Yesterday some Germans came to my school. I have no idea who these people were, maybe they were just pulled in off the street. They looked like just normal tourists anyway: grungy backpacks, Tevas and looking like they hadn't bathed in awhile. This was interesting for the kids as they all take English classes and either German or French. Anyway, my 11th grade got pulled out early to meet them (which is fine) but they weren't going to introduce them to my 10th grade, which should be criminal. So as they walked by my classroom, all my students gave me the puppy dog eyes and cried, "pleeease let them come in, pleeeeaase!!" So I did what any wannabe hero does in a time of crisis and ran out into the hall and did some cajoling myself. The Germans were easily distracted and came for a visit. Suddenly my very outspoken 10th graders became Stepford children. They stood up when the visitors entered, raised their hands when they wanted to speak, and stood up to ask a question. They looked like coiled springs, full of energy. Of course as soon as the foreigners left, they burst into babbling about how exciting it all was.
They were like that with me for the first week. Now I'm old hat and so are the other Americans I bring. Now it's the Germans who are interesting. I totally prefer it that way.
In some movies, a "westerner" lives amongst the "natives", and when tourists or other people come into town this local westerner makes caustic comments about the tourist's naivete and tries to protect the natives against the exploitation that the "west" brings. I disagree with that. If someone has something to bring to Uzbekistan that will help my students or anyone else here, even if it's just the ability to speak a language that they're studying, I'm all for it. No one is a tourist attraction, but if you can help, then it's all good.
So I visited my old site this weekend for the last time. It was weird because I remember hating it when I lived there, but I realized that I'm going to miss it too. I gave my old host family my battery recharger and the American batteries that I won't be able to take with me. It was hard for them to believe that I couldn't keep it all. It was harder for me to leave them.
As I've been trying to divest myself of all my extraneous things, it seems like everyone wants to give me a last present to take back home. One of my older teachers gave me two towels because... what if they don't have towels in America? It's a nice turnaround from when I was coming here and people were giving me stuff because what if there's weren't books/hairdryers/junk food in Uzbekistan?
I'm keeping one of the towels. It's vintage.
All the Peace Corps guys were reminded recently to make sure they were registered for Selective Service. That's the agency that handles the draft. Interesting how all the government agencies are saying one thing and the President another.