Wednesday, December 26, 2012

December 25, 2012

Another overcast day greeted me this morning, but the temperature still remained in the high 30s, so no complain from me. I spent most of the morning finalizing my presentation, proofing the handouts before emailing them to Jyrdaz and cutting up the cards for the concentration and dominoes games we were to play that afternoon while learning how to teach collocations.

The marshrutka was suffocatingly hot and crowded, so I had to ride pressed against the dashboard while a river of sweat ran down my temples. As soon as the driver passed Manas Avenue, I got off and walked the rest of the way enjoying the fresh air and the fact that the most of the snow had now turned to slush making it easier to walk around.

The minute I stepped into the campus I realized I had left my jump drive attached to my laptop computer, and with only fifteen minutes before the beginning of the session, there was no way I could go back home and retrieve it. The IT guy was setting up the laptop and screen and I let him know there was no need for it. Anna, the most fluent of the teachers there, called my attention to the little Christmas tree on a shelf behind me and said Santa had left a present for me there. It was fridge magnet with an image of the city of Bishkek and a handmade Christmas card. I thanked them profusely for the present.

In the absence of the PowerPoint presentation, to which I had even added a song, I had to improvise at best I could but since I had prepared several activities for the group, they took up the entire hour and a half. It was obvious from the group’s answers and level of difficulty while performing the activities that collocations were unfamiliar to them as they had to keep asking me if the ones they had matched were indeed collocates.
I walked from the university to Lingua as agreed with Gulnara so her driver could take me to the Kazakhstan embassy at 6:30pm to pick up my passport. As we were getting ready to leave, my landlady called to say once again that she needed to inspect the apartment tomorrow. Apparently she had lied yesterday when she said she’d go there on her own. We agreed to meet at 6:00pm. She was definitely more courteous to Gulnara this time as there was no screaming to be heard.

We dropped Gulnara off at home and proceeded to the embassy where a group of mostly young males were waiting outside. The driver tried to park his car in front of the embassy to wait for the half until they opened, but the guard told him it wasn’t allowed. I agreed to stay there while he drove to a gas station in the vicinity and waited for me there.

A little while later, I was surprised to see the three Fulbrighters I had met at the reception arrive with two other friends. They informed me Natalia had requested they get a visa now just in case they’d need one in the near future. I asked them to let me know if they knew of a decent apartment as I needed to vacate mine.
The doors opened promptly at 6:30 and the group of males rushed to the front all trying to be the first one to claim their passport. We decided to just stand back and wait for the unruly mob to be done with their request, and then got our passports. It had taken all of five minutes to do so.

I couldn’t offer the Fulbrighters a ride back into town because there were too many of them to fit into the car, so we said goodbye and I was taken back to my place. I had the last of the mung bean soup and got to watch a movie, “Being Julia”, which I vaguely remember seeing while on a cruise to the Bahamas back in 2005. It was a silly movie all around with characters that were not believable and lots of scenes of ballroom dancing and singing songs from the 30s and 40s. I remember Stephanie and I commenting that we couldn’t even understand the protagonist attraction to a young guy, not even that attractive, and then her falling apart when he falls in love with someone his own age.

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