The highly esteemed leader of Kazakhstan is in Almaty this weekend celebrating May Day. I know that because the usual four guards are staked out at the two entrances on Furmanova Ave. Astana’s capital building was the backdrop at one of the festivities that were all around the city of Almaty, the former capital. People were roaming everywhere with loudspeakers blaring music and throbbing beat of drums. Flowers, sun, smiling faces all were a part of yesterday’s event. Meanwhile, I sat in my office with headphones on listening to my own music as I worked on my students grades for the semester. I’ve been told that May 9th is an even BIGGER celebration, it is Victory Day. I’ll feel a major victory if I can get all this work done so I can actually relax a bit after this chaotic semester. It’s been a good one but I’m ready for a quiet celebration!