Thursday, June 13, 2013

June 12, 2013

Not much luck in getting a full night sleep again. It’s getting lighter earlier and earlier, so by 5:30 in the morning my bedroom was awash in light and I decided to get up and get going.

I made the sofrito for the beans and arranged everything I’d need to make the arroz con pollo when I got home. It was then time to do the dishes, clean up the kitchen, again, and tidy up the bedroom. I let the beans stew for while adding the cilantro at the last minute. I closed all the windows and left the A/C on so I could find a cooler place when I got back.

When I got off the trolley near the guesthouse, I ran into Natasha, from Lingua, and we stopped and chitchatted about CATEC which is pretty much in charge of organizing. She was still waiting for the Peace Corps volunteer to reply to her request that they organize some form of entertainment in the evenings.

I made it in time to observe the presentations made by Gulnara, Elvira, Asel and Willoughby throughout the day and I had a chance to present a modified version of my “Body Language” talk specifically for teachers. The teachers seemed to enjoy it tremendously and asked for a copy of it. I left it on the laptop for them to help themselves.

Lunch was another dispirited affair with a borscht soup that wasn’t even purple or had any flavor. I didn’t care for the pale white piece of chicken they brought after the soup and so I only ate the chunks of potatoes that accompanied it.

Natalia sent an email indicating Johanna had taken a look at the Forum newsletter issue to be printed for the CATEC conference and had made some changes to it. She wanted for one of us to make the trek to the embassy to pick up the document with the suggested changes immediately as the revised version needed to be in her office that evening.

I knew I was not going to volunteer to go to the embassy and neither was I going to have time on work on those revisions since I had the book club that evening. Willoughby had left for a couple of hours to run some errands, so Asel decided she’d take a taxi and go get the document.

When Willoughby returned, she was adamant the two of us had done a lot of work to complete the newsletter and were not required to make changes now just because Johanna felt it would look better that way. She suggested the other officers at Forum could take a stab at it if they wanted to.

We left at 4:30 and between the long walk to the bus stop and then the wait for the trolley, didn’t get to my flat until quarter to six. I started to cook the chicken right away and then we settled down to check on the train details for the trip to Moscow.

At 6:45, the older teacher that shows up for the book club hoping to find someone who can help her gain a Fulbright scholarship to the States, showed up bringing a bag of apricots. Willoughby sat with her in living room while I continued cooking and greeting other guests.

Rebecca came with Amanda and guy named David who’s doing research here on forms of government or something along those lines. Al and Luann showed up later and then Galina bringing something she’d baked. Luann had brought several salads and Al juice.

The rice here doesn’t expand at all as I’m used to in the States, so the four cups of rice didn’t fill the pot as I’d expected. Still, we had enough since Rebecca had brought Turkish bread and a soft kind of cheese for an appetizer.

I gave an account of my having read “Where’d go, Bernadette?” and “Daughter of Fortune” and the fact that I was in the midst of reading Kingsolver’s “The Lacuna” after almost giving up on it as I’d found it to be so boring.

It was almost ten when everyone left and didn’t even attempt to clean up the kitchen even though Amanda did lend me a hand in scraping all the leftovers from the plates and putting all the trash in one place. I went to bed exhausted.

Willoughby felt this might have been the last time there would be a book club meeting since we don’t really have a firm commitment to it from the local teachers. I think that at least we gave it a valiant try. I’ll leave all the books with Willoughby and if there is no interest in its resumption next September, she’ll take the books to the Peace Corps library.

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