Brad Brenneman came to
Brad Brenneman confessed — he especially liked very friendly people in Bishkek, it seems that you know everybody.
This is a wonderful and pleasant surprise — to live in a place where one can meet friends everywhere you go.Brad Brenneman
-What surprises you in the capital of
-My first time in Bishkek was while visiting with friends when I lived in Tashkent. It was 1996 and at that point not much had really changed from the Soviet times so it was possible to see the city more or less as it was during the 1980s and early 1990s. This was very interesting for someone who grew up in New Zealand.
What surprised me then and still surprises me today is that the main language of the capital city of the Kyrgyz Republic is Russian. For me this is great since I learned Russian starting in 1994 and use Russian as my main business and communication language.Brad Brenneman
However, when visiting from
I learned Russian, then started learning Uzbek, now want to learn Kyrgyz, but generally I end up with a mess in my head with so many languages!Brad Brenneman
I am still surprised at how socially small Bishkek is. Even though it is a large city, the same size as my native
People often ask — «Why not Almaty, or Moscow — you can make a lot more money there." But I answer that Bishkek for us is a lifestyle choice — smaller, cleaner, friendly, lots of nature and lots of friends.»Brad Brenneman
Yes, maybe less business opportunities, but a good place to raise a family and build a business.
— Is there anything in Bishkek that reminds you of your hometown?
-To be completely honest — very little on the surface.
However, scratch a little deeper and one finds there is much in common with the people. Like the
There is a deep national pride in
Just like in Bishkek — the success of one resident or citizen of the Kyrgyz Republic is hailed as a success for all! This natural and intense patriotism and belief in the future is something I see as common between our cities and countries.Brad Brenneman
-What do you miss, what is missing in Bishkek and in
— I personally miss the ocean. I grew up always close to the
If one has been to
-What is your favorite place in Bishkek?
— Our house and yard. We work hard to have a nice yard with grass, trees, a topchan, cats and a dog. We enjoy our grapes in September, cherries in early June, apricots and of course walnuts in the fall. Because we are so busy with work and charity we usually simply cook at home and spend time with our family whenever we can.
-What do you like in the national cuisine? And what are you afraid to even try?
-Generally, I have tried and eat pretty much all national foods. My favorite in Bishkek is boso lagman. My favorite that my wife makes is plov — specifically because she is originally from
-What fascinated and disappointed you in close acquaintance with the local population?
I absolutely love the adventurous spirit of the people of the Kyrgyz Republic. At the same time, it has been hard to build a solid business team because the «Nomdadic Spirit» means people tend to not stay at one place of work long enough.Brad Brenneman
I find that in New Zealand we are much more team oriented, much less focused on the individual and more on the collective. Ironically, in a former Soviet country, the collective is not that important —
-What would you change in Bishkek?
— In a few words? Fix the roads. We need order but Bishkek, like much of the former
Recently I sold my car and decided to take taxis because I became just too tired with dealing with the road police. As a foreigner I am «always drunk.»Brad Brenneman
This is a sad reflection of the past. Let’s go forward into the future together and accomplish amazing things! This is why we live here — we want to be here, we like living here…so lets build the