Saturday, March 9, 2013
March 9, 2013
More snow was falling when I woke up this morning. I dressed up as warmly as possible and put on my, by now hated, boots before heading to the Forum session. It took a while for one of the trolleys to arrive and I barely made it into the library by ten. Willoughby had brought her knitting to keep her busy, and Natalia arrived at the same time I did bearing gifts for the officers of Forum.
One of the local teachers was presenting on the topic of teaching speaking skills and, like many other teachers I have observed so far, was reluctant to write on the whiteboard because when she did, her spelling was atrocious and she had to keep going back to make corrections. Another sign of someone who does very little reading in English.
Asia sidled up to me at this point and we chitchatted for a while. She mentioned receiving the flyer that Lingua has been circulating about my upcoming workshops and said she was interested in attending some of them.
After the coffee break, Asel presented a workshop; however, since she has a very thin voice and refuses to practice at projecting it, I couldn’t follow what she was doing or why just a few teachers were engaged at the front while the rest were doing nothing.
When the session was over, the officers gathered to go over the many items pending including revision of the bylaws, not to be done as it was considered too expensive and time consuming, the holding of elections for all positions, the separation from Lingua, and so on.
Gulnara, the president, declared she didn’t want any face-to-face confrontation with Gulnara from Lingua, but agreed a memo could be drafted and sent to the organization letting them know that the name of Forum couldn’t be automatically added to all of their announcements and initiatives without prior consultation and approval from Forum.
Willoughby and I went to the Parsi restaurant, a Persian one, to have lunch and found the place deserted. According to the Lonely Planet guide, the place served delicious Persian food even though the service was slow. There was no ambiance to the place, just a generic look all around with two huge flat screen TV sets at either end. We requested that they turn down the volume for us and the server turned them of,f which was even better.
Half of the items listed on the menu in English were not available. My dish came with two strips of chicken lamb and white rice, no sauce in sight. When I requested any kind of sauce, I was, as usual, offered catsup. To make things worse, the white rice had been reheated and tasted awful. Another place never to set foot in, for sure.
We got into another marshrutka and headed for our weekly show at the Opera Ballet Theater to see Madam Butterfly. We didn’t know this particular opera was being sponsored by the Japanese government as part of their Japan Week and there was no admission fee. As result, I could have sworn that hundreds of middle and high school students had been sent to see it without a chaperon in sight.
I had the most disagreeable time with these youngster surrounding us on all sides while carrying on conversations, noisily getting up from their seats numerous times, and constantly using their phones to take photos or just scroll for messages. I turned around a couple of times just to shush up them. To my dismay, the opera consisted of three acts, started late, and seemed to go on forever. I didn’t enjoy it one bit.
It was almost nine when we finally got out of the theater, and Willoughby was able to find a marshrutka to take her home. I waited for the trolley a bit more, but none came, so I too got into a marshrutka and then walked home. The landlady must have come in my absence as the kitchen sink faucet had been fixed, but the toilet continued to leak. I’ll have to find out what the story is.