Saturday, September 30, 2006

End of September...

Had a few text messages asking when the next entry would be which I really appreciated as it means that people are actually reading what I write! Sorry for the pause. It has been quite a busy week. Having an interpreter makes a lot of difference – things can happen a lot faster – and it has just been unlucky that I have not made it onto the computer to get online. But do not fear she will not be with me much longer because she is going back to work next weekend so the search for another will begin again.

The week has been very productive but ended very difficultly – more of that later. I’ve been into two more schools, met the English teachers and head as well as the PSHE coordinators and delivered seminars to the 15/16 year olds in each school. Getting a bit bored with doing the same seminar – the count is up to 11 now – so next week we are changing part around and that should make it more interesting. The second organisation I am working with had an official launch party which I had no idea about but it attracted 500 people and I had to give a mini speech – just a few words of congratulation – but got a roaring applause! The novelty of being the foreigner has still not worn off even though I am working my way through the school in an attempt to meet as many people as possible. The concert was great and a real celebrity was there – the local radio has one guy doing all the jingles and the news and he was there in person. If I had known how to say it I would have asked for his autograph as he has kind of cult status.

Russian lessons are moving along and I discussed, in broken Russian, Lady Chatterley’s Lover with my teacher on Thursday because she asked me what I was reading and had read the book but did not know anything about the history of the book so I filled her it. Took quite a long time but I got there and I was very proud of myself afterwards. All I need to do now is get the grammar, and tenses and agreements and so on correct!

Had quite a few phone calls this week which has been great. Artem seemed impressed with my Russian although he said I made a few mistakes! When I went into a shop on Thursday I had a little conversation with the woman because I remembered her from a previous time and she said to me how she could now understand what I said but when I first can that she had no idea. That was a compliment in itself but I was quite impressed I understood what she was telling me – it is a lot easier to lead the conversation than to follow one and it was the first time I can think of when that has happened. But then later that day I went to my new interpreters house and even when I spoke Russian her mother-in-law needed it repeated so I gave up and spoke in English.

The onions are in the market. Great big lorries full of sacks of onions. The normal lady I go to for fruit has turned into an onion hustler and has two great big trucks of onions and about 6 people working for her shifting great sacks around the place. Quite a site and I am going back with my camera later today hopefully and will take some photos.

Having some great conversations with the matrons in the orphanage which is back to being a boarding school as all the orphans have been taken to a different city. There is one in particular that I sit with when she works evenings and drink tea and eat fruit and sweets with after the kids have gone to bed until the early hours and she is tuned into my Russian now so we can have some quite good conversations about Kazakhstan and the UK.

Dance has been progressing but not very fast. Tango is definitely not for me and the Waltz is quite difficult too. The only one I have been able to do is the Cha-Cha and I know I can do it because the other students are quite supportive when I get something right and try to teach me when I do something wrong – it is just the teacher who adopts a firmer style of tuition! Still I quite enjoy it and it does give me something to do apart from work.

Not all great through. The week ended difficultly with the coordinator of one of the organisations saying that I was not working well and that why was I not helping them and why was I only helping other organisations. I refuted this and I had my first argument in Russian but it has really wound me up. I explained that I can only work when she tells me what is going on. When she ignores me I cannot work - she has not spoken with me about anything substantive for two week. She was not happy about the reworking of my time to help all organisations rather than just hers and I think she can see things happen in the other places I am working and not with her. Anyway f you want to find out more you can give me a call because every time I write anything it turns into a ‘she said this and I said that’ kind of story. Needless to say I need to sort this out fast so will try again to explain why I am her and what support I need to be able to work but with an interpreter present. Office politics and rivalry seems to transcend the world!

On a brighter note I am off to have my hair cut. Who knows what I will come back looking like. Last time I was a little nervous in the hairdressers chair as I was given a grade 1 for an inch around my ears and I think this added to the nerves of the woman cutting my hair. So the tactic this time is to be calm and go with the flow – I think rather than ask for a style which they cannot do and have no ideas how to do it is better to have what they are best at! All the kids this morning have been saying how cool my hair looks because it is in a side parting with no gel ready to be cut rather than gelled into place.

Heating has been turned on but I have bought an electric heater because it is cold inside the buildings and I guessed it will only get colder!

Hope this makes up for the radio silence and I’ll try and get online…



Blogger sara said...


great to hear from you....wounds like you are having alot of fun. Borat has just released his new film, and the title was the answer to a question in a pub quiz today....nobody got it right, but we did spell kazakhstan right (didn't we?!).

Mick and I went off to paris last weekend for our anniversary....which we shared with about 10 irish folks! We went to the prix de l'arc which is a great flat race in europe...and I won! Won loads of cash...which was nice....went for cocktails in the George V (fancy paris hotel) and spent loads of cash!! Good fun all round.

Steve was on CNN this week as an expert in internet gaming...I didn't get to see it, but mum said he looked very handsome and didn't lick his lips too much!!

Alex has just done a last round up of shopping before bump arrives and has decided not to buy any toys, and to leave all that sort of fun stuff to siblings!

It is really great getting your updates...hope the haircut went ok, that the dancing is improving and that you are still having fun.

I will call soon.

how is the weather...just started getting a little chilly here, but only a little chilly!

love you tom and remember don't breathe too deeply!

sara x

4:36 PM  

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