Friday, November 2, 2007

The need for more language

Alright, so I've got some free time, I'm hitting up the internet. Somet deep thoughts for y'all.

I haven't been able to choose my friends. Us five volunteers got thrown together in this village, learning Russian, trying to survive the various ins and outs of Peace Corps life, and we are forced to be friends. Thankfully, this has turned out very well. I've become great friends with the two guys, and though I hang out with the girls a little less, they're always fun in class and I enjoy our friendship. I don't know if its the fact that we're going through this all together, but we have all become very good friends. I bring this up because we came to the realization that in aobut a week, we will only see each other a few more times over the course of two years. None of us are "near" each other in this country. I think the closest person is Jackie, who is probably a 20 hour train ride away. Not exactly a day trip. It's not going to be so easy when I vanish up to the cold north and my only companty for a few months, until I've made some good local friends, will be snowmen and small children. Granted Nora is up there, but I've spent these last two months creating some great inside jokes with my training group, and I'm going to have to start that all over again. I think I'm lucky though, because Nora seems like she'll be fun, and not some weirdo I'll have to avoid.

Whate else is going on. My language test is tomorrow, though I'm not too worried about it. Coming to Kazakhstan, we were warned about all these things that could get us kicked out, and we have to pass this and that test and all sorts of things, but we've come to realize they don't want to send us home, and we're almost guarenteed to be able to continue. We would have to do something really stupid or irresponsible to get sent home. Therefore my training group, and I hope to spread it to the rest of the Kaz-19's, has adopted the slogan "What're you gonna do, send us home?" Hopefully this comment won't get me sent home. John Drodos, the Country Director reads this, Hi John, but I think he can have a good sense of humor. Either that or I'll hear about it next hub day.

I met a man today, a construction worker, and if I understood him correctly, he was telling us a story about how he fought for the Soviets in Afghanistan, and he showed up a large scar on his chest. He said something about how we are similar now because my people are also fighting in Afghanistan. it was interesting and I look forward to the time when I can really understand what peopel are trying to tell me, and respond with real comments or questions besides just, "oh, yes, interesting!" I missed this converstaion, but I guess my host uncle was telling two of my friends aobut how he served on a Soviet submarine during the Cold War. It will be very interesting to hear all the stories from this side of the Iron Curtain.

I now own a really sweet fur hat, complete with ear flaps.

I talked with my host family last night about American politics a little bit, but honestly I don't follow the subject closely, so I didn't have a whole lot to say. My family was telling me they think Hilary Clinton would make a great president and I should vote for her, but Barack Obama (they only knew him as the black guy), would not be good. I couldn't get any solid reasons, at least that I understand, but it's interesting that in a society where women have set roles in the house and kitchen, they would think a woman would make a great president. Again, the need for more language skills. My teacher praises me for how I"m doing now, but the problem is my language doesn't extend beyond basic needs and chit chat type conversation. I'm eager for it to get farther along, and the process is slowly driving me insane I think.

I think that's about all I have to talk about, I can't think of any really good anecdotes to tell about my time. I'll try and work some mroe out, get them down on paper somewehre so I'm not trying to do this all from memory. Until then, take care everybody and write often, I love hearing from you guys.

-Jeff

2 comments:

alex said...

I have a fur hat with ear flaps. I never get an opportunity to wear it though. You are so lucky! (actually, I probably could have joined the Peace Corp too... maybe I would have been sent to Kazakhstan too... I guess it isn't really so much luck)

Right now I am devoting most of my efforts to getting the UW athletic director fired. If you have time to browse the internet and email Pres. Emmert our website is http://firetoddturnernow.com

The Huskies are getting crushed this year... we just got beaten by Arizona and the outlook for Stanford is bleak.

Trav said...

Fur is pretty sweet. Too bad the lower 48 is pretty dead set against it. But as you probably know, it can be pretty useful up north.

In March Anchorage has a festival called Fur Rondy (Rendezvous) where master furriers (yes, they're actually called that) sell tons of fur. All the streets downtown are lined with fur-laden people.

Doing that down south would probably get them covered in red paint. I suppose the difference is that up here its actually a functional resource.

Hope your ear flaps are keeping you warm.