Wednesday, October 17, 2012

October 16, 2012

I had convinced Bazilat to postpone her class observation until next Wednesday in the afternoon so I wouldn’t have to be at her university at the ungodly hour of 8:00am. That gave me a chance to have another leisure morning in my flat until it was time to head out to Lingua where I’d be meeting with Elvira to discuss the Forum newsletter and FB page.

We gathered in the room computer room with fabulous 19-inch screen monitor and looked at what I’d been able to put together for the newsletter. Elvira had never seen a single issue of the previous ones and had no idea what they looked like. As for the Facebook page, although it had been opened in January of this year, only a few posts were there and a pathetic appeal for people to “like” their page. Elvira didn’t know the user Id or password and called Gulnara for that information, but she didn’t have it either. She promised to send an SMS message that same evening granting us access to the page so changes could be made.

Zarina ordered samsis for both of us and we shared our lunch while chatting about our respective lives. She was surprised that I was getting around via the minibus system and all by myself as she relayed that Demetria, a previous ELF from Mississippi, would not ride them upon recommendation from the embassy and was extremely fearful of going anywhere on her own. I gave her my background of having been in the Peace Corps and the Tajikistan assignment. She offered to take me to the Dordoi bazaar to look for winter boots as snow had been forecast for this Friday.

Made my way to the Tsum department store to add money to my cell phone and buy some postcards on the fifth floor. I encountered a lot of apparently bored store clerks leaning on counters and playing games on their cell phones as customers were hard to come by. Found one store with several mannequins outside sporting traditional Kyrgyz outfits I've never seen anyone wearing around the city. Postcards were somewhat expensive at about 80 cents each.

I worked on the documents for the CATEC conference and then decided to walk home while taking photos as the kind of Indian summer we were having was bound to be finished by the weekend. It struck me while taking said photos that most of the advertising displayed on bus shelters, buildings and sidewalks had images of Caucasian people in it although the percentage of people of Russian or German descent here is less than 10% of the population.

Self-hatred must be quite abundant around here. I had a glimpse of that just by watching young women pay lots of money to get their hair curled for an important event and then running home to find a way to preserve the style along with the elaborate eye makeup intended to minimize the slant of their eyes.
It was a most pleasant walk as I poked around buildings and courtyards and aimed my camera at building plaques and odd sidewalk tiles. I stopped at the Narodi supermarket and bought salad ingredients to make one for the office at Lingua tomorrow.

I had dinner and waited for my Russian teacher, who must have changed her mind about teaching me, to show up and when she didn’t, sat at my computer to put the finishing touches on my vocabulary presentation for Thursday. 

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