Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy (Belated) Women's Day to you all!

The holidays just keep coming here in Kyrgyzstan. From mid-February until mid-March we've only had (or will only have had) one full work week. That's right. Lots of four day weeks for us over on this side of the globe. First we had President's Day. Then Homeland Protector's Day (which doubles for Men's Day). Last weekend, March 8, was Women's Day. And March 23 is Nowruz.

So Women's Day. This is an actual holiday here. The kind where you celebrate at work and also, get a day off of work. I have to admit, I'm quite impressed. It's a big deal. Not quite New Year's Eve/Day big, but pretty big. We nominally have Women's Day in America (March 8th is technically International Women's Day), and I think March is Women's History month, but apart from Facebook meme and posts, it's not really a thing that people seem to do anything to commemorate. Mr. ATK had mentioned that Women's Day was a real "thing" in Kyrgyzstan, (he, in fact, ranked it the fifth biggest holiday in Kyrgyzstan here) but I didn't fully understand just how "real" of a "thing" it was until work on Friday.

So Friday rolls around. As the last day of the work week, it is usually a happy day (as I'm sure you all know). So, I was sitting in my cubicle and a co-worker comes by and hands me a rose.

Me: What's this for?
Him: Women's Day.

The menfolk bought a rose for each woman in the section. And to top it off, the ambassador bought a rose for each woman in the embassy.  Very thoughtful.

Anyways, I ended up having the "What's this for?/What's going on?" conversation several times throughout the day. I kept thinking, "Oh, a rose. Oh nice. That must be it." But nope. One lady made earrings for all the women in our section, and then the guys took us out for lunch, then we got back and there were a couple cakes and lots of cookies. I mean, every section did their own thing, but our section's was pretty boss. And I have to say, it wasn't just the guys doing things for women. I'm pretty sure the cakes and stuff were from the boss, who is herself a woman. And the one lady made earrings for everyone.

As we were heading out to lunch (another situation where someone was like, "Come on, let's go!" And was like, "What's up? Where are we going?") I mentioned to one of my Kyrgyz coworkers that I did not realize Women's Day was such a big deal and she was like, "You don't have this in America?" Me: "No. Not really. I mean it exists, but you don't do anything or get any time off and if you asked people when Women's Day is, I think only 10% of Americans could tell you." She was like, "Really? That's funny because it is a holiday because of America. It started there." I was unaware of this, so I looked it up. Sure enough, the first National Women's Day was held on February 28, 1909 in New York in honor of the 1908 garment worker's strike.

So, I have to give "mad props" (the kids still say this, right?) to not only Kyrgyzstan, but the menfolk in the office who really went all out. On Men's Day (aka Homeland Protectors Day) we got cake and pizza for the guys and I remember asking one of my female Kyrgyz co-workers if we could expect something similar for Women's Day and she was like, "Oh, yes." And I thought, Well, I'll believe it when I see it, because, in my past experience, while guys in the office usually support these sorts of social activities (including monetarily), they rarely plan them. That usually falls on the women in the office, for whatever reason. Personally, I never minded planning things, but it's just something I've noticed over time. Anyways, mea culpa, guys.  Well done.

And though this is a week late, I wanted to end this post with this link to Buzzfeed's list of 12 Historical Women who gave No F**ks. (And if the title doesn't give it away, there is hilarious, but explicit, language in this list, so, you know, you might not want to check it out at work.)


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