Archive for February 21, 2009

“World Class Flat” and Wise Buys

There have been some important developments in a special meeting I had recently with my dear husband.  We raised three specific issues:

1) Our credit card company has been harassing us more and more with their high percentage of interest we are charged monthly.  Such threats exerted by the credit card companies are onerous to say the least.  At the same time, these credit card companies are only too willing to give us a check of money to sign away our lives.  We could do without that kind of pressure.  (Please read to the bitter end of this satirical diatribe)


2) We need to relinquish our expensive, Soviet flat, and scale down to a smaller model.  Currently we live in a “World Class” three room apartment (maybe Khrushchev era) with original linoleum and turn-of-the-1970s furniture.  The foundation of the building seems steady and durable against any unforeseen earthquakes.  However, as nice a view of the mountains that we enjoy most every morning, we know we MUST resolve this issue with our landlady before March 13 that being a “Friday the Thirteenth” and whatever ill omens may attend that particular date for those who are superstitious. We are not.  We actually like our landlady and she likes our rent money in dollars. Yet an unfortunate and cataclysmic rupture in our relationship needs to happen soon and very soon.


3) I continue to seek “Special Status” amongst my teaching peers as someone who only holds a terminal M.A. degree in TESOL. I have been a member of this international organization and am in good standing since 1990.  I have been to nine different annual conferences in the last 19 years. I am looking forward to attending and participating in my tenth international TESOL conference in Denver, Colorado on March 20. Sadly, at our Kazakh university, all research funds have been cut so I will have to wing it on my own, about $2,000 of airfare and other ground transportation out of my own pocket. I have known since last October that my paper was accepted and there is an 18% acceptance rate of all such proposals at TESOL.  Sans the “Special Status” prestige, I know in my heart of hearts that I am special, at least I know my husband thinks so. Right dear?


Fortunately, I am honored to be an Official TESOL Blogger for this annual TESOL event which draws in 5-7,000 participants from all over the world. (No doubt my readership of this blog will spike as a result.) I will also present a 45 minute paper about what I have experienced while teaching in Kazakhstan.  I hope to eventually get this paper published.  Apparently, in Sweden you do not need a Ph.D. to teach at their universities but instead show that you can consistently publish in order to be promoted.  At our current university it is those who hold a Ph.D. degree, but don’t necessarily publish, who have gravitas while other Ph.D. degree holders do not.  Even the prized Ph.D. degree doesn’t seem to count anymore because inexplicably it is WHO you know and not WHAT you know that is important. (sigh)


I had wanted three of my Kazakh teaching colleagues, who are also students in the MATESOL program, to accompany me to Denver but due to the recent financial crisis where all our salaries dropped 25%, they all eventually bowed out.  Please don’t get me wrong, I feel very privileged to teach at our Kazakh institution of higher learning in Almaty, but I cannot afford the financial or emotional costs that this sacrificing of funds brings us to.  We must divest immediately in order to take action in this dilemma we are in.  We MUST sell all our personal possessions (we will give our clothes away what we don’t wear on our backs), which hopefully might be of value to others.  Nobody but us take full responsibility for these actions.  We are accountable for all our decisions in order to continue to live and breathe the thin air of Almaty.  My hubby and I know we must run a lean and trim, (did I say efficient?), household, so we must sell, sell, sell!!!  Somehow we will get by, we will survive, we WILL prevail!!! (to be continued in tomorrow’s blog)





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