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Surfer from Hawaii Ryan Lansing settles in cold Naryn

Ryan Lansing was born in Minnesota (USA), but has been living in Hawaii for many years. He came to Kyrgyzstan from America last year as a Peace Corps volunteer and found himself in a cold Naryn.

«I am now living in Kyzyl-Tuu village in Naryn region where I teach English at the secondary school, hold weekly clubs, and work on other projects in the community. Before moving to Kyrgyzstan, I worked in business and tourism, and I also did a lot of work with youth sports programs,» Ryan Lansing told.

In Hawaii, I spent most of my free time surfing, hiking, relaxing at the beach, and traveling. My time so far in Kyrgyzstan has been wonderful and I look forward to the years to come!

Ryan Lansing

-What surprised you most of all in Kyrgyzstan?

— The thing that surprised me the most about living in Kyrgyzstan is how unprepared I was to handle a Naryn winter. Hawaii is very warm all year round, so I wasn’t used to being in cold weather. And even though this winter was very mild, I was always cold. It was very hard to adjust! I even had to buy a warmer coat than the one I brought and always dressed in many layers. People in Naryn are very tough and I have a lot of respect for their resiliency!

-What in Kyrgyzstan reminds you of your hometown?

-The mountains in Kyrgyzstan remind me a lot of home. Both Hawaii and Kyrgyzstan have beautiful mountains to look at and explore. Here in Kyzyl-Tuu village, I love seeing the sun rise and set over the mountains. The beauty is absolutely breathtaking! As summer approaches, I look forward to the opportunity to explore the mountains in Naryn and hopefully do some hiking in other parts of Kyrgyzstan as well.

— What do you miss here?

— The thing I miss the most in Kyrgyzstan is the ocean. For years before coming to Kyrgyzstan, I lived very close to the ocean and spent a lot of my time swimming, SCUBA diving, surfing, paddleboarding, or doing other things in the beautiful ocean waters of Hawaii.

On a normal day, I would ride my bike to the beach and go for a swim before going to work. So you can imagine that living here is quite different!

-What is your favorite place in Bishkek and Kyrgyzstan?

-I haven’t found my favorite place in Kyrgyzstan yet. I’ve liked every place I’ve been so far, but it’s impossible to choose a favorite. From Bishkek to Naryn, the people are great and the land is beautiful. I might be able to answer this question better in a year or so when I’ve had a chance to see more of the country.

But for now, it has all been my favorite!

Ryan Lansing

-What do you like in the national cuisine and what are you afraid even to try?

— Kyrgyzstan really has a great food culture. Trying new food and having the opportunity to socialize at meals has been a great experience. I’ve had some excellent food here in Kyrgyzstan, with mashed potatoes with fried vegetables being my favorite. So many people here make great salads too, and I’ve found cheese here that I absolutely love!

I don’t eat meat, so there’s quite a bit that I won’t eat. And, of course, people in Naryn eat lots and lots of meat. There’s still so much delicious vegetarian food here that it makes eating easy and tasty!

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

-I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many great people here in Kyrgyzstan! It’s really fun to hear the stories people tell me about growing up in Kyrgyzstan and sharing my own stories about growing up in America with them. And Kyrgyz culture is really fascinating! I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface and can’t wait to learn more during my time here.

I can’t think of anything that has really disappointed me. There are so many cultural differences between Kyrgyzstan and America to observe, and I just enjoy experiencing something different!

Ryan Lansing