beaches,

beach beaches okay

and yeah we can swim our beach season starts from the from the beginning of July and till the till the And then maybe beginning of September.

Okay, that’s, that’s pretty similar to here in Minnesota. There’s maybe it starts in June, possibly. But really July and August are the two months where it gets really warm. And it’s a perfect day for going to the beach when it’s

when it’s so of course, some of people go in June also, but it’s cool. Yeah. That’s older. Yes, that’s why the perfect time for Lake It’s July and August.

Well, you’re about a half a global way. We just recently had our time change here for daylight savings time, but before that, you were 12 hours. I recall yours, all of our different so yeah, you may have to look close to the parallels the longitude and latitude. But I think on the the latitude you may you may be very similar here to Minnesota, the way you’re describing the town. Temperatures in the seasons.

Yeah, Kirsten, Kirsten, we have all four seasons and all every season starts. And

every season starts

for example, okay. It’s not like for example when summer starts later or earlier all all season starts in this time in every year very consistent.

Yeah. You know, you know as the year changes about what the temperature is going to do.

Yeah, but for example right now March here and it’s already warm, everything is getting green and summer will start here. From from the end of May. And we have autumn we have winter Hold me interested, there’s a lot of snow. Yeah, in Kurdistan that you can see all four seasons.

And how would you describe the as a citizen of your country and having lived in other places and travel other places you find that life is for as free and easy and your country as elsewhere, or are there some restrictions?

Well, our country is one of Muslim countries. And like other East countries, we still save our old traditions and our mentality it’s a bit it’s much different than in Europe and in America. And, of course, we are trying to be on time with all the world but still we are keeping our traditions, especially about family about marriage. What else about religion relations between people, older people, younger people, for example, it’s a shame here, if you will, if you’re sitting in the public transport, and there will be a woman or man older than you, if you will not give him your seat, like a respect. Yeah. So in our mentality of respect, it’s one of the important and important things between relations, relations between people

and respect is most earned by being older.

Yes, yes.

Okay. Interesting.

So you have a few days left of your quarantine and then you’ll get to see live days. See your family. What is your intention then? Cuz you’ve been studying in Italy and you had a program that you’re looking to finish there. Well, it was I imagine life is up in the air right now you don’t really know what you’re going to do. What do you know you’re going to do and what what still needs to be resolved?

Well, actually after quarantine, I’ll be I’ll stay apart from my family for one more week. Oh, just to check it. Yes. I will be in a home quarantine, without anyone without any family. And after seven days, a days I can meet with my family. They’re waiting for me. They’re also worrying about me and my mom is crying every day.

Yes, and

actually, it’s of course, it’s my responsibility about my family. Because I have to my little sisters My parents already older than 40. And this group of people, they are more risky to be infected. Yeah. That’s why it’s my responsibility and it’s not difficult for me to stay along again for one more week. But here everything start to close to cinemas, nightclubs, big restaurants, and all big events. They are canceled postponed. And people start to buy food and grocery everywhere. Yeah, even if for example, if Italy already

has had this panic before maybe one or two weeks ago. In my country, it’s just getting starts.

But I guess I find it somewhat surprising that your country is doing that. Because up until yesterday, two days ago, you had no known cases. And then you had three but those people were already they were they were already quarantine when they were discovered to have the cases correct. Or did they were they found in the general population?

So yes, first cases

where we read about her cases yesterday, and plus today, also three cases. Okay. So right now in person is six cases. And all this is people from United Arab Emirates from

Saudi Arabia.

You see, they’ve all been from United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia. would have these people been in quarantine though, like they weren’t exposing the general population. Correct. Or were they?

Yes, yes. Right now, they In a special quarantine a part of part of us and a bunch of other people.

So a lot of shutting down. Life’s not normal, you’re gonna be re entering a probably a different world than what you you’re used to even after your additional quarantine from your family. What is your plan for the short term though with your life in your studies in your work? What uh, what are you going to do because like so many people, our lives have been at least somewhat changed or up ended yours. Your left the country you left the country that’s experiencing the worst aspect of the coronavirus right now to go back to your country with three weeks in quarantine. And then you have plans for your life. But now what are you going to do?

Yes, actually a very good question because

I’m sure that I will not come back to Italy maybe in

till the June

Or maybe till the September because our university start to send us messages like, don’t come back. For now we will. We will tell you when everything will be okay. And my professors start to put online exams, online exams and I was planning to graduate this year. But due to this situation, I think my graduation will, will postpone to the next year maybe. And my plans? Well, I’m sure that I will be here for two months, no less than two months.

And April, May.

What I’m going to do

first of all, I’ll lose my family. I’ll lose my family. Want to spend time with them?

After that,

I’m planning to do my lessons, online lessons and if they will be possible to pass exams online, I will do it. And I will come back to my hobby here. I think I will upgrade my skills

of photographer.

You’re getting plenty of practice in Greece as I recall. So

yes, yes,

Kiki, let’s shift the conversation.

To my personal growth segment I like to give all my guests an opportunity to share stories that that you think you’ve benefited from in your life that someone listening to us watching us right now might be able to learn from so I want to talk about personal growth, something you’ve been working on some some really big big way for you to have improved yourself. What comes to mind? What’s the short story that you can share that you think might help some others?

Ah, well,

I think first of all, everyone

should to believe to himself. Just believe in yourself. Everything will be okay. And I strongly believe that if you will dream about something, if you will, put set goals and no need to listen, anyone and just go to your dream, go to your


and hear right now these days, it’s a lot of ways to improve, improve yourself. Here’s internet, here’s a lot of online schools, governors, and there’s a lot of interesting things in this world.


try to travel try to meet new people try to learn some new skills, cooking photography and drawing. Everything is in our hands and we

everyone can make his life more interesting.

Is there a Is there a story of where you believed in yourself and did something that others thought you couldn’t that really made? Yes, that come to mind? What is that

I always I always wanted to have education abroad in Europe or America. And I was trying actually I was trying to apply for a lot of universities in Europe in Germany, in Italy, of course again and So in Budapest,

and a lot of tries a lot of tries

become for me with

grant, free education in Italy and last scholarship. So just never give up and try, try again more, find new ways. If some doors close, try to open the other doors.

That’s great that you had this thing that you wanted to do. And clearly it sounds like it wasn’t easy. You had a lot of a lot of times where it didn’t go as you hoped, but you kept trying and you got the opportunity and you’ll you’ll get to continue assuming things, get back to normal and it’ll you’ll get to finish up that plan and go back to Italy and finish your schooling there. So yes, I know this well. You’re studying a type of law, right? That was that was part of your life. European law so so that was that’s something that you’ll be able to you think you’re more likely to to look for work back home once you finish your degree or, or with the European law is that that pretty much forced you to use that degree somewhere in Europe.

My plans to stay in Europe and try to find a job in other countries of Europe, maybe it will be Germany maybe it will be in Netherlands or I will go to Great Britain. At least maybe I will apply to America. So yeah, I’m not sure that I will come back to my country because

I want to work abroad. I want to work

in another country.


I’m not sure that with



I can work here because I want more. I want more more. And it’s not enough here in Kurdistan. So yeah, I just I just want to open myself new boards and try to Well, I did it already my country, I had my bachelor’s, I had my job here. I did it. So I know how it’s going here. And I want to do something that I didn’t have before

you accomplish what you want to accomplish in your country. And now you’re, you’re out seeking more. So that’s great. You’re dreaming big and so far, it seems like you’re accomplishing it. So I’m pretty excited to see what’s to come for you and eventually someday, seeing you here in the United States. or somewhere else in the world perhaps but yeah,

maybe how to seal one day in America or in Kurdistan?

Oh, yeah, no, I I plan to go there someday, too. I’d never given a thought before I met you. But now certainly I, I am. But even even so we still have one more segment here. We’re not done at the end of the conversation by being wrong segment, peaky. This is I’ve created the podcast because I realized I’ve changed my mind on so many things. My former version of myself was wrong about about a number of things. At least that’s that’s the way I look at it. That’s what I feel for you. Is there something big that you’ve changed your mind about that you can look back on yourself and say, Yeah, I was wrong about that. And the way that I’m doing it now is much better.

It’s great idea actually.

I never did it before. And I never heard about like a podcast and it’s really interesting. Keep going.

Yeah. So From your life what’s what’s something from your life that you’ve you’ve changed your mind about that you think is worth talking about? change my mind.

Let me think well change my mind at first that all European countries in English

and the second that

all my mind about European and American people actually,

what do you guys about us?

Well about European people, for example about American people, I don’t have some as much experience of contact with American people but these European people I always saw that they are more like, Nazis racist. Yes, of course, we can meet some of the people and I always was I had a I saw that Asian people, we are not our place, not in Europe. Because mostly some, for example, there are some phrases like America for Americans, Europe for Europeans. But it’s not like that. In Europe, especially in Italy, people were kind and they can accept you as normal people normal person. And I always saw that. It’s really depends relations from people depends from your country and from your nationality. But it’s not.

It’s not and it depends from

what the person you are, know who you are.

So yeah, I think it said mean changes in my mind for last two years.

It’s interesting you bring that up because I’ve shared similar stories in the past about how my mind has changed about seeing people that that were from a different place or look different. And my initial instinct was that they were, they were worse or bad or someone I shouldn’t be talking to some some way of looking at the other, and thinking that they they were someone I shouldn’t associate with, in some way. I don’t know if that’s a human thing, or if that’s a learned thing, but it’s funny, you’re, you’re half of the earth away and you’re you had those same fears or trepidations. And I think that’s very common in a lot of places. So I like to spread the message that people from a different place that speak a different language that look different, yet wouldn’t there’s noticeable visible differences sometimes, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t get along and become friends. And I think the example of you talking today on my podcast with me is is a perfect example. That of The random meeting on the mountaintop in Greece and in the stories in just a couple weeks now what you’ve been going through, I think it really brings into perspective that this is a very global issue right now we kind of already know that. But by connecting the dots from Greece to Italy, to Kyrgyzstan to the United States, like yeah, this is we’re all dealing with it.

Yeah. Well, first of all, I just want to say that we are all

we are all citizens.

We’re all citizens of the world. And then maybe we are citizens of America, Kurdistan, Europe and other countries. Exactly.

Thank you so much for this experience for you.

Thank you This is it’s been good to to know you and to stay in contact and, and I hope to see you again someday.

I hope to welcome to Kurdistan. Thank you.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai