Drinking Camel's Milk from the Yurt: Expat Stories from Kazakhstan

By Monica Neboli

Biography & memoir, Travel | Paperback, eBook


The Republic of Kazakhstan emerged from the former USSR as an independent nation in 1991. It is one of the largest countries in the world and Astana, its capital, is one of the youngest (and coldest) capital cities. In this anthology of expatriate experiences in Kazakhstan, 24 authors from 11 countries show us this Central Asian country as they know it. In Drinking Camel’s Milk in the Yurt, we travel to the country’s bustling, multicultural cities, to its rural homesteads steeped in rich traditions, and to the Kazakh Steppe, the vast open plain that has for centuries been home to a nomadic way of life. During the journey, we come to understand the importance of the yurt, or nomad’s tent, we are privy to a powerful reflection on Soviet-era labour camps, and we witness the build-up to a traditional Kazakh wedding. In a variety of cross-cultural exchanges – some bewildering, some funny – we meet locals, try new cuisines, discover the work of a talented local artist, join one man’s quest for a unique piece of Kazakh furniture for his wife, and explore the steppe as it deserves to be explored – on horseback. More importantly, we are introduced to the warmth of Kazakh hospitality and we learn it is possible to survive the extreme temperatures of a Kazakh winter.


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The Republic of Kazakhstan emerged from the former USSR as an independent nation in 1991. It is one of the largest countries in the world and Astana, its capital, is one of the youngest (and coldest) capital cities. In this anthology of expatriate experiences in Kazakhstan, 24 authors from 11 countries show us this Central Asian country as they know it. In Drinking Camel’s Milk in the Yurt, we travel to the country’s bustling, multicultural cities, to its rural homesteads steeped in rich traditions, and to the Kazakh Steppe, the vast open plain that has for centuries been home to a nomadic way of life. During the journey, we come to understand the importance of the yurt, or nomad’s tent, we are privy to a powerful reflection on Soviet-era labour camps, and we witness the build-up to a trad...


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Monica Neboli has always been fascinated by other cultures. Before getting married, she backpacked all over the world. She then lived abroad with her husband and two daughters from 2006 until 2011, when she returned to her home country. During those five years abroad, she lived in Egypt and Kazakhstan, working as a coach to expat families, assisting them in adjusting harmoniously to their host country. While in Egypt, she wrote a booklet, ‘Benvenuti al Cairo’ [‘Welcome to Cairo’], for expat families arriving in Cairo, in collaboration with GIE (Gruppo Italiani in Egitto: a group for Italians in Egypt) and the Italian Embassy. While in Kazakhstan she ran a seminar called ‘Fundamentals of living in Kazakhstan’ to enable the expat community to learn more about the culture and history of their host country. Monica and her family enjoyed experiencing the many different cultures and peoples of Kazakhstan and it was this that inspired her to compile a book of expat experiences in Kazakhstan. She has two daughters, Eleonora and Agata, who are happily growing up as citizens of the world. Monica currently works in the corporate university of an oil company in Italy.


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Monica Neboli has always been fascinated by other cultures. Before getting married, she backpacked all over the world. She then lived abroad with her husband and two daughters from 2006 until 2011, when she returned to her home country. During those five years abroad, she lived in Egypt and Kazakhstan, working as a coach to expat families, assisting them in adjusting harmoniously to their host cou...


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