Friday, April 13, 2012

Update... of sorts

Thanks to Giorgio, one of my former students, you are about to get more updates to this blog (I hope). I stopped posting to it because I couldn’t access it and I assumed that it had been shut down. It turns out that I can’t seem to access any blogger blogs but other people can access mine, leading me to speculate that there might be some type of barrier that shuts out all blogger sites. Internet provider barrier? Government barrier? Blogger (itself) barrier? Who knows. I’m glad that folks can still get to it and I wish I were able to check it and make sure that the formatting (and other stuff) is okay.

Of course, there’s not much going on right now. My stomach has been doing the Kyrgyz Rumba (not as severe as the Kyrgyz cleanse, but apparently longer-lasting). I, of course, am completely refusing to give in to its demands. I’ve continued drinking tea (I’ve moved on to Ceylon from Assam simply because one of the other teachers left behind a full stock of the stuff. She also left behind a ton of Earl Grey, but even I have my limits). I’ve also continued eating vegetables. Now, one might think that that is a good thing. Veggies, right? Good for you and all that stuff. But the only veggies available here are those members of the cabbage family: cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage… And, of course, onions and beets and turnips. These are probably not the wisest choices of foods to put into your body when it is considering staging a revolution. But April is the revolution season in Kyrgyzstan and my stomach is apparently honoring that tradition. If it does reach its limit, though, this will certainly be no Tulip Revolution.

But enough about my stomach. I’m beginning to sound like my grandmother. Every phone conversation with her always followed the same pattern (which, coincidently, followed the very same path that food took through the body—with a brief digression into the weather at some point).

So, naturally, speaking of the weather… absolutely perfect. Spring is as wonderful as winter was miserable. The Kyrgyz are very proud of their spring—and rightly so. For the past two or three weeks now the days have been exactly the same: overnight lows of about 7 degrees, highs of about 24 degrees, birds singing, trees budding, green and healthy grass springing up in the cracks of the pavement, feral dogs snarling and barking when you attempt to walk past them, homeless men emerging from their winter hiding places to collect the plastic bottles that have accumulated in the streets over the past several months, the snow in the mountains receding just a little bit each day, outdoor cafes and restaurants sweeping away the dust and setting up for business, pregnant women walking the streets without worrying about slipping on ice and miscarrying, the smell of shashlik in the air… well, you get the picture.

Last Tuesday evening I was able to attend the Russian Ballet’s performance of Swan Lake. It was a one-night-only deal—and boy was it a big deal in town. I think the main dancers were flown in from Russia (Russia! Our glorious foster mother!) while the bit parts appeared to have been danced by local dancers. The orchestra was also local… eh, yeah. Once they got warmed up a bit, they weren’t too bad. The strings were a bit off key (but then, that may have just been me. Violins always sound out of tune to me.) and the low brass was a bit “blaaahhhhhty” (I think that really is a technical musical term). The oboist was a bit shaky when he came in after not playing for a while and he didn’t seem to have complete control of his dynamic range, dropping off on sustained pianissimo notes—but all in all, a pretty amazing experience. (And shit—Russian ballet. I mean, this is a big deal for me. Not that I even like ballet, but I love Stravinsky and—without even having seen any of his choreography—Diaghilev—in a whole “lets-have-a-ballet-and-start-a-riot” kind of way, so… yeah, big deal. Add to all that the fact that my sister and I wore out a VHS cartoon version of Swan Lake when we were kids—and the fact that she named her daughter after the white swan—and the fact that the kid was a swan for her first Halloween… well, there it is.

Anyway, in order to attend the ballet, the school had to shift Tuesday’s classes. To Saturday night. Yeah. I figured that wouldn’t fly with my students, so I arranged a picnic for Saturday afternoon instead. Bread, cheese, kelbasa, coffee cake (made by the English teacher)… and half-hearted attempts to speak in English. Should be fun.

Speaking of students… well, I’ll have to do so later. I’ve just spoken to the gents and we’ve arranged to go to Orto-Sai Market (Bazaar / Souk) in about ten minutes. Time to go get more veggies and apples. (Yes, stomach, you have to go too. Trust me, it will be good for you.)

But I will comment on my students, including these factors/characteristics: general level of education, passivity versus initiative, creativity, and ambiguity tolerance.


At 3:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't suppose you'd be interested in this type of thing... (There's also one posted for Falls Church, VA).


At 3:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This blog is DEAD!!!!!!!!!


Post a Comment

<< Home