I am 20 years old. Because I went to school at an unusually early age, most of my schoolmates are now 21 or 22.
In my motherland, Uzbekistan, it is “inappropriate” not to be married after the age of 25. If you are still not married when you are 24, when you see someone in the street, the first thing they ask is “Qachon endi?!”, which means “When will you eventually get married?“. On one hand, it can be incredibly pleasant to be asked that question. On the other hand, sometimes it is really irritating.
Sabine, a nice german lady who lived in Uzbekistan for 6 years straight, could never make sense of this peculiar culture when one of the guys (at our regular German Speaking Club events at Goethe Institut) claimed confidently “I plan to get married when I am 23”. Sabine was always confused: “How can you PLAN to get married? You are not even in a relationship with anyone!”.
Several month ago, one of my close friends in Tashkent messaged me saying “O’rto, uylantiramiz diyishvotti”, which means “Dude, they are saying they will marry me soon”. Yesterday, another true friend of mine, who is studying in Malaysia, told me that he is going back to Uzbekistan for a couple of months, justifying his trip by saying “To’y boshlab quyishibdi!!!”, which means “They started my wedding!!!”.
I don’t know whether I should laugh or cry. Chances are, one day my beloved grandma will state at a family dinner “Abdullani uylantiramiz!”, which means “We are going to marry Abdullah”.
Don’t get me wrong, though. I am proud to be Uzbek. I love Uzbek culture entirely. But no culture is perfect, isn’t it?