Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Comrade Stalin Wants learn to cook

Argh...been working a bit harder than I would like.  But I suppose I can't complain as I needed the money and haven't been working all that hard before this month and all I really had to do was teach my basic three classes, tutor two people, create a test, administer and grade it.  Which sounds like a lot, but to be honest, isn't really all that much.  And I got paid some extra for the tutoring gigs, which is nice since my first IELTS class has finished up and I won't be getting as much since the Intermediate class I do is to cover the room I've been given.

At any rate, I have been busier than I was before...

So first things first:
Way back around Real New Year (since right now is Nauryz--or as I so politically correctly refer to it as "Fake New Year" or "New Year for People Who Don't Like the Sun") I was hanging out with Murat, Marat, and Mum (Since Kazakh people tend to use British English, I'll use Mum for her and Mom for my real mom--love you Mom!).  After Murat had come back to the house and we were having a late dinner one night...somehow (and I'm seriously not sure how it happened) our talk turned towards a more historical and political nature and eventually that history spread to include our good friend Uncle Joe!  And boy, did Marat (the dad) have some strong opinions.

For one: Did you know that without Stalin the Soviet Union would have lost WWII?

 And that the purges were necessary?

And Finland and the Baltics were totally asking for it.

So were the Ukrainians.

The Kazakhs were an unfortunate piece of collateral damage that was necessary to prepare the Soviet Union for WWII.

Trotsky was the devil.

If Stalin hadn't ordered Trotsky's assassination, Trostky would have (somehow) prevented the US from giving lend lease to the Soviet Union and also prevented the US from allying with the Soviet Union, thus allowing the Nazis to win WWII.

I should note that my roommate and colleague, Victor agrees with most of the stuff above, except for the Trotsky being able to affect US policy.  On the other hand, he has absolutely zero sympathy for the Eastern Europeans since in his view they were Nazis.  Why the Finns, Ukranians and other Baltics might have supported the Germans after Stalin's treatment of them is not a question he seems to consider worthy of response.  They were Nazis.  That's why Stalin went after them. They're still Nazis.  That's why they deserved what happened to them.  But Napoleon was an evil, perverted, midget.

No comical exaggeration here.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Winter comes down

It has been far too long since I've update this.  But I plead the reader's indulgence.  I've been working more than before and I've gotten an extra group to work with, but the trade off is that now I'm working even more on Saturdays...meaning I spend at least three hours at the Pushkin Library and then go back and teach for another hour and a half at EKSU.  That doesn't count the truly awful bus ride getting their and back...but hopefully that'll improve as someone has told me about another way to get there and back.  I hope it'll work...

I'm getting quite exhausted, but I suppose it is  kind of my fault.  I spend a bit of my time wasted since I usually have a long lunch with Victor since he doesn't like the canteen here.  But then I also have a tea in the afternoon with the canteen since i work in the evenings I don't show up to work later.  So it is my fault...

Anyway, I'm feeling a little crummy--the weather here is warming up, which might initially be thought to be a good thing...but that means the snow is melting and now the ground is muddy, dirty, and gray.  It is a thoroughly depressing sight, which is not aided by how terrible riding a bus was's all just kind of meh.  When I'm done with class tonight, I think I'll try to let you all know what has been going on here.

By the way, Victor has been making fun of my cooking concoctions:   He seems to think they are weird and can't be delicious.  I think he is crazy.