Saturday, April 6, 2013

April 6, 2013

I had a marvelous day all around. The weather was fantastic with temperatures in the mid-60s, a slight breeze and abundant sunshine. After puttering around the apartment for a while and having a bowl of muesli and yogurt, I made my way to the Forum meeting at the Chinese Institute where I found Willoughby sitting out front enjoying the sunshine.

Once inside, we found Asel and Gulnara in the office. Willoughby had sent everyone a stern memo the night before reminding the officers that they needed to show up on time, turn off their cell phones, conduct all conversations in English and limit such conversations to Forum matters. Gulnara was also reminded that an agenda was vital to keep the meeting on track.

As a result, even though two other officers, Elvira and Bagdat, were not yet present, Gulnara started the meeting and we sailed through the agenda in one and a half hour, a record for us. We covered the buying of notebooks with the Forum logo and magnets to be handed out to the presenters at the CATEC conference, the sending out of letters to prevent people from using Forum’s name in the solicitation of grants or scholarships without prior approval from its officers and the changing of the bylaws to institute an election process.

Willoughby and I walked to the cafeteria near Lingua so I could have a bite to eat before we started to work on the spring issue of the newsletter and got in line behind a young man from Turkmenistan who asked to sit with us as he teaches English and SAT/TOEFL preparation classes nearby. He related he had been taught high school English by a Peace Corps volunteer in his native country and then had a chance to live in the U.S. for a semester. His English was practically devoid of any marked accent.

When we got to Lingua, we found Damira and a group of teachers in the computer room. They promptly yielded the computers to us and we got started on the laborious task of resizing the photos to email dimensions so they wouldn’t take up so much memory. We also downloaded all the messages from the different regions with the updates on activities carried out since December of last year. Willoughby wanted to do all the work herself as she knows I won’t around after the next newsletter and she needs to train someone at Forum to continue the work.

We had to stop at four o’clock as Willoughby had bought her ticket in anticipation to the Don Quixote ballet and I had meant to do the same, but had found no time to do so. We walked to the ticket booth and I was able to get one, but not on the same row as hers. The ticket cost 900 soms or almost $20.00, a sharp departure from the usual 200 or 400 soms we had been paying until now. Willoughby explained that when the ballet company came from out of town the prices went up.

We had just enough time to walk to one of our favorite coffee houses, Espresso, and did so while still trying to catch up the news that had happened since I had gone to Shymkent. Willoughby already purchased her airline ticket to go back home to Seattle for an entire month between July and August. I hope we can coincide in Seattle so she can meet my friend Stephanie.

The Opera Ballet Theater was mobbed with patrons some of them carrying huge floral arrangements for the dancers. We had to sit on opposite sides of the same row and I got to enjoy the best ballet production I have seen so far here in Bishkek. The costumes were colorful, the music superb and most numbers were upbeat with the dancers even using castanets quite adeptly. The principal dancers had come from Saint Petersburg and their superior ability was evident from the beginning to the end of the ballet.

We both managed to find transportation the minute we got to the intersection and I got home with enough time to send out the invitation for the next book club meeting on Wednesday. I read a few pages of the fascinating book “Sex at Dawn” before going to sleep.

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