Tuesday, November 20, 2012

November 20, 2012

It had continued to snow throughout the night and the accumulation on the ground was now quite tangible. I wore my fleece sweatshirt under my coat and managed to stay relatively warm on my way to Lingua, but just as I had suspected, navigating the steps down to the underpass and up the other side entailed quite a bit of balancing and careful placement of my boots to avoid skidding and falling.

I could clearly hear the tires skidding as many drivers tried to speed up through the sluggish traffic and it was obvious most of them hadn’t bothered to change their tires into snow ones. Lingua was a very quiet place when I got there as only Aigul and Larissa were present. I waited for Elvira while tweaking other materials for upcoming presentations and then went over her presentation on using portfolios when teaching writing. There wasn’t anything I really needed to add to it and only made suggestions about using a more simplistic rubric for its grading.

Matt came in as Elvira was leaving and asked me how my shindig had gone. I was frank with him and said I had been disappointed in the lack of attendance from members of the Lingua staff and the unnecessary expenses I had gone through thinking they were going to be there. He said he was sorry, but never actually apologized for being one of those who received an invite and never bothered to reply.

I skipped lunch and went directly to the Russian Slavonic University so I could set up the classroom for a face-to-face role playing session at the beginning of the workshop. We discussed pragmatics and I was again disappointed to see the teachers being reluctant to read aloud from the situation cards I had provided them with so we could hear how they’d handle the language act. In fact, it struck me that the youngest teachers are much more open to speaking about any topic while the older ones, who have probably acted as their mentors at some point, are much more guarded in their interactions.

I had agreed to meet with Rebecca at the Sierra Coffee shop after the session and found the place jamming with people including Willoughby, the Peace Corps volunteer and Cristina, the Filipino woman. Rebecca joined us and confirmed she had been to Bishkek before on at least two occasions. Willoughby informed us she’s leaving her post, where she’s been teaching children, to work only with the Forum Association as of this Friday.
Rebecca and I talked about the selection process for the candidates that will be presenting at the CATEC conference next year, which will be the topic of my meeting with Anna tomorrow morning, and then the creation of a book club along the same lines as the one in Dushanbe.

We decided to set up the first meeting at my apartment on December 11 at 7:00 pm, potluck style, and to ask members to donate a book to start our own collection. I need to set up an email account and a mailing list as well. All book discussions to be held in English only.

My cough was getting nastier by the minute and I begged Rebecca to write down, in Russian, the words for cough drops so I could buy some on my way home. She did so and then reminded me these needed to be purchased from a pharmacist and not the supermarket. There was a pharmacy across the street and she accompanied me there. I was glad to see the same brand I used to purchase in Dushanbe and got two packets.

While Rebecca went in search of a comfortable pillow to buy, I walked home suddenly realizing how swiftly the temperature was dropping as my nose went practically numb. It’s supposed to go down to single digits tonight.

The movie for tonight was “Taken”, another film I’d never heard of but one filled with adrenaline for all of its 96 minutes. An improbable tale, for sure, but one so well done that the film goer doesn’t mind suspending disbelief for so long.

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