понедельник, ноября 28, 2005


I spent Thanksgiving at Shaktyor (Russian for miner). It’s a resort owned by Mital, a huge mining company here. Only three to four hours away by bus, it was way easier to get to than Thanksgiving last year. Uzbekistan wasn’t able to make it this year—finances and fears of not being able to return combined to keep some of our dear friends at home. Kyrgyzstan was able to make it—12 hours on a train and a few more by car.

We had the place to ourselves, it being winter and mid-week. There’s a small man-made lake (frozen very solid, maybe 80 acres) set in some little hills with cool rock formations. The rocks reminded me of the one time I was in the Rockies, only much, much smaller. We had sun and above freezing temperatures for a few days and a day or two of snow.

We also had some of the freshest chicken ever. I watched it die and we were eating it within six hours. Same with the fish—the Russian word for Kokane is… Kokane. Crazy, I know.

I ended up leading worship (with Jon and Alana actually doing the singing) somehow. Hymns are hard on the guitar. Yeesh. The whole week was a great time to break from the routine and reflect on what God has been teaching me. Thanks Carla, Zephaniah 3:17 rocked my socks off!

I’m trying to get pictures up today, but I’m trying to get some big attachments sent to Lowell at the same time. In the meantime, it’s back to teaching. Also, keep your eyes open for another general update in your inbox this week as well. Right now I’m trying to remember what I assigned for homework a week ago. It's hard because my motivation is low. My motivation is low because I know less than half my students will do it and grades are meaningless. Why do I even bother?

суббота, ноября 26, 2005


Presidential elections are getting close. How can I tell? Well, there are Nazarbaev (incumbent for quite some time now) materials everywhere in "Kazakh" light blue and yellow. At least four posters are on every bus, power pole and stationary flat surface. There are also the opponents. One was murdered a while back. The others have catchy slogans like, "Our people's deputy, our people's canidate." He sports the tried and true hammer and sickle logo as well. Jon and I commented as we waited in 10 degree weather if "our people's" bus was coming anytime soon.

Thanksgiving was great, by the way. Details to come. And a newsletter.

воскресенье, ноября 13, 2005

Karaganda Symphony

One bus stop past the Miner’s Palace and we’re there. We enter the hall as the buzzer sounds. Alana looks great in purple and black. I’m wearing my David Niven sweater and boots with a two week beard. It rained today.

The building is tacky, yes, but not like a high school. Like a high school auditorium trying to be Benaroya, perhaps. The floor makes the woodworker in me cringe… the chairs slope forward. One breaks.

As the music starts, I remember that I’d forgotten how sweet a symphony sounds live. The way the sound fills your ears to the point where I don’t care my butt’s asleep. I like watching the violin players smush their bowties. There’s one cello player whose cheek twitches every time the tempo changes.

First is an overture of some sort by Mozart. Then, some Mozart with a lot of flute. The flute player is a tiny, tiny man. Kerri would like him in his tinyness, even though he wasn’t rock-star skinny. Seriously, his flute was half as tall as he was. I liked it until the flute was the only thing playing.


A student (I think) of Noah or maybe Andrea chatted with us on our way back to our seats. It is cold in here. I’m expecting piano, since this part is supposed to be Rachmaninoff. No dice. The brass section is beefed up, however, and the bass cleft in general gets a shot in the arm with a half-dozen extra cellos, another bass and some timpani. Some lady talked for a long time in russian and all I got was that the piece had something to do with the seasons.

Once the music got underway, I was struck by how the conductor moved. At times it was like watching a marionette as its strings broke, at other times it was more of a swaying and waving action and still at other times he was pointing, pointing, pointing with his little conductor's stick like an angry professor. The tuba player looked like he was having a conversation with the last trombone guy between their parts. On the cymbals and drums were two guys who looked like they mght still be in high school. When they stood up they always looked very nervous, leaning forward in anticipation of their, one, climactic, crash!

I like the symphony. I really like the symphony for $2.

I also went to church today, ate four somsas (2 cmyasa, 2 cirom) and took a nap. Now I'm blogging instead of planning lessons.

понедельник, ноября 07, 2005

Kazakh Paradise

As I walk through the valley from Stepnoy to Gulder, I take a look for bus and realise it's never there...

I get to see Alana almost every day. This is very, very cool. So cool that I have to repeat myself for emphasis. So cool that there are no synonyms with enough panache and pizazz to describe the coolness of Alana's being here with me.

I spent today listening to my roomate Matt preach from the G of J about Simon "Can't keep his mouth shut" Peter. Props, my man. Many props. Then we had lasagna at the Tuckers as we watched South Carolina lose to Georga two months ago. It's fun to play with Joe, Ben and Amy (the little Tuckers) and just be around a family for a while. The world is not built on single college-aged people living together, Christian or not. Imagine, there's a whole world out there where men leave their father and mother and cleave to their wife. I'm gonna try it.

Also, to Jacob: where's the love?

среда, ноября 02, 2005


We had a Halloween part monday night for all of our students. I manned the bobbing for apples station, while others painted faces, carved pumpkins, made kids stick their hands in a bowl full of peeled grapes and played uno. I was a cowboy. Alana was Pocahauntus and the rest of the ladies filled out a Disney princess roster: Hillary as Jasmine, Andrea as Belle/Cindarella (last minute costume change) and Peg as Fionna. We even got Mat and some of the MKs to help out--Jon R was a Sith Lord of some sort while Mat was a pirate with a mullet. Good times.

I am not motivated for class right now. I don't know why. Maybe it's because my classes are still shrinking and I'm starting to take it personally.

I have had some VERY cool conversations with students lately. I really like some of them.

I got my box of books! I mailed it to myself (ground) in August. I got it yesterday. Apparently, after the dogsled ride across Canada and Alaska, the guy in China decided to just kick my box across the country instead of carrying it. The story I got was the box was destroyed somewhere in transit. The bag my books arrived in in Karaganda also broke open, I hear. It took the administration a few trips to the pochta (many thanks!) to gather all the pieces. Suffice it to say, many of the paperbacks are significantly worse for the wear. I'm just gald I got my roadside guide to washington geology! Road trip in my head!

Christmas shopping this weekend? We'll see. The temp's been right around freezing for almost two weeks now. I don't go out much.