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Introduction – Uttam Gyawali

Helloooo.

Firstly, I didn’t know when we were supposed to post, so I guess I’ll be the first participant to do so.

So, hi, my name is Uttam Gyawali (ooo-tom gya-wall-e), and I am so so so excited for this program. I haven’t travelled outside of the US in 14 years, and I wanted to explore Central Asia. My fascination with Central Asia, in particular, goes back to my “identity crisis”, you could say, when I wanted to know more about my family’s origins. I am South Asian, but my ancestry is not only tied to the natives of the subcontinent, but also the Indo-Europeans and the Iranian Central Asians from the Steppe. In addition, I wanted to be in this program because I have been following the unrest in Xinjiang, regarding the Uyghurs and their minority status in China. Also, I am a big lover of history and the Silk Road, in particular, piques my interest because it was a period in time where the world was tied together economically, leading to the sharing of ideas, goods and cultures. Learning on site, makes the history a lot more tangible for me and I am so excited for those opportunities to learn about the history and present situation in Xinjiang and beyond.

Anyways, I don’t really like taking pictures, hence I couldn’t find one with just me in it. Here’s me, my siblings and their kids. If you didn’t notice, I have a twin and I am the one in the center of the picture, my twin being the one on the far right. This is basically my first snow, because I live in Texas and this picture was taken in New Mexico.

Thanks y’all, and I look forward to learning more about and meeting y’all.