I haven't written in a while, but that's because not a lot has been happening. There's not a whole lot to do because it's summer, so I've just been working at my school's summer camp every day from 9 to 2. Even with tutoring twice a week, my schedule leaves me with a lot of free time. I've been trying to start up an English film club, but I'm having a tough time getting it to take. I think interest is just down because it's summer. And the poster I put up mysteriously disappeared . . . Not sure what that's about, but if I can get it started, that'll help me fill up my schedule.
I have a lot of time for reading and writing. I finished the second Game of Thrones novel (which I gifted myself for my bday!), which is over 1000 pages in print, in about a week and a half. I think that gives you an idea of what my evenings are like. I'm also almost finished with I Capture the Castle, one of my faves, but I'm not sure what to read next. Hit me up with suggestions. And a big thanks to my family members who sent movies. They're lifesavers! Especially on the weekends where there's no work. I'm stuck inside if the weather's bad, and a movie in English is the perfect way to get away for a few hours.
To your surprise, I imagine, I have in fact been keeping up pretty well with my jogging, although this may have less to do with my willpower and more to do with one of my fellow volunteer friends. We were told by an older class that they ran marathons during their service, so we decided to make a similar goal. Although ours is maybe only a 10K! But we try to keep each other on track (and sometimes give each other days off!). It's easier having a friend doing this with me, especially because running is decidedly not my thing, and because no one here even has a clue what softball is. Bummer. However, I recently got invited by one of the gym teachers to play basketball with her and a few girls. I accepted right away just because it's exercise that's not running and because maybe it's a chance to meet some more people, but I honestly am not quite sure what it's about yet. I thought it was just getting together for practice, but then someone was saying something about a competition and I'm like, "Oh, this is one of those lost in translation things that I won't understand until it happens." So I'll keep you updated on that.
So, my life is quite even keel at the moment, but my friends and I were able to get together the weekend before the Fourth. A big boost to all of our morale, I think, because it was great to see each other and relax and not worry about foreign languages or fitting in for the weekend. We have to go to Almaty again in August for more PC stuff, so I'll get to see everyone. Looking forward to that.
I also went into the city this past weekend to meet up with some other volunteers so we can get some shopping done. I got a soccer ball (why, yes, I did type 'football' at first; my father will be so ashamed), but couldn't find any yarn for scarves for my friends! I also wanted to find some gifts for the summer bdays in my family, but . . . shipping things to America is very expensive. You all may just get belated cards. ;)
The most exciting part of the weekend, however, was that we got to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2! In Russian, of course. My first time at a Kazakhstani movie theater. The crowds are every bit as unruly as American ones. No qualms about answering phones during the movie (It's Harry Potter, for goodness's sakes! Or Garry Potter, as they call him in Russian). We teased one of our friends a lot, because he is becoming so comfortable with this culture that even he answered his phone during the movie! I'll have you know that I let mine ring, and fixed the problem by sending one text. One. That's all, I swear! And we've noticed an aversion to salt here, which means that the popcorn is sweet. Cool if that's your cup of tea. Too bad my favorite kind back home was homestyle! The kinds we saw looked like caramel and some sort of multi-colored fruity popcorn?
The theater seats were also assigned, which I thought was interesting, but which apparently happens in America sometimes. When you go to buy the tickets, there's a screen that shows you the open seats. You then tell the cashier the seat numbers you want. However, we being slightly obsessed with touch-screen technology, kept trying to touch the seats we wanted. Finally the girl, whose English was decent enough, we think, to catch on to our stupidity, told us that it was not, in fact, a touch screen. Oh.
Thank goodness we saw Part 2 and not Part 1, because we could understand it! There were a few lengthy dialogue scenes that we sort of only got the gist of, but for the most part, yeah, we were right there along for the ride and enjoying ourselves to boot. Way more than we bargained for. The visuals and knowing the book definitely helped, although occasionally we had mini-freakouts because we were so excited that we understood the dialogue. Even with the dubbing, the movie was pretty great. An excellent Saturday night, I'd say.
Once again, hope everyone is doing well! Happy birthday to all the July birthdays! – Mom, my aunt, my cousin, two of my best friends, and Garry Potter.