Wednesday, September 26, 2012

September 26, 2012

Did I mention that I have fairly good view of the Tian-Shan Mountains from my kitchen? I was delighted to see them come into view as the sun rose in the east. I wish then I had a good cup of coffee to sip while looking at them adoringly, but in fact all I had was an envelope of instant coffee already mixed in with powdered milk and sugar that the landlady had left behind.

                            A view of the Tian-Shan Mountains in the late afternoon.

I decided to have a productive morning by unpacking my bags before the Internet guys came in at 11:00am so they wouldn’t trip over the suitcases still blocking most of the foyer. I also made an attempt to organize the few kitchen cabinets I have so I could properly display all the seasonings I’ve brought with me, but had little luck as there isn’t enough room in the four little cubbyholes to hold much. I found some opened packages left behind including salt, noodles, sugar, something I could not identify and a small bottle of white vinegar along with some baking soda I promptly placed in the fridge to keep it free of odors.

I was foolish enough, for the second time, to plug the extension cord I’ve brought from home into the currency converter and apparently tripped the electric switch with the result that the power went out completely. When the Internet guys showed up, there was no electricity to work with and they promised to come back tomorrow. I felt pretty silly after that.

I had to meet with Natalia at the American Corner and she had offered to pick me up at 12:15pm, at just about the same time that the landlady’s husband showed up with the cooktop burners, supposedly repaired, to install them. I apologized to him and agreed to call him through Zarina to let him know when I was back in the apartment. The American Corner operates out of a really old building previously built as a children’s library and where we met Gulnara, from the Forum organization that represents all English teachers in Kyrgyzstan. She had very ambitious plans for making use of my time almost to the exclusion of the Lingua School and other projects the embassy has already assigned to me. Natalia was firm in reminding her that I was to help out, but not carry the majority of the work on my shoulders. She seemed put off by the rebuke, but agreed to have me every other Saturday for two hours followed by a working lunch to discuss the design of the Facebook page and newsletter and conference planning for next year.

The public had paid homage to this famous dancer the day before, but Natalia didn't know his name.

I walked to Lingua from there and met with the other Gulnara to outline my obligations there, but she appeared quite vague even though I was pressing her for a specific numbers of hours and days so I could finalize my schedule and decide when I could sign up for my Russian language lessons. It appears as if I’ll be doing a lot of observation and giving feedback to the newer teachers at the school while also collaborating with the more experience trainers who are just starting a new course of ESP/EAP for which they haven’t had much exposure to. Gulnara walked me to the restaurant next door where I could order a lagman plate, as I was starving by then, and I was able to enjoy a relatively tasty meal while reflecting on the fact that I had only eaten noodles for my last three meals. It cost 120.00 som or about three dollars.

I managed to catch the minibus back to my place, but got off at the wrong bus stop and only realized after I had walked three longs block and couldn’t recognize any of the buildings. I retraced my steps and I was glad the weather was so cool and pleasant while sun shone a bit weakly. I placed a call to Zarina so she could tell the landlord I was back in and took a quick nap before he arrived. He busied himself replacing missing light bulbs and the cooktop, I couldn’t see much difference between the way they look yesterday and today, but I had nothing to cook to try them at that point.

Ceci, whom I had met in Dushanbe, had given me a list of her former contacts in this area and one of them replied. I noticed that his wife wrote a blog and that they happened to be the same couple I had seen on an episode of “House Hunters International” searching for an apartment in the city. Her blog led me to four other English teachers or Fulbright scholars who had also written blogs while living here only to find that most of them related only their parties, events they attended or trips out of town, but not much about the local education system or how their classes fared. I wonder if the language institute have them signed an affidavit not to do so.

I have a pounding headache now and it’s too late to make myself a pot of coffee. I’ll have a bite to eat and call it a night.

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