Thursday, November 1, 2012

November 1, 2012

Had a productive morning to do the pile of dishing crowding the kitchen sink, had a sort of apple pie for breakfast, baked by Zarina’s mother, and packed my lunch before heading to Lingua. Natalia called to say she’d be bringing the certificates of completion to the Kyrgyzstan National University by two. I had a chance to begin my first expense report and took all receipts with me to scan them at the school. I do need to buy my own 3-in-1 machine to be able to do these things from the flat.

I found Idina sitting at my designated computer once again, and next to Matt, and she pretended to make a move to another one. I informed her I was only there to retrieve my flash drive, still attached to the CPU, and scan some documents in the teachers’ resource room. I wasted my time scanning them for the machine had the instructions in Russian and even with Nargiza’s help, I still didn’t select the proper saving format and they were illegible. I’ll try to have someone help me a printer this weekend for sure.

Gulnara and Larissa were in the teachers’ lounge when I went in to have my lunch, and Gulnara confided one of her teachers is seriously ill and she’d like to find a native speaker to take over her classes, and wanted to know if I knew of anyone. Of course, I haven’t run into any other teacher here so far except for the Peace Corps volunteers. In fact, today I got the CLO newsletter published by the embassy for the first time and learned there’s an International Women’s Club which charges about $50.00 for their annual membership. I’ll think about it as I’m not sure it’s worth it.

Riding in the marshrutkas have a become quite a drag as I’m getting queasy from the jerky movements of the drivers trying to pass each other or maneuvering around reckless drivers and because there’s usually no ventilation except for the driver’s window. I was sweaty mess by the time I got to the KNU campus for my last presentation. I waited outside for Natalia to arrive with the certificates since she didn’t know where we met. One of the teachers arrived with her colleague who told me how sorry she was to have missed the previous sessions for even though she worked with Gulnara she had not been informed about it.

Gulnara arrived with Nurkys, my previous Russian teacher, who swore she’d be willing to teach me classes in the morning and not in the evening when both of us would be completely tuckered out. We’ll see if she follows through on her word and comes by next Monday morning. Natalia arrived with the certificates and had a few words with the teachers before leaving behind the children’s songs CD and copies of the Forum magazine.

My presentation on motivating students was basically a summary of what we had covered the previous three weeks and basically said the teachers needed to be enthusiastic about English, involved the students in how the classes are run, and give them a lot of choices to avoid routine and boredom. It was touching when one of the teachers said they now knew exactly what to do as they had my example to follow from now on.
Gulnara had a few words to say at the end and presented me with a miniature map of Kyrgyzstan as a token of their appreciation. The teachers were handed their certificates and a group photo was taken for the association’s record. Teachers were reminded that they still needed to comply with the requirement of having me present for at least one class observation.

Gulnara insisted on taking me out to dinner to Faisa, but I told her I’d had a heavy lunch and it was only 4:30 and what I really, really needed was a good cup of coffee and not the instead instant variety available nearby. I convinced her to accompany me to Sierra Coffee where we ran into Willoughby, the PCV, and while she was introducing Gulnara to somebody else, I started a conversation with a man who told me he was a fan of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

I was approached by a woman who looked African-American and sported short curly hair. She wanted to confirm that I was Ercilia as the embassy had told her long ago that someone from the Dominican Republic was joining their staff and she was also Dominican. I couldn’t believe it and said to her in a joking manner that there wasn’t enough room in such a small country for two Dominican women. We laughed and she gave me such a tight hug that I was left breathless. In short, she’s here with her Swedish husband who works for an NGO from that country, has two darling daughters and is a stay-at home-mom.

She needed to run to pick up her daughter from the international school she attends, but promised to send an SMS that evening with her telephone number. Gulnara watched our exchanged in amazement as well and could tell that I was elated to have someone that I could related to for the first time in a long time.

I walked home and picked a piece of flat bread from the Muslim bakery along the way. Found out that my laptop had picked up a virus and would not respond to any commands. It took forever to get the system to get rid of it.

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