Wednesday, August 31, 2005

one week down, 83 more to go

so, i've just (successfully?) comlpeted my first week as a real-live volunteer. hoot hoot for me. ruskulova is pretty much like my last village except that it's bigger and i have less reason to go to the big city every weekend. which is good, because the big city is crowded and noisy and everything's in russian or kazakh.

i agree with my mom. i probably shouldn't have posted my cell phone number on my blog, but for those of you who tried to call me, you know that the numbers i posted are very wrong, and i can't be reached by dialing those numbers. i'm sorry. i don't know how to have you all call me on my phone. my bad. but i also couldn't have sent out a mass email with the numbers in them because I CAN'T GET GMAIL TO WORK ON THIS STUPID, SLOW, DIAL-UP COMPUTER!!!!!! GAAAAAAAAAH! I HATE IT. ok i''m done. so as for now, it looks like this blog is my only link to the outside. . . .

i'm trying to think of any amusing stories that i can tell about my week in r-town and i don't have any. . . yet. i'm sure that the anecdotes will overflow from my tiny blogsite.

so, i also noticed in my comments that some of you all want to send me care packages. this makes me happier that a pirate at a parrot sale. and i just so happen to have made a list of things i might need/want here in kazakhstan (i made this list instead of paying attention to a staff meeting which, like the city of shimkent was noisy and in russian).

ok here's my list:
1. vhs tapes -- these will be for use in a school-sanctioned english club, and i will more than likely donate them to the school when i leave.
2.markers (crayola, please! :)) (keep 'em classy, kids!)
4.books (in spanish too, if you have any to spare)
5.a camera that works on film
6.halloween costumes (just because they don't celebrate it in the kz, doesn't mean i can't dress up like a pumpkin if i want to!) holiday decorations
8. lists of what you guys want from the 'stan -- keep in mind that i'm trying to live off of $30 per month so i can go on vacation next summer, so i might have to bring you your gifts in two years when i get back.
9.speaking of vacation -- any ideas? anyone thinking of maybe meeting up with me?

also, i have it on pretty good authority that my cos date is june 18, 2007 instead of august 18!! guess whose turning 24 in the usa?

ps -- here's a kind of funny story from swearing in: i definitely went to a happy hour at the home of the executive cheif something-or-other to the u.s. ambassador to kz's house! he invited us during the swearing in ceremony. no joke. it was part of his speech. and i quote "blah, blah, blah, volunteers, blah, blah, happy hour at my place. . . .with marines!" so, obviously the phrase "happy hour" paired with the suggestions that good-looking marines will buy my drinks -- that's right, it was a cash bar, come on, america didn't get to be the unipole by being generous with its booze -- got my attention. it was super fun. they had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (i told my host mom that pb&j is one of america's national dishes -- i don't think i'm too far off on that.)

Monday, August 22, 2005

i'm (finally) at site!!!

greetings from beautiful ruskulova!! i arrived here by train yesterday morning at the crack of 7 am! for the next six months, i will live with a host family consisting of a mother, a father and a host brother. they (so far) seem like very friendly people. i also have a very cuddly little kitten that likes to lick my nose when i'm trying to sleep.

so, now let's move on to logistics. the days of free and somewhat limitless internet connections are now behind me. i can now access the internet for 2.5 tenge per minute on a 56k (if that) modem. just to let you know how slow this thing is, it has taken me almost twenty minutes just to get the post page to load. therefore, my post and emails will become even more infrequent than they have been of late (sob!!). but i do have good news: i have for you two alternantive and free (for me) ways for us to keep in touch. that's right, faithfull blog reader. . . i am now, finally, going to give you all what you've been screaming for theses last few months. i know i said that i would send indivudual emails with my phone number and address, but the connection here is too slow and too costly for that. so, i'm going to give you this information on my blog.

ok, my counterpart is getting bored at watching me type, so i'm going to go, much love and i hope i gave you the right phone numbers (remember, kz i 10 hours ahead of est!)

Monday, August 15, 2005

i'll be a volunteer on friday

omg!! my swearing in is on friday!!! YIKES!

today i met my counterpart, her name is gulshat. she seems like a nice lady and hopefully she stays that way because i'll be working with her for the next two years.

so, i did get a cell phone yesterday. but i don't have a number and the phone doesn't work. . .i am also the dumbass that bought the wrong phone card. that's right. i'm an idiot. here's my sad, stupid story: there are two big cell phones companies in kazakhstan, activ and k-mobile. i got activ, and EVERYONE ELSE IN PEACE CORPS in on k-mobile. but luckily, another (more experienced) kaz15 volunteer told me that a lot of people buy both cards and switch them in and out. so, if 1)my phone starts to work or 2)i am able to get a k-mobile card, i'll post my number. no, i won't post it. i'll let people know the number by email. that seems safer. but please remember if you do get a hankering to call me when the phone number is revealed that kazakhstan in 10 ahead of eastern time.

more later.

ps - i didn't buy a winter coat. winter in ruskolova is like winter in ohio. i'm gonna stick with the coat that i brought.

Monday, August 08, 2005


hey, i'm not dead. i know i have been posting on an almost weekly basis, but it sort of fell off this time. sorry i dropped the ball. i'll say my pentance later.

anyway, i'm in the middle of my practicum and it's going well. i'm meeting my counterpart next week and on August 20, i'm off to ruskulova! hoot hoot.

so, here's my fun kazakhstan story: yesterday my 19 year old host aunt and my 14 year old host sister GOT INTO A KNOCK DOWN, DRAG OUT GIRL FIGHT!!!!! it was the most hilarious thing ever.

let me briefly translate and reinact the situation:

adela: muhabbot, could you please help me carry the scraps to the cows? it's heavy.

muhabbot: you can carry it yourself. you are strong enough, judging by the width of your fat ass.

adela: shut up, bitch. help me carry the food to the cows.

muhabbot: why carry the food? it's already in front of a cow.

adela: shut your whore mouth! i'd rather be a cow that a ugly she-wolf, bitch.

muhabbot: fat-ass!!

adela: bitch!!

then they attacked. . . it was like two monkeys battling over who can dance for the organ grinder. the only thing that stopped them from clawing eachother's eyes out in typical cat-like fashion was my host mother beating adela into submission with metal spoon while my host grandmother hit muhabbot repeatedly with a rubber hose.

it was HI-larious.

now i'm off to buy a winter coat. i'll report more later.