Archive for September 14, 2007

Inside: samovar tiles Outside: lawn, gravel and fields

gravel, lawn and fields20 samovar tilesI took this photo yesterday morning from our old home in NW MN.  We bought the samovar tiles in Ukraine several years ago but have not decided where to put them, maybe in our old granary.  We haven’t made a FINAL decision on the placement of these 20 tiles yet, but we shall see.

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Inside: samovar tiles Outside: mountains, buildings and cars

looking NEbath samovarKen took photos of what might be our new home together in Almaty.  He has not made the FINAL decision yet but liked what he saw, see post below.  Perhaps this will be our place for the next 8-9 months, we shall see.

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Two entries about the two balcony apartment

I got back to my office from the apartment and it took 25 minutes with me taking a wrong turn.  It is probably 20 minutes DOWNHILL and a little more up hill. This makes it about like the walk to Paul’s. It is a large apartment.  I took pictures to send you.  The landlady said it is 76 square meters.  It is clean with Asian carpets, and does not have the Euro “remont” that I expected. 

There are two balconies, but one is unenclosed, and ugly. I suppose a bike or two could be stored there under a tarp.   This looks to the northern mountains.  The living room is pretty bare and had a TV (I forgot to see if it was Universal.) with bare minimum cable that is about $11/month. The young man said it has some English channels.  76 channels are possible.  There is also High Speed internet in the building already.  There is a table for 6 in the living room, a small table for 2 in the kitchen. She said there are 6 chairs for the living room table.  

The master bedroom has separate foam mattresses which are not as good as the single mattress on a solid bed in the smaller bedroom, which has a nice office arrangement.  It looks DOWN, to the south.  (Views are to the North – to the Mountains, and to the South – to the museum and New Square.)  There are a lot of windows. 

The kitchen has a rather small refrigerator, but a microwave, and adequate storage.  (There is a LOT of storage cabinet in the master bedroom.) The toilet is separate, I did not take a picture of it. I thought it amusing that the ceramic Samovar in the bath area is similar to ours at home. 

I liked the landlady. Her name is R. and she is a doctor. Her husband is a professor at the medical institute.  They have one son, who was there, who is proficient in English. He has a job in the Hague, Holland with Shell oil.  He has just graduated in Petroleum Engineering at the Kazakh British University, of 2,000 students, which is in the old Government buildings down towards TsSUM. 

I liked the situation and the price is $1,300 and we would be responsible for the utilities, internet, and TV.  I was reflecting as I walked briskly back to my hostel room but took a wrong turn. The area is VERY cosmopolitan. I felt as if sometimes I was in NYC.  The streets I walked on (Furmanova and Septaeva) are newly asphalted.  Septaeva at the intersection is very broad. There was a Tiffany’s and Company, and lots of fancy stores and restaurants.  At one point there were a BUNCH of students on the sidewalk, and I realized that the Agrarian University which is beside our university, extends from Abaya to Septaeva.  I walked past Gros and Techno mart into the back entrance of our university and thought I might as well upload the pictures and go back to the Kazakhstan H. and send them to you. ********************


I’m back in the office at 3/4 pm/am. I feel incredibly relaxed as I had a hot shower and changed clothes in the “hostel.”  I was pretty sweaty, as I’d just returned from a visit with a suitcase to Paul’s apartment to extract the last things. As it turned out, Paul was coming home, too. I called him and learned this, and he arrived just after I arrived and we had lunch together. He seemed to wait and want for me to pray, as had become our custom.I think it was Providential that my return to the apartment for the last time, timed out with his going there too, and our talk.  All my remaining stuff fit wonderfully into the one suitcase.
Change of topic.  I can stay in the hostel for ten days, and then for 16 more days until a week before you come, for $50/night.  I would like to do that, and move to an apartment on Saturday, Oct. 6.  Fortunately, the apartment that K. saw is still available for $1,300 and I will see it tonight with Mohammed’s assistant. (He is head of housing services here.)  I said I would meet her at the Lobby of H. Kazakhstan and we’d go by taxi to this place. I’ll walk back. Apparently, the university prof offered a lower price $1,100 (strange
after he said his wife couldn’t navigate the stairs) and the landlady did not offer to lower below $1,300.  So, I think that is the price, and it may well be worth it. I’ll see, take some pictures and send them to you.—
N. in HR asked me when I went in with form for your insurance, how many years experience in ADMINISTRATION, did I have, and how many years teaching.  I think it added up to 19 teaching and 9 administration.  Why did she want to know this?

The woman who is head of HR was smiley and said my tax number will be taken care of (and bank account) with my new address at the university.  They like to speak Russian with me. I think HR here are my friends.

I washed clothes, but that guest area is so new that they don’t have a rack to dry them on (or trashbags). I could hang on hangers and over suitcases.  If you brought a few wire hangers with you, they could be very useful. They don’t weigh much.

Student stopped me in the “yard”  to talk. He is Korean, said grandfather was born in
S. Korea
; brought here with ONE Million Koreans in 1950s.  We need to know the history on that. This could be fertile field.

The Dean of Students is sponsoring contest for mascot. Owl was chose.  Now they are voting on student art work for the future; winning student gets $500.

I have purchased “Brita-like”  filter pitcher and put it in the fridge at Hostel, with a sign that others are welcome to use it. So far, I’ve seen only one other guy, S., a political scientist.

The dollar is falling now, and may fall 5 oe 10% more in a few months.  That is good for us, since my salary is fixed in Tenge.

A student interviewed me on tape for a journalism class, about the exchange rate.  Two students from student paper did an interview with me and a few days later came back to take my picture.  I’d shown them pictures on laptop of you and told your/our story. I think Man Meets Woman at our university is kind of a nice story here. When you get here, you should tell “about how it was back then.”
I’ll load up the newest pictures and scoot over to H. Kazakhstan by 6/7.  This is a nice time, “after the hump of Wednesday” but it is forever busy.

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