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I am a dirty, dirty Peace Corps Volunteer. How can you tell? Look at my laundry list for the month of December:
2 pairs of long underwear and 1 undershirt
3 pairs of pants
3 pairs of socks
7 pairs of underwear
This of course, includes the stuff that I didn't wash in November (2 shirts and 1 pair of pants).
You know, in America, I shower every single day, never wear the same shirt twice before it's washed and shave at least once a week. I am now what you could call low maintenence, because none of that happens now.
But I promise if anyone wants to see me here, I always embrace personal hygeine on special occasions... ;o)
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My counterpart is off her rocker. Remember the stories of Jennifer-the-nut-job-roomate? Yeah, it's a bit like that. The other day the school had a staff party and my sitemates (the other volunteers in my town) and I went over to their house to eat some cake after the party. Well, this younger teacher we were talking to came with us and we had a great time. The next day, I happened to walk into my director's office just as it had a mini explosion. My counterpart was yelling, my director was yelling, and the girl we had had cake with last night was sitting in a chair sobbing. I had a sinking suspicion but I asked what happened anyway. My counterpart stormed out, and my director was telling her not to listen to my counterpart, that everyone knows she's a good person. My suspicion grew. I asked a little louder "What happened?" and the girl ran out, still crying a bit. So my director told me. Apparently, just before I got there, my counterpart had pulled her aside and started screaming at her that she was a rude person, that she was never invited to eat cake with us, that she shouldn't have gone out with us, that she was a bad person and we didn't like her. She said that the girl just tagged along and she was just so incredibly rude. So naturally, the girl was upset, which of course meant that I had to tell her that I wanted to be her friend, yes she was invited and we wanted her to come.
Of course what I said was completely true, I really do want friends here and I was hoping she might be a friend. My counterpart's words were all lies and I have no idea why she said them. Now, I'd normally just be a little pissed about this, but this is not the first time this has happened. A girl came to hang out with us on Thanksgiving. We Americans invited her, begged her to stay, and we meant it. My bitch of a counterpart took her aside and told her that she was not invited, that we didn't want her there, that she was rude and should go home right away, and so she went. We had no idea until about 2 weeks ago that this had happened.
Now, I can't say anything about my sitemates, but I really need a friend here. I want to meet lots of people in Uzbekistan and guest over everywhere I can. I want friends, damnit! I was a little concerned before because no one would invite us over. But I sort of understand now. People are probably afraid! I mean, if everyone who tries to socialize with us gets bitched at, no wonder people are reluctant to talk with us. But hopefully this shit will end soon. If nothing happens, I'm going to put an end to it myself, and I know no one wants that.
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Ok, so in Uzbekistan, there is no frozen dinner. No prepared food. No Taco Bell. Everything is done by scratch, literally. I have helped prepare spaghetti by scratch here, which was fun. I also think I'm turning into a pretty good chef as well, since I have this very low tolerance it seems for nasty, fried potatoes every night. Luckily, when I was a trainee, my host mom was like a master at cooking and can do no wrong when it comes too food. Plus, there's this new food that is easy to make, but I never even considered making it.
Like: did you know that if you mix some eggs and flour together , put already boiled/steamed cauliflower into it and fry it like some wierd french toast, it's actually really tasty? You just have to eat it while it's hot is all, because it gets sort of limp when it's cold. But it's good with my salad and I suppose in America, it would be ketchup. Of course in America, I eat everything with ketchup.
And there's this eggplant salad that I made that turned out awesome, so I want to share it with you. (Look at me being all domestic!):
It's called "Ikra", which is an Uzbek name and not to be confused with the Russian "ikra" which is caviar:
5 or 6 med red peppers
5 eggplants, peeled
3 big tomatoes
3 onions peeled
3 carrots peeled
lots of oil (I use sunflower, but any kind will do)
garlic, black pepper, salt, sugar and a bay leaf to taste
So you cover the bottom of the pot with oil, chop the onions so the oil gets really hot while you chop. Put the onions in and let them get all browned while you grate the carrots in a cheese grater. Then put those in. Cover the pot and make it medium heat.
Thinly slice the peppers and make sure to stir the carrots and onions while you do this. Add the peppers and some boiling water from a nearby kettle or water heater (have water boiling constantly, this will help). Don't drown the food, but put in enough water so nothing burns.
Chop the eggplant into small squares and add them an eggplant at a time, stirring and adding water if needed. Cut the tomatoes into chunks and add to the pot. Check the juice: the tomatoes should add enough, but if you need too, add some more. Salt/sugar to taste maybe about a 1/2 tablespoon each? Probably more. At this time put the bay leaf in and pepper to taste too.
Chop or press as much or little garlic as you like. Again, it's to taste, though I put in 2 or 3 of those little pieces.
Cook about 5 minutes after the garlic and that's all.
This tastes nice hot over noodles, and I always eat it cold on bread for breakfast or whatever. It's healthy and it lasts a long time. The Ikra I made 2 weeks ago is still good and in my fridge.
Alright, take care kids!
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Okay, so it's snowing. Alot. And naturally, I'm completely unequipped for snow of any kind, much less 6 freaking inches of it. Oh, and because I couldn't make it on the internet for 3 weeks, Hotmail deleted like everyone's email. So I have 200 emails from porn spammers and all the ones I wanted to save are naturally deleted. Sigh.
On the upside, I'm totally in the teaching groove. I've been clocking about 24 hours of teaching time a week and so far everything is kosher. My 11th graders think they're a little smarter than they are, but that's normal I think, when you're 16 or 17. Unfortunately, internet has become a big pain in the ass that I'm still trying to figure out in my little town, so I'm sorry if it seems like I am disappearing all of a sudden. It's in the works, I promise.
I don't have much time now. Today is a holiday - the last day of Ramadan, and I have to be somewhere. I'm stealing time as it is. But I will try to get back as soon as I can.
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