Wednesday, March 13, 2013
March 13, 2013
It was back to Lingua this morning to meet with Anna and Natalia and try to get through the remaining applications for CATEC. I had found at least ten names not on the list and needed to have those applications printed and added to the database. When I got in, Zarina informed me that the workshop for that afternoon had been confirmed.
We worked diligently on the pile of applications, but still couldn’t decide on some of them as they lacked enough details to merit selection. Natalia couldn’t afford to meet another time and so it fell on Anna and me to choose Friday morning as the last time to meet and go over the remaining applications. This has turned out to be a much harder job than I had anticipated.
I had purchased two samsis and shared them with Gulnara and Larissa before going back to my flat to pick up the materials needed for my workshop that afternoon and the book I’d be sharing with the book club that evening. I sent Willoughby a message to see if we could meet near Lingua and go there together.
When I returned to Lingua, Johanna was already there touring the book shop with Gulnara, and Zarina was organizing the large conference room right next to it intended to accommodate at least 20 participants. Natalia came by a few minutes later and then a stream of young teachers, mostly female, started to come in. We ended with 36 attendees and not enough room for them to sit or have a writing surface.
Johanna said a few words, along with both Gulnaras, Ainura from the Ministry of Education and Emma from the Learning Academy. I gave a brief introduction of myself and then we got started. A lot of the participants were the same teachers I had interviewed for the pre-service teacher contest, so it was nice to see their familiar faces.
When it was finally over, Zarina came by to let me know Willoughby had called to say she’d meet me in front of the 7 Day supermarket where I intended to buy a couple of salads to contribute to the dinner. Fortunately for us, the woman hosting the book club lived within walking distance and we had no trouble finding her building with the help of the map she had sent us.
Martha lived in the most luxurious flat I had ever seen in Bishkek. It almost looked like something out of a decorating magazine with white Italian leather furniture, stainless steel appliances in the kitchen and built-in shelves everywhere. I didn’t dare ask how much she paid for rent, but figure it should be in the thousands. She had assembled a variety of snacks on the long granite counter, along with beverages, and we chatted there until the remaining attendees got in.
The chicken enchiladas she cooked contained no sauce whatsoever, and I struggled to swallow the dry shredded chicken and tortilla-like bread, but soon gave up and just ate the salads. I had found a cream cheese-like spread from Turkey that tasted divine with the flat bread and had practically filled myself with it anyway.
We had two male attendees for the first time, one from Sarasota, FL, in fact, and only Gulnara was a local. Willoughby brought several books to contribute and Rebecca did the same. As a result, I ended up with two good books to take home with me. I’ll be hosting for the month of April since we had no other takers.
Willoughby and I decided to share a taxi as it was already past nine o’clock and Rebecca helped us negotiate with the driver. I was totally spent when I got home, but still read a few pages of the book “Half Broke Horses” by Jeanette Glass.