China / Newsmaker

Warm hearts find my glove in a cold place

By ZHOU WA (China Daily) Updated: 2013-01-15 01:46

My first impression of Kazakhstan was that it is cold. When we arrived it was snowing and the temperature was -40 C.

Walking down the street can be very challenging, because it is like moving in a refrigerator. Snow covers almost everything. You can feel the tiny hairs in your nose freezing when you breathe in, and melting with the heat from your lungs when you breathe out.

Although I was wearing three sweaters and a duck down jacket, I still felt that 10 minutes was my limit to stay outdoors.

Local people try their best to avoid walking outside, and cars become their outdoor shelters. You can see private cars traveling on the roads, but not so many buses or taxis.

I was wondering how people can survive if they don't own cars, but my question was answered when I saw a private car stop in front of a woman with many shopping bags waiting by the side of the road. After some discussion, the woman got in the car.

Later I was told that every private car can be used as a taxi. You can stop a car just like stopping a taxi. After reaching an agreement on the fare, you can get a ride. If you are lucky enough to have the same destination as the driver, you might get to ride for free — a sign of people's warmth amid the freezing winter.

My colleagues and I felt such warmth on the first day we arrived in Astana, the capital.

We could not find our way and asked an old lady for help. She was so patient and even guided us to the building we were looking for, which meant she had to retrace her steps to get to where she was going, spending another 10 minutes outdoors.

The second time I was touched was when I discovered I had lost one of my gloves in a shopping mall.

After my colleagues and I finished our lunch in the mall, I discovered that one of my gloves was missing. This could be dangerous, because your hands can freeze in such cold.

I returned to the fast food restaurant where I had lunch and a security guard told me to try at the service desk in the shopping mall.

"Anyone who picked up the glove would leave it at the service center," he told me.

I hurried to the center, hoping my glove had been found by some kind soul.

When I reached the bottom of the elevator, I saw my glove lying on the desk of the service center.

I got it back, but I don't know who handed it to the center.

Both cases showed the kindheartedness of the Kazakhstan people, which cannot occur without a good education.

During the speech by Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev ahead the country's 21st Independence Day, my suspicions were confirmed that the nation has attached great importance to education.

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