Alexander Fufaev
My name is Alexander FufaeV and here I write about:

1992-1999: Childhood in Uzbekistan

Before My Birth

The 80s. Dima, now a slim young man standing at one meter ninety with short, curly, black hair, was the son of Galina Margunova and Georgi Fufaev. He studied English literature in Samarkand and was not only fascinated by the English language but also harbored a special enthusiasm for New Zealand, where he one day hoped to emigrate.

On a sunny September day, while Dima was on his way home from the university, a young woman in a silver dress caught his attention. Inconspicuously, he followed her to find out where she came from. He managed to catch a fleeting glimpse of her pretty face, partially obscured by her dark hair fluttering in the wind. When she finally entered a house not far from his own apartment, joy overcame him. Almost incidentally, Dima inspected the signs on the entrance door and discovered her name: Oxana Hatschik. She was the daughter of Lina Nazarenko and Yuri Hatschik.

At that time, Oxana lived with an older woman who was already frail and dependent on the help of others. She took care of her. The apartment they shared was quite small, but Oxana didn't mind because her priority was to study German literature at the university – and this apartment was close to the university. She even undertook the journey of eighty kilometers to Kattaqorgon to visit her parents Lina and Yura, as well as her two years younger brother Sasha.

Dima and Oxana Meet Again

On the first day of the second semester, Oxana received an invitation to a student party. At first, she hesitated to go because she hardly had time due to her university assignments. However, her friend, who also studied German literature, eventually convinced her to at least make a brief appearance.

Dima was also present at this party. He was extremely surprised when he recognized the young woman whom he had recently encountered in the park and who had fascinated him so much. Dima was not exactly shy, but initially, he found it difficult to approach the beautiful woman whom he unexpectedly saw again at this party. After drinking some wine to gather some courage, he finally decided to ask Oxana to dance. This dance was to last for ten years.

Alexander Fufaev as a child

The 90s. Early in the morning, clouds gathered over Samarkand, darkening the rising sun. The streets were quiet. The wind whistled through the city, causing the leaves of the trees to rustle. Thunder rumbled in the distance. The window was open. Oxana lay in the bed of Maternity Hospital No. 2, listening to the raindrops falling on the windowsill. A sudden pain in her abdomen made her scream. The thunderstorm grew stronger. The individual raindrops turned into a continuous roar. The door of the hospital room was thrown open, and the resulting draft slammed the rattling window shut. The nurses were now there, and the birth began. That was June 20, 1992. On that day, I, Alexander Fufaev, the son of Dima and Oxana, saw the light of the world for the first time.

Shortly after my birth, my maternal grandparents, Grandma Lina and Grandpa Yura, as well as their son Sasha, my uncle, moved to Russia and built a house there in the small village of Kharkovskiy, Oblast Rostov. My parents and paternal grandparents stayed in Uzbekistan with me. My parents and I lived in our own house. Directly opposite lived my grandparents – Gogi and my favorite grandma Galja, who cooked us the most delicious Russian and Uzbek dishes – with Pelmeni, Mantí, Plov, and especially with the Samsá made according to her secret recipe. Even a simple fried egg tasted like a feast with Galja.

But Galja was not only a good cook but also a cheerful grandmother. She liked to joke around with me and laughed at every opportunity. She had a birthmark on one half of her face, short blonde curls, and a laugh so loud that everyone around her went deaf.

My grandfather Gogi was a grandpa with a big belly, mostly due to his passionate consumption of beer. When I was little, I could never pronounce his real name, Georgi, properly, so I simply called him Gogi. From then on, everyone called him Gogi – even the neighbors.

When I got into trouble with my parents, for example, if I ran around the house with dirty shoes, I quickly ran to the neighboring house to escape my mother's yelling or Dima's ear pulling. As soon as I stepped through my grandparents' front door, I was greeted by various food smells, mixed with the faint smell of cigarettes that Gogi smoked in the kitchen.

Gogi's Dacha

In the summer, we sometimes went to Gogi's dacha – along huge blue mountains that stretched far into the distance over the entire landscape. At the dacha, I splashed around in a swimming pool, climbed the cherry trees, and nibbled on the grapes growing on the house.

On one of those hot days, bearable only in the shade, I relaxed in Gogi's car. In the shady driver's seat, I ate grapes from a large bowl that Gogi had handed to me. Meanwhile, Galja sang something to me from the back seat.

“Galja, let me drive!” I decided after a while and turned the ignition key.

Galja screamed as the car landed in a pit about half a meter away and came to a halt. I glanced around briefly and saw all the grapes scattered in the car. With Galja, I got out of the car. Gogi and Dima had heard the scream and hurried over to us. Together with my father, Gogi managed to maneuver the car out of the pit. For such behavior, my father would have literally pulled my ears. Fortunately, I was lucky that Gogi and Galja were present as he behaved differently in their presence. Thanks to Galja, we took the incident with humor.

My Sister Dasha

1997. Shortly before my fifth birthday, my mom, exactly on Nowruz, gave birth to a second child. It was a girl, whom my parents named Daria, but we all called her Dasha. While my mother was fully occupied with my little sister, Dima worked at customs, and I played Battletoads on my console, Dendy, which I got for my fifth birthday. When I wasn't busy with my console, I played with the only neighbor child Ruslan, who was a few years older than me, in our shared courtyard.

I could only speak Russian. He, on the other hand, mastered both Russian and Uzbek. That was good because that way, I could communicate with him. We liked to swing on a swing built by Gogi right in front of the kitchen window, through which I could watch my mom, with Dasha on her hip and a wooden spoon in her hand, and show her tricks. When Dima turned up the volume of his stereo in the living room, we quickly ran into the house and danced around.

The dealer

Once I got a colorful ball from Ruslan to play with, but I sold it to a pedestrian who had a crying child with her. When Ruslan found out, he told my parents, who then bought him a new ball. I later saw my customer playing with the ball in kindergarten.

The kindergarten

I had a strong aversion to kindergarten. There was no choice of lunch and it was usually some kind of soup with Ebly, which made me sick to my stomach. We were forced to sleep at lunchtime, which I also loathed. How on earth were we supposed to sleep when we had spent the whole time running around the playground full of energy?

One day while playing, I suddenly felt the urgent need to pee. In a hurry, I ran to the toilet in the building. Surprisingly, a child with whom I had previously been rocking on the seesaw even followed me into the toilet cubicle.

I took out my little boy and started to pee. He immediately imitated me and laughed.

"Have a go," I said to the boy and pointed my bum in his direction.

"Okay," he replied, got down on his knees and gave my little boy a kiss.

"That tickles," I giggled and quickly pulled up my pants.

Then we ran out again to continue playing.

The earthquakes

We sometimes had earthquakes in the area that caused the whole house to shake. It was common in Uzbekistan and yet it always gave me an oppressive feeling when the floor shook under my feet and the cups and lampshade rattled loudly. Sometimes a glass would fall over in the cupboard, roll down to the floor and break. Then I would always run to my mom and cling to her.

The Baskerville

When I was a guest with Galja and Gogi at a family's house that I didn't know, a young woman wanted to show me something when she realized I was bored.

“Come with me! I'll show you the Baskerville,” she said to me and led me through a huge gate. About a hundred meters away from us stood a rather large dog. At first glance, I thought he was in a closed cage because I thought I saw bars in front of him. But I was mistaken because Baskerville ran towards me unbridled, jumped on me, and knocked me to the ground. When I touched my head, blood stuck to my hands. As I stared at my dark red fingertips in fear, someone took me from behind, carried me to a tap, and rinsed the blood off my head there. Then I was driven to the doctor, who gave me a long injection into my stomach. Baskerville's claw left a small scar on the front of my head. Since then, I've been afraid of big dogs, which haunted me into adulthood.

Fear of the Unknown

1999. As my seventh birthday approached, my parents wanted to fulfill their dream and emigrate to New Zealand. But when the opportunity arose, they chose a different path.

Future Learning from My Childhood in Uzbekistan: Traumatic events and the associated fears that arose in childhood have persisted into adulthood for me. It helped me to identify the original event (e.g., the Baskerville incident) for a fear to tame it.