Tuesday, October 23, 2012

October 23, 2012

Since I was back at the dining room table typing away while one of the couch surfers slept in the spare bedroom, I had a chance to enjoy the view of the mountains from my kitchen window for a couple of hours before heading to Lingua.

I had remembered to place in my bag the two packages of Reese’s peanut butter cups for Brian Itoh, the Korean born, Japanese-adopted Peace Corps volunteer that had worked with Sally this past year. I was working away on the newsletter, and having a tough time trying to crop pictures and make the text flow from one column to another, when I asked Brian if he knew of a volunteer who was really good at computers and he did have a name. Luckily for me, this volunteer is posted in the city and his name is Judson. Brian is a health volunteer who is facing a similar situation to the one I had in Nepal in the fact that his counterpart is not really interested in co-teaching about health thus kind of forcing him into devoting his time to teaching English, for which he hasn’t had any formal training. I offered to come and observe his lesson, co-teach if need be, and supply materials he might find interesting. It was a very positive meeting and he was so pleased with the candy.

Jennifer, my RELO in Astana, called me while I was Lingua to introduce herself on the telephone and go over some of the changes she’d like to see implemented in the document Anna and I are crafting for the CATEC 2013. She very pleased to hear how happy I was to be posted here and how caring everyone at the Lingua School had been.

I bought two samsis for lunch and ate them while talking to Brian. I devoted some time to the newsletter and then made  my way to Sierra Coffee where Natalia had invited to have a chat outside of the embassy or other offices. I got off at the wrong stop and had to walk a bit before getting there and in the process overheard a young woman speaking with a recognizable accent even though she was certainly Asian. It then dawned on me that she sounded Filipino and I stopped and asked her about it. Cristina was delighted to make my acquaintance and told me she’s been living here for five years. She was accompanied by a bevy of young Filipino women and, of  course, was also heading to Sierra Coffee. There, we exchange numbers and she promised to call me next time she cooked adobo.

Natalia arrived on time and we ordered coffee and pumpkin pie covered with walnuts. The coffee shop is quite spacious and has an outdoor sitting  terrace already occupied with plenty of American or European-looking people. Except for Cristina and her group, everyone else there was Caucasian, not including the employees. Natalia and I discussed the future of the Forum organization and the fact that most of the women involved in it had little time to carry out the tasks assigned to them. I suggested that Forum try to recruit women who were new to the profession, preferably single and without children, who would have more time to devote to it.

Natalia also informed me she was looking into getting a grant to allow me to travel to the south of the country come spring and asked me I wanted to have Elvira as a companion as she knew that part of the country really well. I agreed wholeheartedly since I find Elvira very calming nature to counterbalance my high octane one, so we should get along just fine. I just don’t know about her ability to get away from her job and family for an extended period of time. We’ll have to wait and see. I pilfered an Oprah magazine from the rack while having my second cup of coffee.

I got to enjoy the flat to myself for a couple of hours before the couch surfers showed up carrying various provisions they had purchased at the Osh Bazaar. I heated up the leftover soup for myself and asked if they had had dinner already and the answer was no, they were planning on cooking rice with tomatoes and onions. Michele did the cooking while Simone skyped with family back home in Italy using their Notebook. I was skeptical about the meal, but found they just cooked the rice in a soupy mixture and tomatoes and onions for color and flavor. They didn’t offer me any and that was just as well for it didn’t look the least bit appealing. They had bought lots of dried fruit and I did accept a couple of dates as dessert.
I retired to my room after finishing my new PowerPoint presentation on pragmatics and the role playing cards I plan to give to the teachers to demonstrate the appropriate response to different speech acts. I read the magazine for a while and then went to sleep.

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