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4.23.2004 ||>  

I cannot accurately describe the visceral pull that spring has on me in Uzbekistan. So imagine, if you will, three months of a bleak landscape with no grass or leaves. The buildings can only be described as large, drab concrete slabs with no endearing feature other than decay. The cold is insidious, with the outdoors like a freezer and the inside like a refrigerator. There is no escape from the coldness or the weariness.

Finally, one day, you notice that there are cherry blossoms on a tree. Then buds sprout all around you. The clouds become grey with rain and are no longer white from snow. A day after a hard rain, you go outside and are hit with a riot of color! The sky is electric blue, there are little purple and yellow flowers growing wild and everywhere else you look there is green. The air even smells nice (or as well as Uzbekistan can ever smell) and for the first time in what seems like forever, you are warm. The sun literally feels like a caress on your arms and you can finally burst free from the uncomfortable winter clothing that has been so confining for months.

Oh, and the food! After eating only dairy, potatoes, carrots and preserves since December, the market begins to fill with fruits and veggies. They're still expensive, but they're fresh and the mouth waters just at the thought of biting into the juiciness.

Having lived in Arizona for well, my whole life, I never really experienced seasons like this. Winter doesn't feel as death-like, which is nice. But at the same time Arizona never gives me that liquidy pull that spring does here.

Sepra was livin' easy on 12:46:00 AM || Site Feed ||

4.22.2004 ||>  

Many of my students are crazy. I have a couple of students though, that are particularly nuts. Obsessed with English, they do more than I ever did as a student and continually blow me away by how personally they take everything having to do with English and American language and culture.

In the 11th grade, we have been preparing topics for the national exam in English. They have to be able to write and speak about English-speaking countries, so I did what any teacher would do and delegated all the work to my students. My most insane student, Hope, after being put in a group, begged to be allowed to do a topic all on her own. So after I gave her one, she asked how long it had to be. Now, usually that means "how little can I write and still get an A?" but not her. She wanted to write 10 pages of information on Great Britain. Appalled at the idea of checking 10 pages of English and looking at the other students' panicked faces, I told her no. She whined and threw a mini tantrum. She asked me what I would give her if she wrote 10 pages anyway and I (jokingly) said she would get a "C."

Hope has also referred to one of my colleagues as "my Mrs. Orlova" (or the Russian equivalent). "Where is my Mrs. Orlova?!" has become a running joke with the English faculty.

The other uber-obsessed one is Ellen. She's adorable, mainly because she's little and not nearly so garrulous as Hope. She looks like this tiny librarian in training. The teachers have open lessons coming up, which are our annual chance to have everyone and their cousin visit a class of our choice. Torturous. Anyway, my Mrs. Orlova is doing a class where the students present music-as-poetry. I watched Ellen's practice recital for this class and she did the greatest interpretation of American pop songs that I have ever seen. She was so serious with her fluttery arm movements and artistic spins. To my mingled horror and amusement, the songs she presented were Chris DeBurgh's "Lady in Red" and Michael Jackson's "Remember the Time."

I suggested she might be better doing songs by women. I gave her some lyrics by Shania and other women. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Sepra was livin' easy on 6:29:00 AM || Site Feed ||