All Coming to an End
Trip Start Aug 20, 2006
49Trip End Ongoing
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I found out there is going to be a girl NGO near Ust-Kamenogorsk, though in a village on the opposite side of the city from me.
There was another ET (early termination). He decided he wouldn't fit into his site, and to leave before he got to site and disapointed a counterpart and school. It's a hard decision to make, whether to ET or not. The US will be a hard readjustment, but it's also hard living here. It shakes everyone up a little bit when someone ETs, since it reminds you the option is always there and makes you reassess why you're doing what you're doing.
I finally have a flickr picture site! Right now I only have around 30 pictures on the site from my early days here in Esik, before I was kicked off the internet at the Peace Corps office. Hopefully more will be on the way. The website is www.flickr.com/photos/fermentedhorsemilk.
I've realized how much I've come to rely on all the people around me here in Esik. My language instructor (if nothing for questions about Almaty and entertainment), teaching instructor (questions about lesson plans, a safe apartment to hang out at instead of being stuck at home), the other volunteers (specifically my language group) and my homestay mom. It was weird on the bus the other evening- one of our guys was talking to the other guy in the language group about, "Yeah, we can do it later. Wait- I'm not going to be seeing you every day!" It's so weird.
Our language test was on Tuesday. I only scored an Intermediate Low- the average was Novice High/Intermediate low. Only one guy from my village got Intermediate Mid. It was frustrating during the test- I know friggin' words, but you wouldn't know it to hear me speak in the language test! The other tester was asking the questions we'd been trained to answer- tell me about your family in America, your town, the weather today. I was the lucky bunny that got the tester asking questions such as, "Oh, your favorite sport is frisbee? Tell me how you play that..." Uhhhh.... (can't say ummm anymore. very very dirty word in Kazakh) That question's answer does not pull up the proper vocabulary from my memory banks. I ended up answering (imagine this in even poorer grammar than I can express here and have it still understandable): "Uhhh, there are two groups. One groups throws (oh yes, the random vocabulary Mary knows) the frisbee to the second group. The first group wants the left side of the field, the second wants the right. Uhhh.. (crap, why didn't I say run? I know that motion verb! Oh @(*$, what's the word for 'score', of all things?) Uhhhh.... I then just looked at her helplessly. She then asked if I liked to cook. I know how to answer that one: "I don't cook." I should have said I don't know how to, maybe it would have headed off the question, "Have you ever watched your host mother cook? Does she make pelmeni? How does she make it?" Uhh...I can't answer that in English. I mumbled something about meat and onions being put on something while I made the hand motions for rolling dough. She let that question go pretty quickly. My final fun question, "What are you reading right now? Please describe it to me." I was semi-prepared for this question, and had already decided to describe a story I had already read instead of what I was actually reading. Now, this was not because I'm astounding and could talk for hours on this one story. It was that I could actually translate the title, which I thought was probably necessary to at least start this description off on a good foot. "Matryona's House, by Alexander Solshenitsyn." "Uhhh, there is a (crap what's the word for narrator), uh, uh, Solshenitsyn who was in a gulag goes to live with an old woman named Matryona (so much for other phrases I know, like he wanted to be alone and away from everyone else, he was a teacher, he was a prisoner. Oh well). Matryona's son/brother, I don't remember, wanted her second story as an apartment. When they put the apartment on a cart, and took it down the road (oops forgot to mention they were drunk) and then they...." Imagine at this point widly flailing arms and then me clapping my fist into my other palm and trying to reenact a wreck. I bet it sounded wonderful on the tape recorder. "...a train." "Yes, it was bed. Matryona dead." The end. No more mention of Matryona's sisters or anything at the end of the story. Oh well. When it was my turn to ask her questions, I just asked her about books she liked. It went pretty badly as well. ::sigh:: Such is life when you're basically a mute in a country that you don't speak the language of.
If anyone wants to send me Christmas music CDs or the Grinch cartoon (on DVD), that would be cool.
I'll know my new address soon. Apparently the last volunteer in my village had his mail sent directly to the village without any problems, so we'll see how that goes. I haven't had any luck getting my address since whenever I ask about it, I just get told to call my counterpart who's just as equally confused as everyone else. Fun times.
Well, I've run out of time for today. Bye!!!