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Lucio Valerio Sarandrea. Adventures of an Italian in Kyrgyzstan

Lucio Valerio Sarandrea came to Kyrgyzstan about four years ago to work with the United Nations as Adviser on Rule of Law. He and his family are so happy to have taken such a decision. All of them enjoy Kyrgyzstan and are looking forward to stay here longer.

For me, my wife and my two children it was a courageous decision as we had never been to Central Asia before even though we had lived away from Italy for many years.

Lucio Valerio Sarandrea

His work essentially consists in supporting and advising on the State’s efforts in improving the Rule of Law situation in the country with a particular emphasis on the most vulnerable people. At the same time, Lucio teaches as a volunteer at the American University of Central Asia hoping to transmit to the students his experience and motivation.

-What surprises you in Kyrgyzstan?

-There is no doubt that the nature of Kyrgyzstan is breathtaking, extraordinary. Every time I look at the Tien Shan mountains in a clear sky day I feel a sense of happiness and freedom as well as privilege for being here. Also the Lake of Issyk Kul is indeed spectacular, I would say a magic place.

-What reminds you of your hometown in Bishkek?

-My hometown is Rome, Italy. A place with over 2,700 years of history.

For how surprising it may seem the thing that reminds me Rome the most are the people, the Kyrgyz people.

Lucio Valerio Sarandrea

I believe that Italians and Kyrgyz people are very similar in the way of demonstrating their emotions, their friendliness and their approach to life. The only difference seems to be the language...

-What do you miss?

-Nothing much I would say. I am a very adaptable person and I am flexible in changing my habits.

As food is concerned with time, I also managed to find supplies of all my favorite ingredients and I am able to follow my culinary habits as before.

Lucio Valerio Sarandrea

In this I am also helped but the availability of few good Italian restaurants that make my life easier and make me feel like home.

-What is your favorite place in Bishkek?

-There are many places. I would highlight two. The first one is the Spartak Stadium. As I love running I often go there in the very early morning hours to train. It is a very peaceful place and gives me energy to face difficult working days. The view of the mountains southwards is always a spectacular.

The second one is a picnic location just outside of town I use to go with my friends. It is a splendid place with a creek, threes and wild horses. In summer we also do camping there. I do not want to reveal the precise location as I am afraid that next time I am going there it would be already taken.

-What do you like in the national cuisine?

-Overall my favorite dish is the lagman, indeed it also resembles spaghetti. There are few restaurants that cook it deliciously and I simply can’t resist it.

-What are you afraid even to taste?

Shoro is not really my favorite drink, I tried it once and I didn’t like it.

My friends say that it is an «acquired taste» and that it takes years to get used and appreciate the flavor. Probably I am not ready yet.

Lucio Valerio Sarandrea

-What has fascinated you in close acquaintance with the local population?

-I am very intrigued about all the local culture, the habits and rituals. There is a lot to learn and study about the nomad culture. I like to explore and read as much as I can about the Country. ChyngyzAijtmatov for example is a fantastic guide for me and I have read almost all his works. My favorite one is «The white steamboat».

-And what disappointed you?

-Truly, I am afraid of local traffic security. It is very sad for me to read every day how many lives of people, especially the young ones are taken by car accidents.

I was also very much saddened by the death of the Vice Prime Minister Temir Djumakadyrov with whom I had the pleasure of working before. I really hope that some new measures can make Bishkek and the country safer for everyone and I fully welcome the initiatives in this regard.

Lucio Valerio Sarandrea

To my extent and the one of the United Nations we would be very happy to support this efforts and make Bishkek and Kyrgyzstan even more beautiful.