When I was a Peace Corps volunteer back in early 1998, my students told me that Aqmola was now the astanasy (capital in the Kazakh language) for the Kazakhstan.
I said I already knew before they realized I did not understand what they just told me.
They reiterated, "Akmola's new name is now Astana!"
Then I understood, the new capital of Kazakhstan was now called "Capital"!
Oddly enough, despite the jokes, the name stuck. I grew to like the name Astana which was much better than Aqmola which meant White Grave in Kazakh. Since I am an airline buff, seeing Air Astana on the national carrier helped me get used to the name.
Yet I never visited the city even when I had a free round trip ticket to the city back in 2016. It turns out that was a good thing. To prepare for the 2017 World Expo in Astana, the government started developing more of the city. The changes I have seen online from 2016 to 2021 are amazing. It was to the point where I decided I wanted to spend a couple years in Nur-Sultan, the new name of Astana as of 2019.
Below are two of the videos that made me fall in love with Nur-Sultan:
The above video flies over the construction site for the Grand Mosque of Nur-Sultan in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. As the feature photo above will show, it is nearly complete. I am waiting for his updated drone video of this mosque when spring arrives in a couple months.
Below is another one of his videos.
Relocation to Nur-Sultan in 2022?
I was accepted into the startup accelerator for the Founder's Institute starting April, 2022. As of now, I am planning to register my startup in Nur-Sultan this year. Since the accelerator is virtual, I do not need to move to Nur-Sultan but I really would like to spend a couple more years in Kazakhstan before my final move to Japan.
It is not set in stone yet, though. I may end up in Japan first. Time will tell but I will keep this blog updated on any changes.