Saturday, June 1, 2013

June 1, 2013

In preparation for Willoughby coming by so we could finish the special issue of the Forum newsletter that is to be printed for the CATEC conference, I got up early and cleaned the kitchen, swept the kitchen and computer room floor and tidied up my bedroom.

I took the garbage out and brought my camera along to take a photo of the marijuana plant I’d discovered growing like a common weed next to the garbage bins. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the garbage bins themselves had been sprayed painted a silvery gray color.

Wanting to be done with the newsletter as quickly as possible, I got started on my own selecting the highlights and resizing all the photos before Willoughby got here. I felt kind of guilty that I had spent all day Friday kind of moping around the apartment and not getting anything done.

Willoughby showed up around eleven and while I made her a cup of coffee, she sat at the computer and dealt with a couple of problems I was facing resizing some columns and titles. We worked on the section containing news from other regions of the country and took notes of what other information we needed before the newsletter could be considered done with and mailed to Natalia for its publication.

As Willoughby typed away, it occurred to me to go through my bookshelf and start separating the books I'll be giving away and the few I'll be keeping. I started by giving Willoughby the expensive Russian/English dictionary I'd purchased when I first got here. I then set some aside for Damira and the rest to go to Forum.

I had a bite to eat before we proceeded to the Tsum department store where Willoughby wanted to look at smart phones as the antiquated model she was using left much to be desired. We had spoken about a variety of features that could be found in them and others she could buy as individual apps, but she was really keen in getting a GPS system, a keyboard and the ability to switch between English and Russian.

We visited several stands and finally settled for the model Andrei had shown us first, a Samsung android with all the bells and whistles. She selected a cover, and he applied a safety film to the face to insure it wouldn’t crack. The final cost was about 13,000 soms or $271.00. Andrei imported her contact numbers, and she made her first call to me to make sure it was working correctly.

When we stepped outside, the skies had turned black and the wind was picking up, so we hurried up after Willoughby used the ATM to catch our respective means of transportation.

Willoughby mentioned in passing that she’d sent an email to Johanna inquiring as to my being left out of the invitation list to her barbecue tomorrow when embassy personnel, Peace Corps volunteers and foreign NGOs had been invited, but she hadn’t reply. I told her that most likely Johanna didn’t want any flies (black people) in her milk (white attendees) list. She was dismayed at my attempt to crack a joke in the face of the blatant discrimination I have faced here, but she got the point.

I came home to read a bit more of the Lacuna book, but I’m finding harder and harder to be interested in the characters or what’s happening to them. I recalled that I had tried to listen to this book in CD format a couple of years ago and had given up in exasperation. Reading isn’t going any better. And to think that Jennifer felt this was Kingsolver’s best book ever.

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