October 10, 2015 was a day of many first memories- My first day in Ürümqi, my first Uyghur friend, and my first time tasting Uyghur laghman, delicious hand-pulled noodles topped with with stir-fries of meat and vegetables.
My first local friend, Gulmire (name changed to protect her privacy) was a student at Xinjiang University. Even though we only met an hour before, she showered me with hospitality. We started with a stroll through her college campus. When Gulmire found out that I haven’t tried laghman before, she gasped with disbelief and told me: NO! that is NOT okay! …
October 2015. Turpan, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
Things slowed down at the hostel and we went to check out the fresh Uyghur naan stand across the street
I decided to use my Uyghur food ordering vocabulary that I had diligently practiced all afternoon. As I took a few deep breaths to calm my nerves, my Han Chinese colleague jumped in speaking Mandarin:
大叔， 你们几点关门？Sir, what time do you guys close?
The Uyghur man, who didn’t speak much Mandarin, seemed confused. So she started repeating (几点 ji dian). She didn’t mean it, but perhaps to the Uyghur men she sounded a…
Language lover, traveler, amateur chef, and storyteller. Connecting hearts through cultures and languages. | Stanford M.A. in Latin American Studies