Friday, January 4, 2013

January 4, 2013

It was snowing lightly when I got up. I got ready to attend the meeting at Forum and decided to walk up to the Kyrgyz National University as I had no idea what marshrutka could take me there. Willoughby had given me a program that could pinpoint the different bus routes on a city map, but I had forgotten to transfer it from my flashdrive to the laptop.

Just as Laira had mentioned, the fresh snow falling over the accumulated ice made for even more treacherous walking and I felt myself slip slightly on at least four occasions before reaching the university. I ran into Willoughby right in front of the building and we then spied Elvira coming up as well. Gulnara was already inside the building and Asel and Michael joined us a few minutes later. Matthew never showed up.

We got down to business with Gulnara outlining exactly what was needed for the refreshments part of the conference as well as the costs of the certificates so I’d have a final budget to summit to my RELO. Asel brought her laptop and we made changes to the schedule right there with the final decision being made that every presenter would only have one hour. I now need to rethink my presentation as the PowerPoint in itself could take one hour not to mention the four or five activities I was planning on carrying out.

Forum had purchased a new all-in-one printer that was still in its box as Gulnara indicated she didn’t know how to plug it into the computer. Having done mine so recently, I offered to do it and had it running in a just a few minutes. Gulnara congratulated me as if I had just invented the thing in itself.

Next on the agenda was a visit to Public School #2 where the workshops will take place to inspect the rooms and to determine if we could use their canteen for our coffee breaks. The two men guarding the school had no keys to any of the rooms and they called the principal who demanded a letter of appreciation from Forum for allowing us to use her facilities and said she’d be the one to open the rooms on Tuesday period. The canteen would be off limits to us.

Michael, Elvira and I repaired to a nearby canteen attached to the International University to have a bite for lunch only to find that everything had been cooked who knows when and the best they could do was to reheat it in the microwave. I had a lukewarm bowl of oily rasolnik soup and a roll along with a glass of compote. From there, Elvira said goodbye and Michael and I walked to the Seven Days store near my apartment so I could see what they offered, and he could withdraw money from his Peace Corps account. To think that the volunteers now have an ATM card and don’t need to spend half a day going to the bank do deal with the cashing of checks.

This store didn’t offer anything not found at the other ones and I couldn’t even find muesli, something I had easy access to at the store across the street from my old flat. I got some eggs, cream of wheat, juice, milk and water so as to make sure I would’t need to step out of my apartment over the weekend and just concentrate on the work I need to have done by this week.

I texted the landlady asking her for an update on the things she had meant to do, but she never replied. I really don’t have a good feeling about this.

Spent the rest of the evening reading a compelling book, “Teach like a Champion” by Doug Lemov that contained some really awesome ways to get students involved in learning. I’m definitely copying some of his ideas for my future observation feedback to Kyrgyz teachers.

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