Thursday, May 13, 2010

Written May 5, 2010

A brief update on recent happenings.

We’re organizing a 10K run! We’ve discovered a runner’s gold mine in our village: a straight, fairly smooth, relatively secluded, safe road. After realizing how many people in our trainee group run a few from our village decided to organize a race as a way to celebrate at the end of our pre-service training (PST) next month. There will also be a 5K fun run/walk, and of course everyone is welcome to join the cheering section if physical activity at 8:00 in the morning isn’t exactly your idea of a good time. We’ve already circulated a sign-up sheet and quite a few people have expressed interest - I’m pretty excited! I’ve been trying to run on a regular basis, partly to sustain routine and partly to curb the amount of weight I’m gaining by eating inordinate amounts of bread and jam. In fact, members of my language group call me malina, which means “raspberry” in Kyrgyz, since I’m particularly partial to the raspberry variety.

On the teaching front: I’ve led three English classes now, all to different age groups. I’m slowly learning effective ways to teach vocabulary and grammar, but the fact that we switch classes regularly (and only teach once a week) makes it a little difficult to build on previous lessons. Basically, we write isolated lesson plans; I suppose I’ll have to learn how to link my lessons when I get to my permanent site and start working with my counterpart.

Tomorrow we’re having our first language “test.” We’re halfway through PST now, so this is more of a check-up to make sure our Kyrgyz is progressing at a satisfactory rate (read: so we’re not at a complete loss when we’re moved to our permanent sites where we’ll most likely be the only native English speakers in our villages). I’m impressed with how much we’ve learned in the past month. Granted, I’m not the best Kyrgyz speaker in my group, but I can get along in a bazaar, communicate necessary/important information to my host family, and even understand a joke or two which is a massive improvement from a month ago.

Tomorrow I’m hoping to make cookies with my apa. I’m pretty sure she’s convinced that I can’t cook at all since I don’t know how to make any Kyrgyz foods, so I’d like to prove to her that I’m not completely incompetent in the kitchen. I helped make dinner this past Sunday (with the entire family - apparently I required significant supervision), and when we finished my ata proudly informed me that someone will marry me now that I know how to cook. Perfect.

Hopefully my future posts won’t be so infrequent. There’s always news to share, it’s just a matter of getting it posted.

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