Monday, June 27, 2011

On stranger tides

It has been an extremely productive first week. We all loved our first group of students very much. We've just gotten started with our second group. Last weeks group was a mix of younger students from about 15-21, had about 5 guys and 8 girls. Right now we've got about 14 girls and one guy in our class. Most of these girls are about our age I think, and some are quite cute. However, I believe we may have a spy amongst us, as Nailia has put two of her nieces in the class. They aren't saying much at the moment, so I am watching them closely. I think they are younger; I'm sure one of them is only 14.

Last week was a lot of fun. We had quite a few amazing experiences, such as having manti at one of our student's home and being given traditional Kazakh hats, as well as a robe, which I am told is a wrestler's robe.

Class is about to start, so I will have to finish this later.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Arrival in Kazakhstan

We arrived in Kazakhstan at 1:30 AM Local time, June 19th, 2011. As Eric says: "June 18th was lost in the space time continual." I hate losing a day like that...

Travelling went well, but it was quite exaushting. Met a very nice girl from Arizona, who was on her way to her grandfather's funeral in Manchester. She's a dual citizen and her father had been in the British army. Quite an interesting tale.

Our arrival in Kazakhstan was somewhat marred for Eric when discovered the man next to him on the plane was masturbating under the blanket...Needless to say, I think he was quite scarred, as any reasonable person would be. We had to wait at the airport for several hours until we could get our tickets and fly to Semey. I think Eric dislikes flying even more than I do.

We were riding on the bus to get from the main airport building to our plane; I was explaining to Eric how I was pleasantly surprised that we didn't have to carry our luggage to the plane and load it ourselves. I was in the process of explaining to him that the plane I had previous flown on was an old Soviet junker; I looked out the window and saw an old soviet era two propellored plane, gestured to it and said "But hey, it wasn't anything like that."

Murphey's law would of course dictate than I was to be punished for my hubris and gall to insult the Glorious Red Airforce, and no sooner had I said this, than the bus stopped and doors opened, and lo and behold, we had arrived at our mode of transportation. To be honest however, this flight went much better than might otherwise be expected and I was pretty excited to check out a prop plane, as I had never flown in one and I was always attracted to the old WWI and II era planes.

Our arrival in Semey was not to quite as much fanfare as my first trip--no dancing girls and candy being thrown at us. However, I ran into Medina, one of my students from last time, which was a pleasant experience. I've been very fortunate this time around, Max, the kid I traded a flag for two army uniforms. Viktor, an old hand that I have run into every time I visited Semey and I traded him my highlighted and well loved copy of Starship Troopers, was at the Institute as one of the main overseers for our class (read Commissar!)

We have about five main assistants to our program, all 3rd year girls, and quite attractive to boot. Hopefully I can upload some photos soon; you won't believe which one of them is married and has a 1.4 year old son...

Our students are also very good; the first day was a little rough getting started, but they have started opening up. Most of them are quite younger than than us--16 to 20 I think. Some of these girls will be pretty cute when they are older. Jonathan's quite a lucky man--maybe his decision not to cut his hair has paid off, as he is sort of a celebrity here with the ladies since long hair is quite uncommon. However, that just is not something I can ever allow myself to do.

Running out of time here in the internet cafe; we left Jonathan back at the flat to hold down the fort and I fear he will be missing us. I will finish later.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Back to Kazakhstan

It's been a long time for updates, but here I go...

The great news is that I'm going to go back to Kazakhstan tomorrow! I get to go teach another english camp; except this time I'm going with three other guys. This time however, Dr. Lee and Naila have asked me to be the official leader of the group...more respect and more responsibility too...
The nice thing is that this is going to be more like a camp, so I think it'll actually end up being much simpler than it was last time. Not to mention, I'll have more people working with me, so it should be a lot easier to work it out.

I hope this'll go well and we'll do a good a job for the school. I made Nailia a little mad a year or two ago, so I really want to make sure that I do well. She seems to be fine with me now, but I still want to prove myself a hard worker and a good teacher.

I'm still pretty nervous about this whole trip, but I guess it'll be what it will be. Wish us luck, and I'll try to keep this updated!