Archive for August 29, 2007

Survived Second Day of Classes

I’ve finished my second day teaching, or most of it.  I look out my office window on Abai. I felt I didn’t have it all together and may have blown my cool some in the class of 90 students at 9 am.  I will work on the logistics of class assignments. Students maybe are not used to doing or handing in homework, and don’t know the vocabulary of doing it in English.  But, I think I made progress.I am VERY, VERY glad that there is a long weekend coming up.

I am going to eat in a few minutes when my 11-12 a.m. office hour is over.  I used it to sort the papers from the various classes. I need some files. I did not have time to eat breakfast, maybe just as well since I’ve been running to the bathroom all the time, and this way there was no need. I’ll go easy eating in light of my two remaining classes.


I went to eat in the student ” grill”  below.  I think you’ll appreciate the contrast with when you were here. [back in 1993]  There was a long line at the cafeteria, so I went to the adjoining area which has a waitress. I ordered tea, soup, and a plate of beef and three kinds of carbohydrates (rice, potatoes and corn) which I largely ignored.  I hope my stomach takes it.  (if I had some Pepto Bismol handy, I’d take it.  I took my temperature, but despite all the sweating, I am 98.6) I’m trying to drink a lot – the rooms are hot, although my office window opens.  I will change my shirt and pants for the meeting at 4 and dinner at 5:30 (for new faculty.)


The whole place smells, like everyone has deodorant breakdown.  I know it’s me, but I’m suspecting it is everyone. It is hot.  Our university is close to the market, like TIKKO. Several students smile and say hi, I have about 300; that must be 10% of the student body.  I’m thinking they have me doing a lot of teaching, and aren’t giving me help, just headache and strait jacket: my secret defense is Admiral Rickover’s idea; “The only way to bring change is to not care if your head is cut off.” Think of it, as J’s way



I am back to my office after teaching my two afternoon classes and then a meeting and social gathering until about 6:30. There were people there when I left. I had the most fun with a fellow who knows John Clarke, who had been a prof at AUCA two years ago, discussing philanthropy. He’s from Missouri.  Then, I enjoyed sitting with J.P. with three student body officials. They laughed a lot at my Marx => Keynes => Ken story (I built it up.)  They knew it was a joke and didn’t think I had a big head like you and Ron.Figuring that Paul won’t get home till 8:30, I’m going to go shopping for a few things, like an office water heating pot.  There is Tekno Mart to the back of our university.  I plan to stay with Paul until the end of September. He is here until Nov. 15, but I think he has to travel some, for visa reasons, so the apartment may be empty for me!  I’ll have time to talk over things this long weekend.  I’m not sure I can find a bank open to open an account.

Much more to report on.  Maybe you can call me in the office tomorrow?  I’m trying to think of a good time. I don’t want to come in too early, but if I got here by 10 a.m., that would be 9 p.m. your time. 

 I think I may have said I enjoyed beer with this Canadian/Australia, expert on Central Asian agriculture, whom Bill L. told me about. A short half hour meeting. I then came back to work and got to the apartment about 8 p.m. Still no 2nd key and Paul wasn’t home from work yet (still no phones or phone numbers that work) so I went to a nearby cafe we’d eaten at before. We finally “hooked up,” and I was exhausted and slept well.
The limitation of the arrangement, which will be reduced with a second key, came when I woke up early. Paul sleeps soundly, but I don’t want to leave and leave the door unlocked. But, I did, as he had stirred. At 6 a.m. there are no busses, but it is a good time to walk. I did. Still I was barely ready for classes.  Lots to do yet.


 I’ll be here at my office all weekend!  I’m glad to have a regular job after spending some of the summer preparing to better serve as a C. teacher in this situation. We will act as informal helpers and facilitators of campus activities, as we did in Kiev. That is why we come, not the money or need for a job here. It is still rough, and this time, I especially disliked leaving our beautiful rural Minnesota home at the peak of the fall season, and leaving Kristina. She will join me in October.


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