Tuesday, July 26, 2005

who's got two thumbs and knows where she's going? this girl!!

ok, so this post is a quicky, i've got a crowd of internet hungry pcv's behind me, so i gotta rush.

i will be spending the next two years of my life in Ryskulov!!! TA-DA!! alright, more specifically. . . my town is in southern kazakhstan and has 10,000 people and i will be teaching in a mixed russian-kazakh language school. that's right kids, i am probably have to learn kazakh (quadrilingual much?). the winters are mild, but c'mon this is by kazakhstani standards, so it's still gonna be cold. but since i'm in the EXTREME south the summers are hot as balls. there is another volunteer in my class that will be my site mate, which is awesome. and there are a bunch of other volunteers in my area!! hollaback!

so, that's all i got right now. do some research if you want. tell me what you think. . .GO!

ps -- welcome to my blog scott!! yay!!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

more random crap from 'stan-sylvania

ok, so i have received some comments about sending packages to me in the stan. these comments make me happy. i like to receive packages. i will now impart some information that might make sending me packages easier, and somehow, more fun.

while at pst i do have an address. the only problem is that i'm only at pst for another month and any packages that are shipped to that address will be stored in almaty. this doesn't sound bad until you factor in that i could be upwards of 42 hours by train away from almaty. however, i think that letters will be forwarded. . . mean people and jackasses do not read what is in parenthesis (check my comments for more info. :) )

in other news i wrote carmen cramer (who is awesome and you should all take time to tell her so [winky face]) and i found that my email contained a lot of information that i perhaps had forgotten to share with you all. . . so here goes!!

i have running (cold) water most of the time. for some strange and
unknown reason, the water is usaully turned off at night after 9:30 or
so. but i definitely do not have indoor plumbing. i do my business
in an outhouse over a squat-hole. you wouldn't think that squatting
would be an efficient way to relieve yourself, but it works
surprisingly well. it only took me a few times to avoid the
"splash-back" effect that is common for americans in the stan ;).

my house is small, but we do have a small summer kitchen which i can't
really think how to describe. there's like a stove and a table inside
and randomly a bedroom, and then there's another stove-like thing
outside with a table. we eat every meal outside. i suppose it's
different in the winter, but i haven't experienced that season yet.

the food here is awesome! everything is made from scratch and it's
all like doughy-oniony, goodness. i can't really explain it
adequately. my goal is to learn how to cook the food hear and have
thousands of "kazakhstani dinners". interesting note about food: we
all eat from communal plates and we only drink hot tea with milk and
-- no joke -- salt. they say that the salt and the hot tea is good
for dealing with the heat. i say that it's the 2 liters of water that
i drink every day on top of the tea. the jury's still out.

so, anyways. . .i find out in about 2 hours where i'm going to spend
the next couple of years!! i'm super jazzed!!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

holy half-way point, batman!!

ok, so it's just the half-way mark of my training not of service, no need to start planning my welcome home party yet! (but, for future reference, there is to be absolutely no clowns at this celebration, because i'm afraid of them. this is because, as we all know, clowns are haunted.)

on a completely unrelated note, ryan informed me via posted comment that he will be spending the beginning of january in beautiful, tropical, shut-the-hell up, mexico. well, i've got news for you, buck. while you're maxing and relxing in the hot sun, i'll be up to my butt in snow and 40 below temperatures. eat it!! you'll be so jealous when you read my posts about my eyeballs freezing shut!! but I KEED!! i hope you have tons of fun! now that we're talking about vacations, let's get some wheels a-turning!! i have discovered that it is possible for me to have round about a month to a month and a half of vacation time next summer. i can also travel anywhere i want! so, if anyone has a hankering for some international travel, next summer, lemme know. of course i don't need anything definite, i just wanted to get you all thinking. (but do bare in mind that i will have EXTREMELY limited funds for this. hostels much?)

ok, back to my kz narrative. we had immersion teaching this past week. i taught 4 sessions of 8th grade. my kids were great, but their english was not. it was a real eye opener to the level that i will be teaching (for example -- they constantly mix up he and she. and tomorrow we will have class is completely above their heads.)it's ok though, it's my job to teach and teach i shall!!!! my host sister was in my class and she is still calling me "miss ashli" (the kids in the village already knew me as ashli, but i needed to interject some illusion of authority).

speaking of my host sister, she and i went to the school's disco last night! omg!!! there are some hootchified dances in the kz. they all LOVE 50 cent, so when "candy shop" came on, they all tried to booty dance. then they wanted me to show them how to do it, because, as we all know, my booty dancing is famous world wide (winky face). i didn't do it though, i am a teacher, not a corrupter of youth (thank you, socrates, for that lesson!!! philosophy 101 what!?!).

my host mother's mother and sister are now visiting. the sister, muhabat is 19 and is studying english at university. now there's someone in my house that i can talk to! huzah! also, ryan listen up -- she is kelly's voice double. it's so weird, if kelly were ouiger and spoke russian, i think she would be my host aunt. small world!

let's see. . . what else?

oh yeah!! next week is site announcement day!!!!!!!!! i will find out where the heck i'll spend the next two years of my life (come on disneyland!! ;) ). there's gonna be a big ceremony with a map and then an american folk music jambaroo (i volunteered to play the jug). after that i have practicum (which is like immersion teaching but my counterpart will be watching me -- or judging me, whichever you like). then we have counterpart conferences, swearing in, then i'm off to the races. . . OMG!! this is going to happen soon!

ok, i'm gonna go now! BYE!

ps -- hey jodee: wor shor yeega may goran!! i love you!!
ryan, happy super belated birthday!!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

quirky culture

ok, i have several funny/interesting observations about my host country to share!

today, july 7th, is some official holiday here in the 'stan. on this day, and i'm not kidding, you randomly throw buckets-full of water on people for no reason at all. fortunately for me, the well in my village is dry and we will have no water at all for three days. ok, so it's not really fortunate, but i'll stay dry today.

last night, i officially made dad's spaghetti sauce famous in the kz. i made spaghetti for about 15 people last night and they all said it was fkoosna (delicious). however, my sauce to pasta ratio was off and there was not enough sauce for all of the noodles. i know this because i was somehow posessed to mix the pasta with the sauce. it had the consistancy of lagman (one of kz's tasty national dishes) but still tasted like delicious spaghetti.

in today's kazakh language class i learned some funny words:
to say "grapes" in kazakh, it is "gyzem" (teehee).
to say "bread roll" in kazakh, it is "ballsack" (i'm in junior high school).
the teacher had to stop class b/c we were laughing at the prospect of saying the grapes are tastey and i love bread rolls!! i will never grow up!!

on a less sophomoric note, we have official completed the first month of training. i got my official peace corps id today and i start "immersion teaching" (which is like practice, i suppose) on monday.

much love!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

happy birthday america!

ok, not really, i don't care much about america's birthday. but tomorrow is also my mommer's birthday. that i care about. i love my mommy!!

ok, anyways. to answer some questions: aunt marla -- i don't have a digital camera, but i think in a few months i can save up enough to buy a decent one. i wouldn't advise sending a camera though, only because apparently expensive devices sent to kz sometimes end up "lost or missing."

back to the 'stan: everything in k-stan is going well. it's hot, i don't speak russian, and i still poop in an outhouse.

but seriously, i'm doing very well. we went to almaty yesterday and
it was super fun. we went to the peace corps headquaters and that
place is plush: they had 2 showers AND toilets!! god bless america!!
tomorrow we get to go to see some petroglyphs which are apparently
very old and very famous. i say apparently b/c when i was told about
the trip i heard: blah blah blah petroglyphs blah blah no class on
monday. blahdy blah.

some of the americans in my village want to try to have a cook out some time this week for the fourth. it's kind of funny b/c we know where we can buy hot dogs, but we can't find anyplace that sells hot dog buns. i guess we'll have to improvise. any suggestions?

keep reading and keep commenting!!! (or, in gramma lyn's case; keep printing off my postings. it's nice to know that a hard copy of this exists somewhere).