About the Cart

While on a research trip to Mongolia, my friend and I got addicted to savory little dumplings called manty. We joked that we’d start a dumpling stand, and started making dumplings from around the world… but then we realized that running a food cart is a lot of work. I’ve dropped the poor career idea, but kept the name. And instead of cooking up sweet little dumplings, this blog gathers stories and ideas that I hope are just as interesting.

dumpling cafe by ht, on Flickr

About the Author

My name is Celia. I work as a librarian at a university, and read, research, and write on the side. I have an MA in anthropology and MLIS in libraries, and worked internationally in Kazakhstan for three years.

Many readers come here looking for information on Kazakhstan. If that’s you, leave a comment with your email, and I’m happy to answer your questions about Astana and Almaty, or about working for schools and universities in Central Asia!

Other websites I run or edit: 

I also collect artwork showing curvy women in a positive manner at Shapely Women, promote tips and tools for new data librarians at Databrarians and share anthropological ideas with a general audience at PopAnth.

I’ve had web articles published with:

  • Sociological Images: The rhetoric of luck among the 99 percent (link)
  • Matador Network: How to catch a street taxi in Astana, Kazakhstan (link)
  • PopAnth: Would you sort knowledge with the Dewey decimal system? (link), The internet for Her: Amazon reviews as comedic genre (link)
  • Savage Minds: Posts on securing, sharing, and archiving ethnographic field data (link)

Find many more academic articles here, and slide presentations here.


This is a personal blog and doesn’t represent any other people or organizations. Like all humans, I change and have lots of different ideas and voices. If I wrote a post ten years ago, that’s not a current statement; instead, it’s a valuable reminder of how we all change over time!


  1. Thanks for turning this blog public. Reading on my phone and don’t see a place to subscribe. Will you offer that? I too found Kazakh names fascinating and write about it in my book.

    • Thanks for the comment! Google reader should track the RSS feed if you simply put the URL in, and there should be an “email me new posts” sidebar, although perhaps that’s invisible on a phone. I’d love to read what you’ve written about Kazakh names!

  2. I love reading all your stories. They take me to so many places I have never been. Thank you.

  3. I’m so glad I found your website. I was searching for information on working as a librarian abroad (seems like I got a lot of hits for librarians in Kazakhstan!). I am working on an MLIS/MEd Instructional Tech with my specialization in academic libraries. It seems like many librarians jobs abroad are sponsored by schools who want you to have your school media licensure, which I do not have. I would love to hear about your experience you gained before going abroad (anything, lay it on me), and how you found your job, etc. Many thanks and love!!

  4. Susannah, I’m so glad this is useful. I know at least ten westerners who have cycled through libraries in Kazakhstan and I think it’s been a great experience for most of us. I’ll try to get a blog post going about how I went abroad and found my job… and send it to you soon!

  5. Hello, Celia
    I accidentally came across the website and find your posts very interesting. Being a kazakh citizen, it was nice to know your view of our country, customs and people. The post about how to catch a taxi in Astana is absolutely true:) By the way, you don’t live in Astana anymore, do you?

  6. Hi Yeldos,
    It’s good to hear from you! I don’t live in Astana at the moment… California instead, but would love to return. Have you been to the expo?

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