Today I have an unexpected 3 hour break at home. Yay! I am pretty sick right now actually ... a head cold / allergy mess. It will go away soon but it makes it difficult for me to focus in class and pay attention long enough to learn something.
I also wanted to note that I am intentionally not interacting with my friends and family from the states very much because of the immense importance of developing new relationships here in Kazakhstan. Part of my survival here is to create new friendships and safety nets within this community instead of trying to lean on people thousands of miles away. So...just to clarify.
The reason I don't have any photos uploaded is really due to pure laziness on my part....they will come soon enough.
One thing that is different in this culture is that there are not really any uses for to-do lists. At least not in the sense that I have ever used them before. What was suggested to me instead are 'have-done' lists. This means that what I have done within a day in Kazakhstan is a seemingly lazy day in the US. For example, if I am trying to do my homework at night and my family has guests over for dinner that lasts 4 hours....it would be considered a productive use of my time to have the 4 hour dinner / conversations with the family instead of saying no and finishing my homework. This is sort of an interesting concept to get used to for my personality. One of the reasons that to-do lists don't work here is because the idea of really sticking to a predetermined schedule does not really exist here. Times, places, topics etc ... can change over and over again throughout a day and it is up to me to deal with the change. No matter how much I want to stick to the original plan.
This is a difficult subject to discuss in terms of the treatment and experience I have with dogs here in Kazakhstan. My understanding is that traditionally in this "part of the world" dogs are sort of thought of as lower class - not man's best friend. I also have gathered that it seems that referring to someone or people as a dog is considered derogatory. This sets up a difficult situation to watch. I already described that dogs are running wild in the streets all the time. Several dogs live outside or have a home but are let loose in the village at night. I have seen dead dogs on the side of the road (presumably from cold or starvation), my friend saw a dog eating another dead dog on his way to school, I see them out in the freezing cold snow, and I have seen dogs with broken legs hobbling around. People don't feed animals outside the way they do in the US. These outside dogs eat burnt trash from trash pits, other dead animals, and when they are out at night I am assuming they hunt in packs for food. No leash law - to say the least. This has been a huge culture shock for me and I would advise anyone with a big sensativity to this to brace yourself.
There has only been one time here in Kazakhstan where I thought that something we were eating at the dinner table was going to make me vomit. We had fish the other night. Not frozen breaded fish sticks....but fresh fish on the bone. There werу two types of fish: one was sort of grilled in a skillet and the other was raw. And by raw I mean the head and tail were still on it....and it had eyes. So the way you eat the raw fish is to rip off the head ... pull out the vein / scrape out the black bloody gross part, and then eat it. Plus spitting the bones out. WHAT? I thought I was going to be sick. I had never seen fish eaten like that before and they really loved it. It was a normal meal for sure. It was a line that I couldn't cross. There was not a single cell inside of me that had any desire to put that fish into my mouth. The good part was....that the fish looked / smelled really fresh. And the grilled fish meat I ate was really really good and fresh. Anywho, another culture shock moment at the dinner table.
Kazakhstan Fun Fact:
There is no stubstitute teacher system here. If a teacher doesn't come to work one day then the students either go to another class or the studens lead the lesson themselves.
Peace Corps Blog.
click above to play a traditional Kazakh song that I really like called the Karajorga. It is very popular and there is a traditional dance that is performed with it as well.
March 8, 2011 -
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