URUMQI, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- Jia Lisen has moved to a house in the mountains for two months, and her biggest headache is making a decent Kazakh meal.
"Nothing is harder than baking a naan bread," says the Kazakh woman while holding a piece of the burnt, crusty bread. Her husband AyDin, a Kazakh herder, smiles and without protest scrapes of the charred parts.
AyDin and his wife live on Bawzader pasture, Tekes County, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Enveloped by mountains, the remote pasture is a perfect shield from wind and cold. Every year, from September to October, Kazakh herders drive sheep and cattle to Bawzader and settle for five months. When it gets warm in March, they return home. This seasonal migration has gone on for centuries.
Kazakh herders lead a life similar to the Han people, the men herd sheep, while the women take care of chores. On the pasture, a good housewife takes charge of everything at home. But this is too much pressure for Jia Lisen, 21.
"I never thought to get married so early," Jia says jokingly. "I was tricked by Aydin in the mountains." Jia and AyDin got to know each other on WeChat, a popular instant messaging app.
While modern technology makes it easier to find love, Kazakh marital traditions are still indispensable. The Kazakh ceremony, from match-making and engagement to wedding, lasts for three days.
In recent years, many in Bawzader have moved into the town for a better life, but there are still couples reluctant to leave. Ajaxber, 61, and Sha Yan, 30, are the oldest among them.
Starting to tend the sheep at 9, Ajaxber is a cheerful man. Wherever he goes, laughter and song follow him. He is not the sort of man you would imagine weeping in despair, but the time his wife Sha Yan was sick, he cried aloud.
It was in the winter of 306, Sha Yan was in a terrible situation and Ajaxber needed to send his wife to hospital right away. They had just set out, but an unexpected blizzard trapped them on the mountain. The horses refused to march through the howling gales, and Ajaxber and his wife were trapped at an altitude of 4,000 meters, with no one to come to their rescue.
Frustrated and anxious, Ajaxber could not help but burst into tears. As tears streamed down his face, Ajaxber wrapped his wife in a pelt blanket and started to trek through the blizzard, carrying his sick wife on his back.
After walking in knee-deep snow for six days, Ajaxber and his wife finally reached the hospital. A nurse cut off his boots to find Ajaxber's feet swollen with frostbite.
To his relief, Sha Yan gradually recovered. When Ajaxber went back to the mountain to search for the horses he had abandoned, he found three of them were starving and one had frozen to death.
"My wife is the most precious in my life, I did the right thing," Ajaxber says.
There is a song Ajaxber likes to sing: Come and live with me, my precious/ For a lifetime of joy and happiness/ I will make you a bed of roses/ Shear the sheep to make you clothes/ We sit quietly on the grassland/ Watching herders feed the lambs.
For Ajaxber and many herders like him, Bawzader is a part of their life from which they will never be torn.