November 7, 2012
There was no sense in denying that I woke in dread of finding out that Romney might have won the election as the talking heads were discussing, as I went to bed the night before, that it was too close to call it a win for either party. So as soon as I drank my coffee and fired up the computer, a sense of relief came over me to learn that Obama would continue his mandate. I want to be clear in saying that I hold no big illusions as to his ability to get the country heading in the direction that I’d like, but I still feel he’d be less destructive and divisive than Romney might have been.
I watched CNN while having breakfast just to hear the pundits give their take as to who voted for whom and why. It was really impressive to see the huge number of Hispanic/Latino voters that went for Obama as I had been afraid that his sanction of gay marriage and lack of action on the immigration front was going to severely hurt his chances with those voters.
Elvira and her husband showed up to take me shopping for a 3-1 printer since today was a holiday, the celebration of the October revolution in Russia, and he was off. He was driving a rickety car, built in 1987 and inherited from his father, which seemed to be leaking fuel somewhere thus causing a nauseous feeling in my stomach the moment I got in. I rolled down the window and tried to make myself comfortable. We stopped to exchange money and then went to store where the husband seemed to know the IT person and I found an HP Laser jet printer that met my requirements. The company was not willing to issue me a receipt except what came from the cash register and I had to explain to them that I'd never get reimbursed by Georgetown based on that minuscule piece of paper. I then had to show my ID and wait around forever to finally get one with a seal and my signature.What a pain that was.
We dropped the printer at the apartment, and then they dropped me off at the Oxford University Press location where Zeinep had invited me to join her for another workshop so I could meet that trainer. They were having a coffee break at that time and I happily joined in. The trainer provided two sessions on teaching grammar and reading to young learners, neither topic was of much interest to me, but she offered some games and warm ups that I could replicate for my sessions. The trainer indicated she had offered her services to Forum in the past but had never heard from them. She promised to come on Saturday to the poetry workshop.
On my way home, I heard music coming from the Ala-Too Square and saw lots of people gathered there waving their flags and stopped a few minutes to take pictures, but there was little of interest to photograph as only a young man was lip syncing a song while parents walked around trailed by young children enjoying cotton candy and carrying balloons.
It was back to the house to try and prepare the materials for the workshop at the American Corner. I emailed Natalia three other handouts and tried to gather everything I might need for the occasion. I got the printer out of the box and discovered it was much larger than I had imagined it and took up much of the surface space on my desk. A lot of reshuffling was needed to make it work.
I had forgotten that I had agreed to go out to dinner with Dilnat and I was already in my nightgown when she called to say she was on her way to pick me up. At least I hadn't eaten yet and with much regret, I got dressed again and went downstairs to meet her. She came with her younger brother this time and drove for what seemed like forever to take me to a restaurant she promised served the best lagman in town. It was another cavernous place with no charm whatsoever, just rows of tables full of diners noisily slurping their noodles while busy servers scurried around making no effort to even smile.
Dilnat told me her brother, 17, hadn't completed high school, had not interest in going to college and had stopped taking English classes because in his opinion people in Kyrgyzstan who get a college diploma would be in no better shape than he was without one because there were no jobs anyway. That's a pretty accurate statement, especially coming from someone so young, but rather cynical nonetheless. The food was pretty bad beginning with a soup that contained the entrails of a sheep and which I couldn't eat at all. I had a bit a salad, no dressing of course, and Dilnat didn't know what dressing was anyway, and some bread before my lagman noodles arrived, so I just picked at them a bit before asking the server for a container. She drove me home and I was happy to be in bed relatively early for once.