Thursday, June 11, 2015

Rolling down to Almaty

So this blog is finally getting an update--which can only mean one possible thing: I'm travelling for some reason!  This time, I'm heading back to Kazakhstan to spend two months in Almaty--the largest city in the country.  While there, I'll be at KIMEP the country's oldest (being a relative term) "Western Style" university.  While I'm there, I'll be doing an intensive Russian language course, along with four other students from the University of Kansas.

It's been so long since I've published anything here, so I'll need to explain a few things.  Since I came back from Kazakhstan in October of 2013 (due mainly to the office I was part of shrinking down to just me and the university finally deciding it wasn't worth it keeping me around, so they let me go), I spent a little bit of time trying to figure out what to do back home.  I spent the spring of 2014 working as an (unpaid) intern at the National World War I Museum and Memorial, which was a great deal of fun.  I got to do a little bit of snooping to try and find ties between businesses today and World War I and that led to some pretty interesting discoveries--for example I learned that Boeing's first contract was sea planes for the US Navy.  When I wasn't doing that, I spent my mornings or afternoons taking school groups on tours of the museum.  The job was fantastic--I only wish it had paid something.

I also spent my free time on the weekends working at the Homestead Nursery on 10th Street in Leavenworth.  It was a pretty good paying job for what it was (~$10 an hour), but it was a lot of hard work with plants and it played hell with my allergies.    But after that spring, I was admitted into the Center for Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies at KU.  So that summer I did an intensive Russian course to catch up, and in the fall I started classes there.

I've had a bit rough time with it--motivation has kind of been sapped--I feel like I've got a horrible case of senioritis and I've been really having to force myself to get things done.   Part of the problem is that it's just difficult to figure out what I'm doing and where I'm going with this MA, so it's all very intimidating.  Plus, I don't feel that I've really gotten much direction from the school and I'm not comfortable with what I'm going to do with my thesis and MA program overall.

But that's a worry for a later date.  Now I'm heading to KIMEP with Mike, Asa, Garrett, and Josh.  I'll be there for two months, and I'm both excited and nervous.  Excited about going back--nervous because I'm bringing more of myself (gained weight with my senioritis) and I'm afraid how people will react--they're not always the most tactful.  Additionally, it looks like I'll have a lot of work this summer for my directed readings course, along with the intensive Russian course.

But I'll get through it, I guess.

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