Wednesday, February 13, 2013

February 13, 2013

It was another gorgeous morning, albeit still a frosty one, when I made my way to Lingua. Zarina was arranging huge chocolate bars on the table, one for each teacher, as a token of appreciation on Valentine’s Day. Asel told me that most teachers had classes today and not tomorrow, so the office was presenting the candy today instead.

I reminded Nargiza of her offer to accompany me to the main post office to inquire about Elizabeth’s package and we headed in that direction while I answered some of her questions on teaching count and no-count nouns. I gave my ID to the clerk and she poked around the many packages on different shelves, but she came up empty and recommended we call a different post office which handles smaller packages to see if per chance they had received it instead.

Back at the office, Nargiza called the two numbers she’d been given, but was told they weren’t holding any packages for me. I sent Elizabeth an email asking her to check with her local post office to verify that the package had indeed reached Kyrgyzstan before I continue to inquire any further.

I met with Anna and we discussed the handling of the applications for CATEC as they have started to come in already. I suggested getting a box to eventually print all of them and go through the rigorous process of selecting the 75 participants from Kyrgyzstan. I started to work on my own proposal as Jennifer wants to peruse it as well since she’ll covering the expenses for all EFLs to attend.

The guy that sells the samsis didn’t show up today and I didn’t feel like going to the Halal Kitchen restaurant downstairs. Instead, I had a few bites of the chocolate bar and left Lingua at two when Nargiza needed to use the computer room for her class. Once home, I had some leftover pasta and took a short nap after the drilling in the unit next door subsided.

It was the night for our book club meeting and I had called Rebecca to clarify the directions to her apartment. She lives not too far from me and the marshrutka dropped me off practically in front of her complex. Her unit must have been remodeled recently as every wall was pristine white, the furniture looked Italian and she had a lot of built-in shelves. She pays $450.00 a month, but her unit is much smaller than mine thus she has her desk in the living room.

Rebecca cooked macaroni and cheese, and offered wine and juice while Willoughby prepared a garbanzo salad and I brought in the Korean salads. Martha brought a cold lentil soup and others contributed Mandarin oranges, salted almonds and other snacks. Another person brought humus and pita bread from a Mediterranean restaurant I had never heard of.

I was the first time to show up followed by Elvira and Gulnara, then Nona, who was back in town, then Willoughby and four other American women Rebecca had invited. I started the discussion by commenting on my book, “In Search of Genghis Khan” and then proceeded to donate the book to the club. Rebecca and all of the other American women had read their book in digital format and thus had nothing to contribute to the pool of books. Willoughby brought a book written by Lance Armstrong in which he still denied doping, and that one was added to the collection.

Elvira brought the Frankenstein book she’s reading with her class, same as the last two meetings, and Gulnara produced a paperback edition of some unknown science fiction book she was still reading. Martha, a former Peace Corps volunteer who now lives here full-time, agreed to host the next meeting on March 13.

As we left the building, Gulnara and Elvira retook the topic of my applying for a post here next year so I can continue to work with Forum. I don’t know how to explain it to them any clearer that such decision is beyond my control and that there’s little likelihood that the organization will get a full-time ELF to work with them.

I quickly located a marshrutka heading my way and jumped on it. When I paid the driver the customary ten soms, he showed me two fingers and didn’t understand what he meant until a woman behind me told I was short two soms because it was past nine o’clock. Since I had never ridden a marshrutka this late, I hadn’t paid attention to the difference. I rooted through my bag and came up with another coin and gave it to him. I reminded him I wanted to get off at Isanova, but he went right past it anyway.

The intersection was almost completely dark and I could barely make out where the sidewalk was. I decided that walking down the middle of the street was the safest thing to do and made to my flat with no problem whatsoever.

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