Friday, December 21, 2012

December 21, 2012

After making coffee this morning, I couldn’t decide what to tackle first as I wasn’t sure if I still needed to go to Lingua or not. Natalia had sent a message through Gulnara that she needed to meet me there in the early afternoon regarding my visa to Kazakhstan. I had replied I had committed myself to attending the Christmas celebration at the Kyrgyz National University and would rather meet in the morning. Natalia had not replied to this request.

I had a bowl of muesli and worked on printing the cards to have the teachers play a game of dominoes with collocations as part of the workshop. Just then, Natalia called to say I needed to be at the embassy before 11:00 and to please get ready right away as Lingua would be sending a taxi to take me there and wait for me. She was reluctant to explain why the sudden rush especially since my passport and visa fee had been sitting at Lingua waiting for her for at least three weeks.

Gulnara called to say her driver had been given the passport and would be waiting for me across the street in just about twenty minutes. I felt really bad about both Gulnara and Zarina as Lingua was officially closed yesterday and they had to come in just to deal with this issue. The driver, the same who had picked me up at the airport, recognized me when I stepped into the curb and drove me to the embassy. For the first time, I noticed the two large buildings, almost opposite each other, housing the Manas University and the Humanities one. It’s going to be a long ride for me next February when I’m scheduled for sessions at the Manas campus.

I proceeded through the first gate at the embassy already dreading the emptying of my bag, the pat search, the X-ray screening and all the inconveniences that come from trying to get into this place when I saw Natalia approaching in the opposite directions. She hugged tightly and said she remembered how much I hated the process of getting entrance to the embassy and had brought the visa application, already filled-in, for me to just sign it. She’d be taking it to the embassy herself and then call me when it was ready. Well, that was a relief as we just sat in the car and got it done.

It was too early to head to the university, so I told the driver to take me back home. He let me know he’d be available anytime I might need to travel to the airport and back. I didn’t have the language skills to tell him I’d be traveling by road this one time. I had developed a terrible headache by the time I got home and tried to take a nap, but the people upstairs were back with their racket and it was mission impossible. I watched the news for a little bit and then left the flat having had a few crackers and cheese for lunch in case nothing to my liking was available during the celebration.

Asel met on the foyer and took me to a simple classroom, I guess there is no auditorium so to speak, where perhaps two classes had gathered and a few of the teachers that had trained with me last October. We heard a few speeches and then a parade of students performed songs and dances, all in English, including a bachata number. The girl did a decent performance, and seemed to be the one leading the number, while her partner remained stiff and uncomfortable. Certificates were issued to the participants and one of the teachers asked me to hand them out.

It was a good thing I had had something to eat for there were no refreshments offered at all. I ran into Mairamgul, from Forum, on my way home and she told she was on her way to work at the Academy of Law nearby.

Spent the rest of the afternoon and evening working on the rest of the materials needed for the presentation on Tuesday. Willoughby, whom I had emailed sometime ago about the program for Saturday, called late in the evening to say I should prepared the materials for the Christmas program as she’s only planning on singing carols for perhaps one hour. I hate this usual running around at the last minute to prepare materials and only hope that the American Corner cooperates with us and allows the printing of the handouts before the session begins.

Natalia emailed to say the visa had been approved and I should pick up my passport on the 25th at 18:30. That seemed odd and I wrote back to confirm it and she it was indeed at 6:30 pm and that Lingua would arrange for the taxi to take me there.

Got to watch a film that had been on my list for the longest time: “Back to School” with the comic Rodney Dangerfield. The highly improbable story and it feel good ending didn’t prevent me from enjoying the witty dialogue and 80s hairstyles and costumes. 

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