Trip Start Aug 20, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Kazakhstan  ,
Friday, November 3, 2006

Monday and Tuesday were my last days to teach my precious little angels. On Monday I semi-successfully taught grammar- the past perfect tense to be exact. Now for those of you who know me, you're chuckling to yourselves at this moment because you know the extent of my knowledge of English grammar- I can sometimes pick out the adverbs and adjectives on a good day. I didn't know the past perfect tense even EXISTED before this lesson. I'm sure somewhere my eighth grade English teacher started smiling to herself and didn't know why... I had 15/16 kids in my class again, including a few I had never seen before. One little boy was all over the place while the normal teacher did nothing. I don't know what's going on in that class...

Tuesday all of my language group made one lesson plan for all of our classes to celebrate Halloween. It went really well. My class only had 8 students in it, and was probably the most special (as usual). There was only one boy, and he had a hard time understanding the instructions when the regular teacher translated it into RUSSIAN. ::sigh:: The girls were really sweet still though. Their English isn't that great for the level they should be at, but they try really hard and want to learn which is all I ask. During the toilet paper mummy game though, the girl being mummified looked up pitifully and just pleaded "Miss Mary..." They're not so much into the hands-on with toilet paper stuff...Oh well.

Yesterday we went to one of the guy's houses to load music off each other's computers for when we're alone at site. His family insisted we stay for dinner. It's a Turkish family with the toilet on the outside (always bundles of fun in the dark). Three daughters and one son. One daughter and the son go to university, while the other daughters will probably get married. I found out how far the connections of my homestay, Galina Ivanovna, go. I had the guy's host mom call Galina, and apparently Galina had been his host dad's teacher. I jokingly asked Galina one day if she knew everybody in the village, and she just said, "Not the new people." Everyone else she has either taught them or their children.

My host mom's last last name is Commissarovna. Galina Ivanovna Commissarovna. Awesomeness. The other evening we talked a little more about Communism. I told her Americans usually don't understand why people liked or miss communism, and she went on talking about how much they charge for education and everything now. That's her big thing- how much it costs for kids and education.

Today we convinced our language teacher to let us out of lessons to make an excursion to the huge bazaar in Almaty to buy winter clothes. There are two big bazaars in Almaty- one in the center of town, and the other on the outskirts. The one on the outskits literally stretches for miles. It's impossible to make it through the whole thing. You just pick an opening and dive in. I love the bazaars, and watching all the activity and looking at all the things. I'm usually too much of a wuss to haggle much. Today I only got a shawl that was originally 1200 tenge down to 1100 tenge. Not much. Oh well. Maybe I'll get better at it.

Only a week left with Galina Ivanovna and my language group, then it's off for two years! I just don't know how I feel- I've become attached to Esik and Almaty. The warmth, friends who speak English, internet, Galina, and just knowing where everything is in a thriving multi-ethnic town that I'm not going to get up north. Galina and I fuss at each other a lot (more of her fussing before she starts laughing at my blank look) but we get along pretty well. Some other volunteers have had some problems with their homestays, while Galina and I still get along about the same and she still tries to shove the same amount of food down my throat. :)

Well, I've run out of time here in the internet cafe. Bye! Happy Belated Halloween!
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