Thursday, April 18, 2013

April 18, 2013

After tinkering at the apartment for most of the morning, I made my way to the AUCA for my meeting with Elvira at 11:00 am. Just as I was passing the security officer’s booth, a young woman greeted me and reminded me we had met on the trolley a couple of months ago and had agreed to have coffee. We decided on doing so tomorrow afternoon.

Elvira wasn’t in her office and the secretary told she’d left not long ago. I had agreed to meet one of the FLEX alumnae at the same time, and Naziba was there to meet me. Elvira then called me to say I was mistaken about the time and place of the meeting as she had suggested we meet shortly before Willoughby’s birthday dinner, something I simply don’t recall.

I talked to Naziba, who was an exchange student in Michigan, about the strategy for the Saturday session on “Trace Effects” and she confirmed she’d bring four other volunteers to help teachers navigate through the video game while we provided additional support.

We walked together until I got to Lingua where I held a much needed one-on-one conversation with Gulnara regarding the future of Forum as an organization. She promised to send me some documents showing that there had been an organizational chart and procedures for conducting elections in the past, both of which had been disregarded lately. She did email them to me and I forwarded them to Willoughby for her information.

Zarina went through my utility bills and separated them according to the specific category and month. I asked Gulnara her opinion about paying for the maintenance of the exterior of the apartment building and she told me to check my contract to see what exactly it said about it.

I had my usual lagman noodles for lunch and worked on other presentations marking time until the scheduled dinner party. When I talked to Willoughby, she informed me she was on her way to the restaurant to do some decorating and invited me to come along so we’d have a chance to chat before everybody else showed up.

I had received the package my sister Esther had sent me and knowing I’d not be able to maneuver inside a marshrutka with it, I waited for the trolley. I found Willoughby had made place cards for everyone to know where to sit and I was to her right. Max had confirmed his attendance also.

She had twelve people showed up, mostly Forum officers, along with talkative Al and Max. She had requested that no presents be brought in, but that we share the cost of the meal. Regardless of her request, Gulnara brought a bouquet of flowers in the name of Forum and others brought in small presents.

We had salads, an imitation pita bread, water, tea and even vodka for the guys. The plov came in much later than expected and was served in a manner I had never seen as the meat wasn’t sliced as usual and instead the restaurant had plunked a huge chunk of meat on top of the rice. I found it simply unappealing as the rice had been cooked separately and thus had no flavor whatsoever in addition to being extremely dry.

I was already full anyway and removed the chunk of beef on my plate on put it on Max’ who is heavy meat eater. I requested a container to take the rice mixture home in the hope that I could fix it somehow for dinner tomorrow. We had an excellent time sharing stories, jokes and reflections.

Max and I shared a taxi home with his promising to send me the name of the Georgian restaurant he favors so much so I can take Willoughby there on Saturday when her actual birthday takes place.

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