Back in late 1999, I spent four months with the American Councils (Accels/ACTR) in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, where I worked as a Program Recruiter for the Future Leaders Exchange Program. I was offered this short term contract after I finished my Peace Corps service in Kazakhstan.
During the four months, I stayed with a Kyrgyz host family who was recommended by my Country Director. It was an interesting host family since they were all actors. My "host" father was Ashirbek Chokubaev who was a well known actor during the Soviet times and when Kyrgyzstan became independent. He was very funny and I really enjoyed my conversations with him.
Aigul, his wife, was also an actress. I used to go on evening walks with her and her "huge" Boxer named Tyson. She would make Kyrgyz beshbarmak on the weekends when I was home. I spent many weekdays on the road across Kyrgyzstan for my job).
It was a very memorable four months. I got to see their acting skills when I was home. Part of them rubbed off on me as well which helped when I asked to teach Media/Drama in Kazakhstan at an international school in 2013.
Sadly, I found out a couple weeks ago that Ashirbek had passed away in March, 2018. I lost contact with the family before moving to Vietnam. I am trying to get back in touch with help from my network.
Below is a video in tribute of Ashirbek. Rest in Peace Ashirbek.