Sunday, May 5, 2013

May 2, 2013

I decided to braid my hair a la Frida Khalo this morning, since it was finally all one shade, and as expected, I got additional stares from the housekeeper to the laborer on the university’s grounds. I ate the bowl of rice porridge and was glad to see that we had abundant sunshine once again when we stepped outside.

I started out with my presentation on pragmatics. During the coffee break, I added a few slides to the presentation on grammar games and made sure Elvira had secured the additional handouts to play most of the games contained in it.

Lunch was lagman soup again as there was no other alternative to my liking. I hurried back to the classroom to get all my cards ready and did my best to keep the teachers awake after the lunch break. When Elvira’s turn came up, I went outside for a short walk as I myself felt I was falling asleep in the dark and airless room.

The temperature was just at the right point, neither too hot nor too cold. I sat on a bench in the full sunshine and soaked in the rays for about fifteen minutes before returning to the classroom. Elvira was winding down her teaching listening presentation and told the teachers we’d be ending sooner than expected.

I reminded the teachers that tomorrow would be evaluation day, along with the handing out of certificates, and a chance for a group photo. I think everyone was grateful for the additional half hour they got to enjoy as they left earlier than the schedule dictated.

We returned to the guesthouse to find that there was neither running water nor Wi-Fi available. I was able to make coffee with some water saved in a bucket and brought some back for Elvira and Gulnaz who were huddled over the laptop finalizing the evaluation form so it could be printed tonight.

Gulnaz was informed about the $69.00 in cash she’d receive to have all 25 teachers replicate the training they’d received and that they were free to co-present to make the best use of the money received. She, in turn, invited us to her house to spend the night on Saturday night upon returning from our planned excursion to the walnut forest, a local attraction.

I had a chance to iron the wrinkles out of my Tajik outfit to wear it tomorrow for the closing ceremony. The housekeeper brought out three photos of herself in different locations wearing her traditional Kyrgyz dress and wanted to know if I owned the Uzbek hat that went with my dress, but unfortunately, I never thought the tiny hat looked good on me.

Elvira and I went back to the same restaurant we had gone to when Willoughby and Gulnara were here hoping for better food and service this time around when a wedding wasn’t taking place. There was only one other table occupied and I was able to order fries with my lamb dish as well as a side order of corn kernels.

The waitress brought me the French fries, the frozen variety, when she brought Elvira her salad along with about two tablespoons of corn kernels in a saucer. I sent it back to the kitchen refusing to pay almost a dollar for what was evidently leftover corn. Elvira’s salad was too salty for my taste and she acknowledged that a lot of people in Kyrgyzstan suffer from hypertension due to an excessive consumption of salty foods.

My food portion was tiny, so we stopped at a nearby bakery where I purchased a piece of cake in case I got the munchies later on in the evening. We also stopped at an Internet cafĂ© to verify what the balance was on the modem we’d brought with us. The disappointing news was that only 78.00 soms remained.

Elvira informed me I’d have to add money from my own pocket from now on as the amount budgeted for that item had been exhausted. The owner of the guest house was present when we returned and claimed to be looking into the problem with the Wi-Fi connection. When I went to bed, we still had no Internet access.

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