Monday, November 12, 2012

November 9, 2012

I discovered this morning that my laptop computer would not save any documents I created indicating it had no memory to save them to. I immediately emailed Zarina telling her I’d be bringing the laptop in so their IT person could look into the problem. I got there around ten and the poor guy was completely befuddled by the many issues I pointed out to him. He felt it was best for him to take the computer to his place of work and look into the problem slowly and methodically. I was full of anxiety about letting go of it and felt even worse about being disconnected over the weekend.

Ryan emailed me a copy of his airline ticket and reminded me to secure a taxi for him, something Zarina had already done. I made the copies needed for the workshop on Saturday and proceeded to the workshop due that day at the Russian Slavonic University where I arrived earlier than expected thus giving me a chance to buy a Shwarma sandwich across the street and have it in their lugubrious cafeteria. Fourteen teachers showed up for the second session and most of them seemed unwilling to really participate in the session on Bloom’s taxonomy. I later found out from Anna that this group of teachers comes from two separate departments and thus might self-conscious about their ability to speak English fluently in front of their colleagues.

Since there wasn’t much to discuss, I ended the session earlier than usual and asked them to complete the “Exit Slip” indicating what they had learned from the workshop. I returned to Lingua so I could accompany Zarina to pay all my bills at once and learn how to do it. In the meantime, Natalia informed me I could not bring a guest to the reception for the fellows and Fulbrighters taking place that evening. Zarina and I dropped the handouts and reiterated to the cute guy that I’d need them by 9:30am the following morning and he agreed to have them ready then.

When we were in line at the post office, an attractive woman standing behind us chimed in English wanting to know where we were from. I thought she looked Russian, but she said she was from Kentucky and worked at the American Councils. Zarina got me into a taxi and I rode to the Public Affairs Officer’s home in the midst of the worst traffic jam I’d seen yet. The taxi driver had a map I had supplied, but even then he didn’t know how to locate the specific street much less the house. He stopped several people along the way until he came across a young woman who happened to be on her way there, too. He asked her to ride with us and then we got there. Chris was waiting at the top of the stairs and brought us into what looked like a typical embassy-procured house like the ones I’d seen in Dushanbe.

I was introduced to a group of Fulbright exchange students, Kyrgyz, and current Fulbright scholars doing research here at the time. Salads were on the table and drinks were flowing. I filled a plate with a variety of salads only to discover, as usual, that there was soup and a main entrĂ©e in the works. I had two glasses of Bailey’s on ice and had a fabulous time talking to the young Fulbrighters who asked me at the end if I could be counted on to be their mom while they were serving here. I invited everyone to the housewarming party next Saturday and Masha even offered to make sangria with bourbon in it.

The public affairs officer is of Brazilian descendent and had some Latin music, mainly bossa nova, playing in the background. There was no way of plugging my flash drive anywhere so we could play my music, but he told me there was club where the Latin people at the embassy went to dance on Fridays. He promised once again to find out the information and let me.

Farida, the same young woman who had led the taxi driver to the house, had informed me that her husband was coming to pick her up and offered me a ride home. They had just purchased a car two days before and I had a very comfortable ride to my flat.

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