I had a feeling this day would come soon lol... After coming home from our “After School Activities”, (English Club), My host mom and I sat down and had chai (tea) and talked, if you so venture to call it talking lol. It was nice - I think we both were on the same page for the most part... talking about how we should have our hair cut next, etc. (she thinks I should cut mine very short and dye it red! eek lol) sometimes I wish I were in God’s position so I could just laugh hysterically at the conversations that go on in our kitchen! Who knows what the person you are talking to is understanding from what you try and say! It has be funny to someone up there! Anyway, there are really pretty Kazakh folk songs in our language book that Aigul is helping us learn... They are so pretty, one especially - its called Kөзімнің Қарасы (Kozemning Karaca maybe?) by a famous Kazakh poet Abai (Aбай). It’s like a lullaby. So I tried to tell my host mom about our songs in class - then it just resulted to singing a sorry version of what I could remember lol. She was quite pleased by my attempt lol and we sang for a while, trading songs back and forth- I could barely keep up! I had heard that people love to sing here but I hadn’t really seen it ‘till today! She was just a-singin and a-singin! lol it was really cute. (I performed my songs about 4 more times throughout the evening as other family members came home... :)
We cleaned up and cooked and as we were chopping up vegetables, she brought out the KUMICE lol. Again, having heard about kumice... I had some sort of idea what we were in for... lol. My host mom was pretty excited about the thought of me trying some kumice... telling me in our custom sign language that it was milk with alcohol... from some animal.. I’m not really sure about which one she was referring to (the sound didn’t sound like a horse but I have no clue what a camel would sound like lol) and I can’t remember if it is from mare’s milk or camel milk - I think I remember hearing about both? Anyways, I know it wasn’t from any animal I would ever associate with milk lol. She gladly poured me a glass and... and there I was - to drink or not to drink... lol I can’t explain how difficult it is to politely decline something here. Anything. It’s nearly impossible! Kazakh mothers are sooo insistent, almost to the point of being offensive. I decided to just forget about trying to get out of it. We had been having a nice time together thus far why ruin it. (She even bought more халова, halova, for me... Shannon you should look for it at trader joe’s its delicious - like a cement looking dessert made of sunflower seeds and honey... I love it! Mom and Elana try it too if you find it anywhere) Anyways, so down it went.... Well one gulp anyway. It was so disgusting! lol. It didn’t taste like much at first... I actually, for the first millisecond, enjoyed it just because it was finally a cold drink that I was drinking! Then, it was the strongest but grossest taste I have ever tasted. Salty, bitter, sour. Nasty... My host mom had a good laugh at the face I couldn’t help but make lol. Nonetheless, she insisted that I drink more... hey, at least she’s consistent. Add one more more notch on Nina’s Kazakhstan belt!
Oh, I taught my second class today. It was to the same students, this time half of them though - so I think around 13 kids maybe. I knew that first class was too good to be true... This class, yeah, not so hot. I was supposed to be team teaching with my counterpart, Gulnara. So, planning the lesson was pretty much a disaster to begin with. What I understood of our little conversation was that the lesson was on introductions questions (how are you, how old are you) and numbers 1-12. She was presenting the new information, I was practicing it with games. Yeah. That didn’t happen. (For being an English teacher, I didn’t expect the conversation to be so difficult) I stayed up all night making these posters and cards and things, made a solid lesson plan... the whole deal. The materials PC supplies us with to make the things for our classes are these big off-white flip chart pages, tape, and markers - then, whatever else you can muster up for yourself from the bazaar. I usually cut up the big papers to make smaller poster - trying to be more resourceful and economical lol. So I made these posters then rolled them up together... different sizes - not thinking about it. Made my way to school at 8 and by the time I got to school and actually found the classroom I was supposed to be teacing in, I realized that my smaller posters must have slipped out of my roll on the walk to school! Great... It didn’t matter in the end - my class still could barely get past the alphabet. We started sort of a memory game that my kids just weren’t catching on to. It was pretty much a disaster lol. Gulnara didn’t say a word all class, except for yelling and scolding students for making mistakes during the games. And I mean she would rip them a new one... For being such cute little women, these teachers can really strike fear in the hearts of children lol. and me. So yeah, I overestimated the level of my students and didn’t pay any attention to time management. It’s really hard to explain directions in a way that these kids will understand... in a language that they don’t understand! Oh well, I’ll learn.
I just had the most hilarious time with Ablai. I have these videos of him that I really need to post! He. Is. A. Ninja. Turtle. We did flips and handstands and kicks, and karate chops together. Then he wanted to perform... so he went at it against the imaginary bad guys while I taped him... his imagination reminds me of Teddy. I think he has really helped me transition through “culture shock” - being able to just escape to an imaginary world that isn’t home, and isn’t Kazakhstan lol. Not talk in English or in Kazakh, or in Russian - but in sound effects. I don’t know. I’m really going to miss this guy when we move away to our permanent sites!