TRAVEL TALES Well, deep in my heart, I did not even know why I had chosen Kazakhstan, perhaps it was because I was unfamiliar with this place. Before his departure, he gave me some words of advice which I still remember till today: “BE OPEN TO NEW EXPERIENCES.” A stranger’s encouragement has become the motto that I live by every single day since then. During the very first month, everything seemed so exciting and new to me. I was really impressed by their architectural style, the spacious environment which I had never experienced back in Hong Kong and the gorgeous urban planning. I felt like a frog in a well, and this place is really fascinating for this ‘frog’. Later on, when this frog had to settle down, many difficulties arose. Because of the language barrier and self-protective mentality, he could not even order the food he wanted, not to mention finding a flat by himself. He always needed to rely on his colleagues, on his  IT Magazine / Occtober Issue friends, he felt like a ‘useless’ person here. People even took advantage of him, asking him to pay extra, kicking him out of the bus. With all these ‘humiliations’, this frog believed this might be a period which could not be avoided. He then reached out to take Russian classes, at least learning basic vocabulary and expressions in order to know what to order or at least not to be tricked by others. The more he learned and experienced, the better he opened up and saw this place for what it truly was. Witnessing how people with different skin colours, religions lived together in a harmonious environment, experiencing the way vendors sold their fruits, or being treated by a stranger for lunch, these are all the good memories that the frog had. Living in a completely new environment, everything and everyday could be a challenge for the frog. At work, he was assigned to the 29