Saturday, November 28, 2009

Really... Kazakhstan?

Blog 37
November 22

The past couple of days have been rough. I'm frustrated with the language, being treated like I'm two, not having any friends lol, people breaking their commitments, no one smiling - ever., eating greasy potatoes like it's a special entree, and I caught some kind of cold. I got a little grumpy yesterday after waiting 2 hours after the agreed upon time for my tutor to show up. Then she did, and we studied a little - the session was less than productive. She spent at least 2 minutes looking up the word vowel, which was printed in big black letters in English beside the corresponding letters. Then she had two lessons to teach and told me to just wait there until she comes back... didn't happen. At first I thought... ok, I haven't been spending much time on Kazakh lately, so maybe I can use these 2 hours to keep studying... that lasted 20 minutes. Then I thought, maybe I can use the Internet for a little while - on the one computer with Internet in the school. It was closed. It's been closed the last 5 times I've tried it. What's the point of having the thing?
I ended up writing a broken note to Dinara, "I go home. We study Kazakh a different day. Thank you helping me. Noelle" Lol. My host mom happened to walk in the teacher's lounge and I showed her. She laughed. The previous day we had a impromtu meeting about the flu. My host mom looked like a member of the KKK with a tall pointy white hat, white robe, and a white mask... 7 of 10 people in the school had those masks on. Yesterday, my host mom made me wear one to school too. lol. I felt like either a storm trooper or a leper, I'm not entirely sure. All I had was a cold. I would see students wear them, then when they have to sneeze - lift the thing up and sneeze all over whatever's in front of them. Worthless masks.
Johnny was going to come visit my site, but my mom said to wait because she wasn't going to be home. So, I went to his town with the intentions of using the Internet and coming home - quick trip. His host mom, of course, had me eat something first... She's a real trip. She yelled at me for my coat, my pants, my boots, and probably more that I just couldn't understand. Mind you it has been warming up the past couple of days - snow's melting. I thought she was mad that I didn't wear jeans (I had long johns and sweatpantsish pants, quick trip) After leaving, Johnny told me she was saying that I am destroying my woman parts, and she'll see me in the hospital. I'm sick of people acting like I don't know what it's like to feel cold. They tell you when you're cold. Constantly. The PC literature calls it hospitality... what about that seems hospitable? I'm usually good about just saying "Thank you." or nodding/shrugging it off. But this time it really bothered me. I'm sure I was extra emotional because I didn't feel well.
Johnny and I went to both Internet cafes in Balpuk Bi, one wasn't working, the other didn't have a place for a USB. We made our way to Taldy. Sometimes it's hard going on the Internet... facebook makes me sad - homesick. The people in the Internet place weren't friendly either... I told Johnny, "When stuff like this happens, I read this quote I found (and it's true). It's along the bottom edge of one of the pages in my planner. It says, "Please visit for additional product information and to share your ideas for new products that fit YOUR needs." Thank you, America (specifically Bluesky of TX) for being polite ("Please"), considerate ("additional information"), kind, and caring about the customer ("YOUR needs"). We laughed at my so called inspirational quote.
I told myself today would be a better day. I read 1 John - Jude the past two days and did again this morning. I'm working on being more regular with my devotions... my relationship has been quite one sided lately... consisting of a lot of asking/talking and little listening/reading. Not a good combo. No more church, no more Anna and Denise... It's an interesting challenge - not craving America more than God. My plan is to make a wall of God's promises in my room, for encouragement. I went for a good run, which I haven't done since the States. People looked at me like I was an alien - ...used to it lol. It felt really good. The rest of the day pretty much, I read. I read an entire book. I've never done that before... 296 pages. A gothic novel, it was a pretty sad story actually.
Thanksgiving and Christmas plans are in the making so I'm looking forward to an actual social interaction :) I don't know the people in my oblast very well yet, besides Johnny, so it will probably be a lot of the same questions over and over. I don't mind it though, I'll be asking them too!


  1. Good luck Noelle i used to work with you at ciao! I myself am have a tough time in Darfur myself but what your doing is amazing

  2. Noelle, It sounds like you are persevering. Your strength comes from the Lord. Keep relying on Him. I love the idea of the encouagment wall. A thankful heart He delights in. Keep your eyes towards the heavens where your help comes from. Love you. Norma