Okay, so I'm in the lovely city of Samarkand. No really funny stories since the last time, except apparently, there are reports of badly dubbed Russian Buffy on Sunday! I'm stoked, but I don't know the channel or anything. Cross your fingers for me, ok? :)
Samarkand is absolutely beautiful and it's got some great feature, including this lovely internet cafe right outside my hotel. It's actually five minutes into dinner as I write about this. They're playing all sorts of fun music, so it's kinda cool to be jamming around. It reminds me to work on my lesson plan on monday. I'm doing a lesson on Metallica for my tenth graders. "One" from ...And Justice for All. Did I mention that I'm having some bit of fun being a teacher? I mean what other job could you talk about Metallica for an hour with students. Hopefully it will get them motivated though, because they just stare at me all the time like nothing I say makes sense. And hey, maybe it doesn't! But I think it's a question of motivation. Look at how boring I've become! Talking about lesson plans on a blogger! I should talk about the marshrutkas. Now those are exciting. A marshrutka is a van for public transportation, a little more expensive than busses, but they're less crowded and you can pick where you want it to stop. But it's a question of when the marshrukas will crash. They drive crazy. Not like my friends from highschool. I mean, like they weave in and out of traffic with an inch between cars and such. Sort of scary. But it's like a roller coeaster too.
Anyway, got to go, didn't do everything I wanted, but that's life. I'll write soon. :)
Va-alaykim Assalom! (Which is the reply to Assolomu Alayukum) :)
So I've gotten settled in with my host family in Chirchik, Uzbekistan. It's a little bit away from Tashkent, the capital. For my permanent site, I'll also be a little ways away from Tashkent. Anyhow, I'm going to be learning Russian it seems, and not Uzbek. Never let anyone tell you that learning Russian is an easy thing. It took me two days to learn how to say hello in Russian, much less hold an intelligent conversation. But I'm slogging through and relatively confident that in 2 years I may learn all the colors and how to count to ten. But really, it should be coming faster after hello...
Anyhow, I'm with a nice host family that does in fact know what a vegetarian is, so yay me! They're actually pretty sweet, although they are thouroughly addicted to the television. But I love seeing Charmed in badly dubbed Russian, although a couple of times I've had to leave if a movie with a dog or monkey came on because of the kitch factor... I do feel a little bit like that foreign exchange student in the Incan Mummy Girl episode of Buffy. You know, the one Cordelia kept saying "fruit punchy" to? And then at the end, you find out he really was an intelligent human being at the end? Yeah, I am so that kid. Sometimes I say "fruit punchy" to myself and laugh my butt off.
Anyhow, I figured, I'd post a couple of times this time around so that you can come back if you want or whatever. It feels like more of an update to me anyway. So just sit back, relax and dig in to my fun stories... Hope you're all having fun and thinking of me!
I keep having these "only in Uzbekistan" moments. They are really funny, at least in my own head. The first happens to me every single morning as I walk to school. As I go along through my apartment complex, I see the public dumping ground, full of burning toilet paper and other niceties. But this isn't the best part. The absolute best part is the cows and sheep grazing on the used, burning toilet paper. Yep, that's where I live. At first I wondered what that burning smell was, but now that I know, I'm wishing I didn't... Okay, maybe it's just me, but it's pretty funny. It doesn't bother me as much as it might because at least I'm a vegetarian.
The next great funny thing is this big detergent brand in the former Soviet Union is called Barf. That's the expensive Uzbek brand. There are others like Tara and Arta, but Barf is my favorite. If I get a chance (and can afford it), I may get a box just to scan. It's pretty funny. I love going to the bazaar and watching old ladies haggle the price for a box of Barf...
The last moment comes from the other trainees and volunteers. See, my toilet flushes toilet paper. This is a big thing. Usually, you either throw it into the pit or throw your used t.p. into the trash to be burned later. But mine flushes it, which no one here seems to really believe the first time. Their eyes get all wide and they look at me jealously like what did I deserve to get such a toilet? And it's not even a pit! Then they go throu apapolexy when I tell them that every once in a little while (once a month and better it be when the moon is full...) and it you turn the cold water handle just right I get warm water. Oh yeah, gets them every single time.
So I had my first day of class the other day, September 4th to be exact. Woah, doggie. The teacher basically threw me to these tenth graders completely unprepared for anything. I thought I was just going to be observing that day, but apparently not. I don't know Russian, they don't know very much english. So here I was talking to these kids who could really care less. Did I mention how unprepared I was? So I was like, "Does, uh, anyone like American music?" Silence. "Britney Spears?"
Naturally, at the mention of that holiest of pop icons, everyone in the room lightens up and starts saying their favorite American bands, which are like Eminem and Britney pretty much. So that lasted for like 5 mins. Then it was just a question of filling up the rest of the 45 mins I had left. Let's just say it was pretty horrible and leave it at that, ok? :) But honestly, I'm much better when the kids can actually understand what I'm saying. Really. A whole lot better.