Tuesday, November 6, 2012

November 6, 2012

Had a difficult time falling deeply asleep just thinking I had deleted all of my cherished files in a moment of pure lunacy and extreme tiredness. I ran through a couple of free programs that promised to recover my files, but both wanted payment before actually revealing what they had recovered. I then found a tutorial on YouTube on a different free program that actually recovered some of my photos and is still in the process of scanning for other files. I want to remain hopeful that not all is lost.

I was due at the Russian Slavic University at 1:30 pm and needed to photocopy a warm up activity and the survey for them to determine what they wanted to see covered for the remaining seven sessions, so I got myself in gear and got on the marshrutka under azure skies and absolutely stunning views of the mountains. I gave Zarina the latest bill I had found stuck to my door, it was for water she said, and she promptly called my landlady who agreed to pick up the bill from her and had me pay only 500 soms out of the 1400.00 overdue bill that required payment today. I suspect she never got around paying the other one.

Ryan had emailed asking me to arrange for a taxi for his arrival on Saturday as I’ll be tied up at the American Corner until noon. I asked Zarina to ask the same taxi driver who had taking me around to look at apartments, and he agreed to do it for 700 soms round trip. That’s certainly a bargain since the airport is about thirty-five minutes away. I spoke to him later on, and he was quite pleased with the deal.

Went downstairs for a regular bowl of lagman noodles to have a bite to eat before going to the workshop and had it while talking to Gulnara and Aigul in the teachers’ lounge. Matt was also around and I told him the virus had shown up again in my flashdrive at the Lingua computer. He recommended I buy a new one and get rid of the one I have now.

I was supposed to find the university based on the fact that it was right after the river on Chuy Avenue, but I could see nothing like it from the marshrutka. When the driver turned right, I knew I was lost and trying to ask the locals only got my farther away from the Humanities building I was looking for. In exasperation, I called Anna and arranged for a taxi to take me back to the right building. The river in questions was more like a creek with no water even running in it right now, so no wonder I passed right by it in the minibus and it didn’t register at all.

This university’s facilities were not any better than the ones at Kyrgyz National University even though some of the rooms looked larger and brighter. We had to walk up to the fifth floor and into a room that once had Venetian blinds and at least sported a small whiteboard doubling as a projector screen. Anna only accompanied me for a few minutes, making sure I found the bathroom before I got started, and then left to tend to her own class.

There were sixteen teachers at the end out of a possible twenty-three she had recruited initially. I tried to get my PowerPoint started, but the Mac laptop someone had offered for the occasion refused to open the flashdrive with its collection of viruses and the IT person had to be called in to salvage the situation. In the meantime, I gave the teachers a warm up activity and then the survey of needs to determine what they wanted to see for the remaining weeks. One teacher, an older one at that, read the list of sessions and said she didn’t understand what I was offering as she had never heard of pragmatics or Bloom’s taxonomy. I countered by asking her to sign up for those sessions so she could find out what they were about.

We talked about classroom management, but then again just in a limited way as these teachers have the privilege of teaching ridiculously small classes of 8-16 students which is definitely more manageable that our 32-35 set up. Even then, they still had problems with cell phone usage, excessive talking, texting, coming in late or leaving early and the like.

Anna came back in time to help me pack up and showed me the way back outside. I got into a marshrutka and had to ride standing the entire way back to my flat, that was after standing another two hours delivering the presentation. I decided right there and then that I needed to arrange for a taxi to transport me to this far flung place from now on and have Georgetown reimburse me for the expense. It is really ridiculous on my part to try and ride the minibus, especially standing, when I have to carry numerous handouts.

I completed the report for Natalia on the workshops just completed at KNU and also emailed her the handouts for the presentation on Thursday. Layra, the Dominican woman I had met last week at Sierra Coffee, texted to ask me to lunch on the same day. Zeinep called to tell me we were on for the workshop at Oxford University Press tomorrow at eleven. What a hectic week, indeed.

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