Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October 9, 2012

It was another chilly morning as I set out for the dentist office, which turned out to be right in my neighborhood. Since it’s almost impossible to see the building numbers when riding in the marshrutka, and I had a notion of where the office might be, I decided to give myself enough time and just walk there. I must have been the only patient scheduled at 9:00am for without even bothering to complete any forms as a new patient, I was given a pair of plastic footsies to slip over my Tevas and was escorted into the examining room. The chair and tray looked ancient with rust stain everywhere, but there was a small flat screen TV set facing me.

A middle age woman attired in a white coat greeted me in English and immediately set out to examine my teeth using an instrument that looked like a wand but which was able to project images into the TV screen for me to see. I was simply wowed as I had never seen this technology in any of the dentist offices I had visited in the United States. I confessed to Olga, the dentist in this case, that I hadn’t had a cleaning in a little over a year and supposed my teeth looked really bad. She chuckled and said I didn’t know what bad looked like.

I pleaded to have a cleaning done by hand as I really detest the ultrasound machine used for that purpose, but Olga insisted it was worse for the state of my gums to do so and to give her a chance to use anesthesia and do the cleaning properly. With a dubious look on my face, I told her to proceed not before warning her that every cleaning I had ever done had been painful in some way due to my extreme sensitivity. She injected me without even using a topical anesthetic first, but I have to admit she was gentle and careful and gave me the most pleasant cleaning I have ever had in my entire life. I paid 2,300 som or around $49.00. It was well worth it. She didn’t think I need to have quarterly cleanings as the dentist in Florida had insisted, but wants to see me in four months just in case.

On the way home, I stopped at the bread bakery and waited about ten minutes to get piping hot freshly baked flat bread to take home. It was really a shame my mouth was completely numb for otherwise I’d have torn the bread to pieces right then and there. I got a phone call from Nargiza when I go home indicating she was ready to take me to the second hand shops around the Osh Bazaar. I invited her to join me for soup and flat bread at my place before heading there and she agreed. I met her at the bus stop and then showed her the flat. She was most impressed with the quality of the finishes in the unit and even the furnishings.

We had to walk a bit before she actually located one of the second hand shops. It was a dark, cramped place with very little selection of clothes and nothing for the house. She asked around and we were directed to another shop and there I found plenty of jackets for really cold weather and a variety of sweaters. The jackets were either too big or too small for me, so I settled for buying a couple of sweater for about five dollars apiece. The owner indicated she’ll be getting new merchandise in about two weeks, so I’ll return then to see if a jacket can be found.

We returned to the produce section of the bazaar and Nargiza directed me to the Korean salad section I had missed during my last visit. I was able to find fish and tripe both sold with some kind of pickled vegetables along with seaweed. I was also able to get caraway seeds for eventually baking my favorite Irish soda bread recipe. I even got some flowers for my vase, but I was told not to buy stems in even numbers, I had asked for four, as that brings bad luck. I had Nargiza tell the vendor I wasn’t superstitious and to sell me exactly four.
Nargiza said goodbye to stay with her mother who owns stall at the bazaar where one could buy things for the hair. I went home to wait for Nurkyz who’d coming by to give me my first lesson in Russian. She arrived on time and prepared with a textbook, photocopied many times over, and an old dictionary. No flashcards, color photographs, CDs to listen to or any other realia. I showed her that I had tried to learn the Cyrillic alphabet over the summer with little success as I still got some of the letters confused.

For the next hour and half, she put me through drill after drill so I could remember the pronouns, how to introduce myself, talk about my job and family and also to describe the objects around me. It would have been a lot easier if I’d had pictures to go along with the words she was saying, but be that as it may, I think I learned a bit today. I now have four pages of homework due for Thursday and an agreement to pay her 200 som or $4.35 per one hour lesson. And best of all, she’ll be coming to my house three days a week. That’s the best bargain I can think of. I’m really exhausted now and need to go to bed.

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