Thursday, December 13, 2012

December 13, 2012

A light snow was still falling when I woke up this morning and the temperature had dropped to a chilling 9 Fahrenheit. I packed all the materials I’d need for the afternoon presentation and headed to Lingua for my participation in the selection committee for pre-service teachers. Only Gulnara, Leyla and I took part in it and interviewed four candidates today with more to do tomorrow. All candidates were women, of course.

              A municipal worker sweeping the snow from the walkway to the Children's Library

Once the interviews were over, I printed a couple more handouts for the workshop and then headed to Fat Boys, a restaurant that caters to ex-pats mostly, to wait for Laira. I was extremely disappointed when I walked into the place to discover that they allowed smoking and the place just reeked of cigarettes. We decided to stay put anyway knowing we’d never patronize the place again. My omelet had no flavor and the sautéed potatoes I ordered were just slices of the vegetables that had been refried and came in just lukewarm. Even the coffee was awful and although I asked for hot milk on the side, I was brought cream that was cold instead.

Laira and I finally had a chance to catch up with the details of our respective lives and she gave me some tips on places to shop for food-related items. She’ll be leaving for Switzerland next week to spend the holidays with her in-laws, but promised to stay in touch when she gets back. Best of all, she told of a Japanese woman who teaches Zumba from her house in the early morning hours. Right now, those hours conflict with my Russian lesson ones, so we’ll see how I do it to be able to take part in it. She only charges 100 soms or a little more than $2.00 per session.

We said goodbye and I headed to the Arabaev University just as the snow began to fall more copiously. The session went quite well as the teachers really got into the speaking activities and reported that they should be able to incorporate all of them into their teaching repertoire. We had a lively debate on the issue of students laughing when their classmates made mistakes while speaking. While I advocated that laughing was good as long as it was shared class wide as all students were bound to make mistakes along the way, the teachers all indicated their training had inculcated in them the rule that no laughing could take place as it would undermine the student’s self-esteem.

                             The view from my apartment complex

I found a marshrutka the minute I stepped into the curb and made it to my flat relatively fast. I tried taking a nap, but wasn’t successful and watched TV for a while, had some lentil soup for dinner and worked on other materials for my subsequent presentations. 

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