Sunday, April 17, 2011

Week 5

Hey, all! There's not a lot to report this week. Things were very busy with lesson planning and teaching. My lessons went better, especially the Little Red Riding Hood-themed lesson on Monday. I'll begin teaching 8th grade as well this week, so I will have four lessons total. We'll see how those go! The group from Baltabai came yesterday for a scavenger hunt around Esik, which was enjoyable and a chance for us to do something other than sit around awkwardly in our host houses for a Saturday afternoon. We saw various sites around town - the hospital, the gynmasia, the stadium - and had to find some random things - a sleeping black dog, an old woman wearing a blue head scarf. Once we found and took pictures of all fifteen items, we had to describe them with adjectives or write a sentence about them. Points for creativity and timeliness. The winning group will get a night at PC HQ in Almaty, which means pizza and wireless internet. Wow! Not sure who will win yet . . . Tonight, our group is going to our Russian teacher's apartment to watch an American movie. Serenity has been suggested, but Easy A is also on the shortlist. Either way, we get to hear nothing but English for two hours. Weeee. :P (Not that I don't love Russian, but it's nice to have a break and not have to worry about sounding stupid because you can barely speak in full sentences.) Hope things are going well on the other side of the world! Talk to you kids soon.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


What glorious weather we're having today! It's warm and sunny and just gorgeous. It's mid-afternoon, and I'm definitely feeling that pleasantly sleepy feeling one gets on wonderful spring days. I just want to find a park and read a book! :D Well, some interesting stuff has happened this week. I think I already told you that we had dinner at our country director's apartment in Almaty last Sunday. That was fun because we got to go with another village and catch up with some friends, but also because we ate delicious food (cake!) and chatted about American things without feeling out of place. It was also a super nice apartment, so we got a view of the high life in Almaty. :P I talked a bit with a PC worker who'd visited Esik in the fall and met a brother at the Russian Orthodox church. He apparently spoke really good English, was very friendly, and offered to take her and her friend up to the monastery in the mountains in the spring where they make wine and honey. So now my friends and I are curious about this monk and monastery. We're trying to plan a time to go meet him. I will let you know how that works out. Either way, we'd love to get to the mountains. Today, we got shuttled into Almaty again, this time for a concert. Apparently the Nauryz celebration goes on for about a month, and the music college was putting on a concert. It was really neat to see all the different instruments. I'm still tinkling around with my dombra, but I was never great at musical theory, so I'm working on finding a teacher. My language teacher said he'd help find someone, maybe the music teacher at the school. Hopefully soon! I'm getting antsy with it just sitting in my room. This week was also a little hectic because we started teaching lessons. In addition to Russian classes, technical sessions, cross-cultural sessions, and English club, we now have to teach two classes a week (four starting in two weeks). Let me tell you - it was sort of a disaster. My introduction on Monday was fine. I wrote a poem about myself (although the students had trouble with the words relating to Pittsburgh - how do you explain 'pierogi' without cooking them?), and then did a group crossword puzzle with them, which went over well. But then on Wednesday when I had to 'team'-teach a lesson, it was downhill from there. For a warmup, I did a Shel Silverstein poem, which, again they enjoyed even if they didn't quite understand. But then the teacher only did the grammar, so I ended up doing the practice and production levels of the lesson. The students got confused during the practice, because we were doing exercises in the book, but I asked them to change the name in the example to the name of their partner at the desk. Not a good idea. Then they didn't understand when I asked them to write sentences and it was a little bit of a mess. I may not be good at this! Anyways, I have a Little Red Riding Hood-themed lesson planned for Monday, so hopefully they will be more engaged and be able to better understand that. Phew. Right now, I'm going to relax and enjoy the day! Maybe take a nap. ;) Catch you guys on the flip side!

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Trying out Mail2Blog via the kindle.

So this has been a strange week. We had dinner at the country director's apartment in Almaty on Sunday, which was slightly surreal. A flush toilet! A flatscreen! The New Yorker! Crazy, but fun to relax and see the group from Baltabai.

Then we had school intros on Monday and first classes on Wed. My intro went well. I wrote a poem about myself and did a group crossword, which the kids liked a lot. But my class yst was a little crazy. Not sure I am cut out for this teacher thing yet!

Tidbits: Got more yarn for my scarf at the bazaar today. Learned the Russian word for 'shiny.' Reading Secret Garden and Scarlet Pimpernel. Found the post office but am in class when it's open. Going to Almaty on Sat for a concert of some kind haha. Missing hamburgers!

And I miss you all of course. :P 'Til next time! Go, Bucs!