Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October 31, 2012

Anna had emailed me last night to postpone our meeting until eleven o’clock, and that was just fine with me as it gave me more time to work at home. I dropped some photos to be laminated on the way to Lingua and thankfully found the computer room completely empty. Anna and I sat down once again to make numerous corrections, additions and deletions to the letter of invitation and announcement for the CATEC conference and we made sure to save the document to both our flash drives and email addresses just in case. I sent the document to my RELO immediately
Elvira had come in in the meantime and we got to playing with a new program, the one recommended by the PCV Judson, to see if we could create a template for the Forum newsletter alongside a mailing list. Just to sign up for the site was a nightmare and then we couldn’t even find the templates. I gave up in exasperation and called Judson to ask him to give us a couple of hours of his time to walk us through the site. He promised to meet with me on Friday afternoon. We then tried getting the Forum FB page to add other sites, but were unsuccessful as we can’t get the feed from those pages to show up on theirs. Elvira promised to check with some IT people at her university for a solution.

Idina informed us that there was cake in the teachers’ lounge to welcome Zarina back into the office and they wanted for me to take some photos. I had brought some leftovers from the Chinese restaurant and had lunch by myself later on along with two pieces of cake, and coffee. Zarina told me had been very happy with the photos she had just seen on my FB page and that she hadn’t had a chance to see the ones taken by the professional photographer.

Zamira then called to say she had hired a van to transport a group of teachers from Kazakhstan to attend the webinar session that evening at her school and wanted to have me present to meet them. I wasn’t too thrilled about this offer for it would entail leaving my flat again to be there at six. I told her I’d think about it and get back to her, but when I mentioned it to Zarina she told me the webinar had been postponed until next week due to hurricane Sandy. Zarima apparently had not been notified of the change.

I finished my presentation on motivating students, printed more cards to be laminated and went to the underpass to get them done. It was very warm, and somewhat humid, and I decided to walk home for I knew the minibuses would be crowded and airless at that time of the day.
A few minutes after I got home, Zamira called to ask me if she could come and pick me up then and I informed her about the webinar cancellation. She went into a panic and said the teachers were already on their way and could I please help her out by presenting anything. I was tired and in no mood to get dressed again and go out and told her so.

Zamira must have called Natalia at the embassy, and she called me immediately to beg me to help Zamira out this one time as it was not fair to the teachers coming from so far away to have nothing to learn this evening. I felt browbeaten, but agreed nonetheless saying I’d just present a few conversation activities as I had no time to prepare for anything else. She indicated they’d be grateful for whatever I could do.

I stood at the corner for more than twenty minutes waiting for Zamira while being showered by exhaust and driven half mad by the all the honking going on during rush hour traffic. She finally showed up with four teachers piled in the back seat and apologized profusely for her lateness. We drove to the school and I then noticed heavy smoke everywhere and found that people were burning the autumn leaves on their sidewalks while others were doing the same at a park nearby. I was alarmed at the idea of these fires getting out of hand and destroying entire neighborhoods, but the car’s occupants merely laughed and said that was the way they dealt with the accumulation of leaves at this time of the year.

We all piled into another tiny classroom with a long table at the center and I did what I could to pair the teachers up and offered some six different speaking activities and corresponding handouts to a very appreciative audience I have to admit. One late arrival, Dilnat, told me she owns another private language school here in Bishkek and would love to have me come and visit. I turned down Zarima’s offer to take me home since I knew she was tired and had her daughter with her again and instead accepted Dilnat’s offer to ride in her SUV. We exchanged numbers and she promised to invite me to different places in the city so she can practice her English.

I was plain exhausted when I got home and plenty hungry, too. I had some leftover pieces of flat bread with Nutella and a cup of milk before going to bed.

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