Adopted Kazakh woman returned from the United States to their homeland at the call of dombra
Jeanne Had was adopted at the age of 5, but at 16 she decided to return to Kazakhstan. At least - at the time of education. "I heard the dombra and felt that someone was calling for me." Her story is told by the portal. 365info.kz.
Since autumn 2016, Jeanne is a student at KIMEP (Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics and Forecasting). She actively learns the Kazakh language and discovers Kazakhstan for herself anew - her memories from early childhood, from an orphanage, have almost faded, and almost everything seems unusual and unusual to her.
Zhanna emphasizes that her return to her homeland became possible thanks to her foster mother, who all these years spent in the USA helped her daughter to learn the culture of Kazakhstan.
Jeanne has a very tight schedule, but for us there is a little time in a short break. Besides studying, she teaches English in the evenings. It also studies Russian in parallel and attends all the activities related to a more in-depth study of the national culture.
- From the first day I was most impressed by Kazakh hospitality. People try their best to provide their guests with the best. And I was surprised how people here can trust. For example, because of banking operations, I had problems paying tuition, then my friend lent 3000 $. Of course, I returned her debt at the earliest opportunity, but it shocked me. After all, I knew her for only three months. In the US, it is very rare for a person to borrow money, especially if they know him so briefly, ”says Joan.
Features of Kazakhstan through the eyes of the American Kazakh
“Though I look like a Kazakh, I think I’m different.” For example, I used to assume that when I come to Kazakhstan, I will not be asked if I am Chinese, Japanese or Korean, as often happens in the United States. However, I was surprised that only half of the time people think that I am a Kazakh. They say that this is because of my accent or clothes (comfortable or fashionable), or my eyes that look different than ordinary Kazakh eyes. Although I do not think so.
- My mentality is naturally different. I express my opinion more often than most of my friends or classmates. I can disagree with professors or say “no” and I see that it is difficult for some Kazakh women to do this. By the way, because of the American accent, many assume that I am rich, but this is definitely not the case. When I buy something in small stores, they try to sell me more expensive. Although in order to come and study in Kazakhstan, I had to work and save money for several years.
Another feature - people do not sleep late and go to the guests. Many, even taxi drivers, ask me personal questions - for example, do I have a boyfriend? It turns out that he must be a Kazakh. They also ask when I get married if I plan children. It's amazing when strangers touch on such personal topics, Jeanne laughs. - But if you do not take this into account, in general, I am pleased that I came here.
Memory of the orphanage
- Mom told me that the adoption process was difficult. In the first trip she stayed with me for two months. Every day she came and brought presents to everyone. On the Internet, she saw my photo, she liked my smile and she decided to take the child from a country she had never heard of. In my questionnaire it was written that I have a weak immunity. In the States, she had a doctor who knew me, who also adopted a child from Kazakhstan, and she asked him to guide me. Up to seven years old, I completed more than six surveys. The results were successful.
I vaguely remember that period, all in a fog. Sometimes I get some memories from the orphanage, the faces of children and women. When I think about it, there is a gratitude that I have a mother and brother. These memories make me happier - I was lucky to find a family.
“My mom is unusual”
- My mother has a difficult fate, but she was and remains cheerful and optimistic. She is an unusual woman even for America, because she does what distinguishes her from people living by standards. Unlike other American families, where children have a separate bedroom, we fell asleep next to my mother, listening to her fairy tales. My brother and I received all her warmth and love.
Before me, my mother was married, but her husband died suddenly of a heart attack immediately after the birth of Peter. Together they traveled a lot in Asia.
They had one strong desire - even before pregnancy, they agreed with her husband that they would adopt a child from Asia. After his death, mother decided to fulfill their dream.
She told us that her husband was the love of her life. She no longer married, but took up our upbringing ... Once on the plane she read about the young country of Kazakhstan and decided to take the child from there.
- Mom took very good care of me and brother Peter. After the death of her husband, she left an inheritance, and this gave her the opportunity to educate me and her brother comprehensively. We visited all sports clubs and lived a full life. And when I turned 14 years old, it was decided that we’ll go home with Peter and we will travel in all states. Mom rented a trailer, took a driving course, and in a year and a half we drove around 13 states to learn more about culture and people. We ourselves chose historical sites, for example, the cities where the Carnegie libraries were located. Mom wanted us to have a diverse education, a broad outlook, not limited to the school curriculum. It was very exciting - we drove through the mountains, valleys, lakes and felt like nomads. When I arrived in Almaty, I was surprised how similar the nature was to what I had seen in the States.
Call of Dombra
- In Kansas, I went to school, where there were only three Asians, and there were no Kazakhs among them. Then I knew little about my culture. But my mother, as I can remember, always told me that I was a Kazakh, that my country was called Kazakhstan. She wanted to find me a teacher in the Kazakh language, but it was impossible to do. Once I learned that in New Hampshire, there is a Kazakh summer camp for adopted children like me. Mom took me there for the summer, I was just 12 years old. Subsequently, a volunteer camp and one of the organizers Yerden helped me settle in Almaty. In the camp I first tried Kazakh food and heard the sounds of dombra. I remember my impressions of these sounds — as if something had awakened in me or someone called me.
I began to think more about who the other Jeanne is. Then I considered myself a little Kazakh, but I realized that I had to reckon with this, that it was part of my personality and I wanted to reveal it. These are different things - to live in America and find something of your own, or to come to Kazakhstan and recognize yourself through other people. And I decided to go to Kazakhstan, but I made a condition for myself that I should know my country without interruption from education. And so it happened that I study here.
In America, I studied on a grant, but in order to study in Kazakhstan, I had to work for four years. To pay for my stay in the historic homeland, I began working in a summer camp. She worked as a maid in a hotel, received in an hour from 8 to 11 $, then began to receive twice as much. It seemed to me that for the resume the position of the maid was not very good, then I got a job as a CMM manager at the social media club of the college where I studied.
- I got used to the Kazakh food, I learned how to cook beshbarmak, although it is correct to say “em”. The only thing I didn’t like was kymyz. When people find out about my desire to learn more about themselves, they are happy to help. I learned more Kazakh words, gained experience in a local environment. Now I am happy that I came to Kazakhstan, I began to understand myself better. And I'm glad that my mother supported me.
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