Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Howie Substitute :)

Friday, Sept. 11
Blog #4
Wow, so I didn’t even realize all day today that it is 9/11, until writing this blog! That’s incredible! Again with the no lights... but not mad about it. Today we had language lessons and then some technical with Simbat (She’s amazing). These Kazakh national women who work with the Peace Corps truly have it going! So appreciative :) So a girl in my group had this insane story today about her host family’s dog. Dogs in this country are everywhere. They don’t bother you... it’s just really sad. They rummage in the ever present garbage everywhere... Most are extremely cute! (Some scary) Occasionally families will have dogs - either chained up by the house, or free inside the yard gate (more rare), but never inside dogs. There is this adorable puppy that hangs around the neighborhood I’m living in. I love him :) He is blonde and always dirty lol. He is always soo happy to see people and just wants to be petted so badly... He waits for me to come home from school and I give him my lunch leftovers (I know I’m not supposed to but I can’t help it!) Ablai, my host brother, calls him Rex lol. Anyways, Sarah, today, said that this morning she walked outside and found the remnants of a dog in her front yard! She said that her parents told her that their 2 yard dogs ate this dog that came onto their property! I mean like they ate everything, insides and all, only fresh bones and fur were left. Seriously cannibalistic dogs...! I was shocked... I mean as far as I had seen in this village dogs were all talk - but my whole perspective has changed lol. Really.
I learned another lesson today that maybe panty hose aren’t meant for Kazakhstan. Today was the first day that I wore panty hose to school. A brand new pair too. Not too far outside my house while Andrew and I were waiting for Echo, little Rex was soo happy to see me lol he jumped on my leg. Snag one. I knew that was going to happen, I mean I dodged him at least 3 times before the snag. But it wasn’t too bad. My skirt covered it fine, I wasn’t too concerned, I just took extra precautions during the rest of the walk. Scary bridge, pot holes, gangly branches, good to go. Then in school I noticed a huge hole on the back of one of my ankles lol. Just from walking period shredded the hose! Not so cute... and not exactly camouflage-able with a skirt. Lesson learned: wear tights, bring hose.
On the bright side... Lesson plans!! I have been assigned 5th form and 6th form. Form basically means grade. So, these grades are the first years that students learn English. I was sort of hoping for a young class simply because these kids are SO excited to participate and are all about learning, in the sweetest way. On the other hand, I sort of wanted an older class to be able to have some lessons with substance. I’m not sure what ideas that I have will actually be feasible at the level the students really are. Generally even at the 10th and 11th grade, there English isn’t really functional, it’s just based on memorization and translations. Either way it was soo refreshing in the sense that finally I have “control” of something... my own class :) I’m actually the “expert” of something in this country lol!
After class we decided it was time to make a Kazakh pizza. :) Laura, Andrew, Echo and I live right next to each other, walk to school together, and are all learning Kazakh together. So we bought some ingredients from the bazaar to make 2 delicious pizzas! Best idea ever. Very flavorful - peppers, lots of tomatoes, onion, cheese, garlic, basil, and oregano... mmm.... food here tends to be kind of bland at times. Everything worked out perfectly. Kazakhs hold bread to be sacred so there are plenty of choices for crusts. We bought this extremely common and inexpensive Uigger bread that is already shaped just like a pizza crust. Then we just chopped everything up, made a little sauce and tossed it into this microwave/oven and it was just the right size, and cooked just right. It tasted great and was fun to make together. Then we invited Laura’s family to try it - it was funny to see these people squirm the same way we do with bishbarmak in front of us lol! It went over well - surprise... lol who doesn’t like pizza, really!? We thought about making a pizza shop as our community project :) After eating, we worked on our lesson plans together... Laura brought soo many classroom supplies to work with! I didn’t. lol. Classes here don’t usually have much to offer - teachers are responsible for providing ALL supplies for the classrooms, even things like lights; and, teachers are ironically paid near nothing. Imagine how that may work... Anyways, Laura kindly invited us to use her things, although we didn’t even make it as far as to start making the materials we need. Raincheck on that...


  1. The dog story makes me a little sick - how sad. I'll send some recipes when we get your new address!! Glad you're making lemonade out of a few lemons. It's such a blessing to read this Noelle - praying for your next post!

  2. Can we mail you things? If so, we can mail you school supplies, you just tell us what you need and I will get it together and ship it to you!!!!! - email me a list of what you need!