Sunday, September 24, 2006

End of September

So not much has changed in the last week or so,
I have started teaching classes and it has been going well, trying to get the hang of standing in front of 15 Kazakh kids trying to explain grammatical english forms that i didnt even know existed. I find out in about 6 days where im going to be spending the next two years so that is a bid nerveracking but for the most part i dont have the time to even think about that with russian language still consuming half of my week.
I uploaded some pictures to try to portray Kazakhstan in the best light as possible, although without the mountains, it would be quite bleak at times. However, the culture is quite the opposite and Im learning something new everyday. For example, the number 7 is so highly regarded as bringing good luck, that when I bought a phone card with a new number, each extra 7 in the phone number was an extra 1000 Tenge or so (about 10 dollars). So the guy whose walking around with 777-7777 is basically the man.

Some of our students, with volunteers In Jee (far left), Ehren (second from left) and Erin (far right).

Mountains, School Children, Bazaars: Kazakhstan Part 2

Breathtaking views of mountains on top of Medeo, we had to walk up 864 steps, on about a 60 degree angle to get to the top

My site mate Matthews' family donkey

Babooshkas can handle more vodka than the average American

View of my village from the tallest building (4 stories)

Another mountain view from Medeo; Hopefully I will get a chance to hike these before I leave for my permenane site.

Mountains, School Children, Bazaars: Kazakhstan

World War 2 Memorial in Panfilov Park, Almaty

The view of the mountains from my village

Some 3rd - 4th grade children from my school

Nuts and Fruit at the Ziloni (Green) Bazaar; Almaty

Celebrating "First Bell", the first day of school in my village, August 30th.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

1 month down, 26 to go

first off I now have a cell phone that can recieve incoming calls, however i cant call out of kazakhstan, my number is 0117 701 781 6712. For the last four weeks i've been spending about 7 hours a day learning Russian, everyday except for Sunday, where I try to get down to Almaty to use the internet or just return to civilization for a bit. Im living in a small village outside Almaty with a very nice Uyghur family who takes very good care of me. Theres a great view of the amazing mountain range with snow tipped peaks right outside my window and my family grows tons of fruits and vegetables which are all very delicious. So i am trying to overcome the diffuculties of the cultural divide by learning as much russian as I can, the classes help but its still difficult. Next week we are going to start team teaching with local teachers so that should be nice to get a taste of what teaching will be like. All the kids are really nice, they tend to gravitate towards me for some reason,running after me and calling my name, Kak Sam! Kak Sam!; i havent even met half of them. I live with four other volunteers in this village, they are all very nice and we get along well. Yesterday one of the other volunteers host brothers took us to the mountain ice skating rink called Medeo, the highest olympic size skating rink in the world. Its about 2400 M above sea level, and the temperature fdropped about25 degrees as we went up the mountain. The view at the top was amazing. I'll try to post some photos soon. Anyone whose reading this and wants to give me their home address, that would be greatly appreciated as I realized i lost alot of my addresses and when i have some freetime writing letters may be fun, and the only means of communication possibly afterr i leave training in 2 months.