Archive for September, 2009

Daniya’s Favorite Grandma was a Reluctant Bride

     Today I want to tell about my favorite grandmother. Her name is Damet Artykbayeva. She was born in the North Kazakhstan, in Karaganda city, in 1939. There were many children in her family: 6 sisters and just only one brother. For a long time she was living in Karaganda: she graduated from school in this city and entered to the pedagogical university. After graduating university, she became a teacher of mathematics. And from this time mathematics is one of the important things in her life. Sometimes when she feels herself unwell she starts to do some mathematical exercises and in a few time we see that she is becoming to be full of energy and power.

     In 1961 my grandmother met my grandfather. And this meeting changed all her life because they were going out for 3 years, till 1964 and in May 1964 they got married. My grandmother doesn’t like to talk about their marriage because she starts to feel embarrassed. But my grandfather always tells me about it. As I know my grandfather for three years was saying about the marriage but my grandmother didn’t want to accept this proposal. And in 1964 my grandfather decided that they have to get married. He’d sent invitations about their marriage to all friends and relatives and after that came to my grandmother and said that they will get married. And of course she accepted this proposal.

     In 1966 they had their first child, my aunt. They gave her name – Mendigul. And in 1969 was born my mother, Leyla. A few years later my grandmother born a third girl but she was ill and died in few weeks. That is why my grandparents have only 2 children.

     Since 1964 to 1997 my grandmother and grandfather had been living in Central Kazakhstan, in small town called Zhezkazgan. There my grandmother was working as a headmaster and was giving private lessons.

     In 1997 they moved to Almaty. My family is living there and after this time we were spending lots of hours with grandmother. As I remember all my school years, at holidays grandmother woke me up in early morning and we started to do math exercises. Also she’s brought me up, has given me my pocket money and bought sweets.

     I really love my grandmother. I’m grateful to her for everything she has done for me and I hope that she will be with us for a long time.

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Gaukhar’s Grandpa and family were repressed as kulaks

    I want to tell you about my grandpa. His name is Zait. My grandpa was born in 1921 in Mangistay, the west of Kazakhstan near Caspian sea. His father was a respectable, rich man and had 3 children. In 1930-1932 in Kazakhstan and other Soviet republics started the process called dispossession of the kulaks. Kulaks were people who were not poor and who had any property. Everything was confiscated from land to cattle, everything that was earned by hard work. Moreover all kulaks and their families became the subjects of repressions. The family of my grandpa could be repressed too, so my great grandfather decided to leave all and to put to flight from the country with his family: wife and three sons. They ran to Russia and this road was very difficult.

During their escape my great grandfather died because of infarction. So great grandma and children were left without the head of the family, but they had to continue their flight. Fortunately grandpa, his brothers and mom still achieved the point of destination- Russia. They settled in Orenburg city. At this period my grandpa was only 12 years old, his younger brother was 10 years old and elder brother was 17. My grandpa at the age of 12 decided himself to stay in Orenburg’s orphan’s home with his younger brother. He made this decision in order to help his family to survive, because it would be very hard for his mother to keep three children. Great grandma was opposed to his 12 years old son’s decision, she didn’t want to leave her children in the orphan’s home, however she had to agree because it was the only way to survive. My great grand mother lived with the elder son in Orenburg and always visited her younger sons. She soon realized that the orphan’s home was very good; there her children received good education. My grandpa was taught how to play on a great variety of musical instruments and developed his musical talent. In 1941 my grandpa at the age of 20 and his brothers were called for army because the Great Patriotic War started.

    During the War grandpa received a lot of different medals, orders, ribbons and other awards of honor and bravery. In 1943 he and his battalion were encircled by enemies and taken to captivity. The whole battalion was sent to Italy. There grandpa was held in concentration camp till the end of the War. In 1945 my grandpa was released and sent back to Russia.

After all he finally returned to his mother, his elder brother returned from the war too. But the younger brother of my grandpa was missing in action during the Great Patriotic War. Grandpa was trying to find his brother all his life. In 1947 grandpa married to my grandma, whose name was Zia. They lived near grandpa’s mother in their own house. In 1950 my grandma gave a birth to my aunt and three years later my mom was born. My mother has three sisters. My grandpa lived in this house near the Ural River in Orenburg region whole his life. My mother and her sisters moved to Kazakhstan when they became grown up. My grandpa died in 2001 when I was 9 years old. When I was a child me, my family, all my aunts and their families used to visit him very often.

I decided to write about my grandpa- Zait because despite severe periods in his life he always smiled a lot, he was always very cheerful and kind. My grandpa for me is the evidence of human’s strength, will, bravery and kindness. He underwent many ordeals and never gave up. Every time when I think about my grandpa a great feeling of pride and admiration arouse in me!!!

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Nurlan’s Grand-grandfather was from the famous Adai tribe

     My grand-grand father’s name is Zhalgaspai. He was born in 1837 in the village in south-western Kazakhstan region, which is now called Mangistau oblast. At those times, people kept nomadic way of life and were ruled by the khan. So they often traveled from south-western Kazakh lands to up north by Russian Empire’s territory Orenburgskaya gubernya.

     Zhalgaspai was a very rich man. He was born in the aristocratic family and belonged to the famous tribe called Adai of the Smaller Zhuz. The Adai tribe is famous for its bravery during the massive attacks of Mongols and other enemies of Kazakh people in the medieval. During the Soviet times they also contributed to the gaining of the independence of Kazakh land from Soviet power.

     Zhalgaspai’s father was a head of the village and owned an enormous number of horses. He died early during Zhalgaspai’s childhood. Even though Zhalgaspai was too young to take care of all the cattle and the village, he became engaged in politics of the village and other regions in the age of sixteen. Later on he was elected as a head of the village. Zhalgaspai was well-known and respected in that area for being very generous man who helps poor people and for his ability to wisely solve conflicts concerning pasture lands between villages. Unfortunately, during the crisis time in Soviet Union most of the Zhalgaspai’s fortune was seized by Bolsheviks. Later he was killed by Bolsheviks under the massive killing of all rich and educated people of Kazakhstan during the early 1900’s.

     I’m very proud of my grand-grand father, as he was a good son of his people and contributed to the development of his community. People were telling legends about the greatness of the number of his horses. According to one of the legends, the sound of the running horses of Zhalgaspai could be heard several miles away in the neighboring villages.

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My Writing Students’ Responses to “Select Fit”

Galina – The movie clip draws our attention to such inborn personal quality as egoism.  It shows that self-centered people will always try to adapt this world to themselves no matter what others may say.  The clip shows an example of what we all deny, i.e. us being egoistic ourselves.  The most interesting part of the scene is where the man edits the tape to get “You-Are-Everything.”  I believe that this represents the director’s main idea.  I think the film is an appeal to stop concentrating on oneself and start looking out for the world that is around.  No matter how difficult one may think his “miserable” life is, there are people out there who deserve our attention and care…the director is trying to make his audience find a reflection of themselves in the main character of the film.


Rustam – this video clip is about one man who always uses drugs.  One day when he was sitting in a video station, he saw two angels who had started to tell him about helping people and not using drugs…I think this film is really about helping other people, and do not affect them.  Maybe it shows that some bad habits, time and money which persons for them, is really stupid, because person can use them for positive things.  I think that last moment of this film shows that the director really wants to show that… You…are… NOT…everything.


Viktoriya – the movie is about the importance of the society to the single person, and about people’s perception to understand only what they want to understand and to hear only the filtered speech, neglecting what is really important…director is trying to say to his audience: “Listen, don’t be egoistic, be a better human.”


Daniyar – This movie clip describes the angels’ attempt to explain to drug addicted person that all people are alike and he is not special. The most interesting part of the film is the end when we realize that the man didn’t listen to the angels but searched for words that fit him.  He didn’t listen.  It’s my view that the film explains that in real life people usually don’t pay attention to others, they are always thinking about their own interests (like drugs in film(, and it is always easy to turn it upside down about what people all around are talking about.  All people are egocentric and they don’t want to change themselves.


Aina – This film is about one man who takes drugs and two angels who want to help him stop taking drugs.  They give him some money and give him the choice to help other people or do what he does before.  So, this man thinks and remembers what they said before.  He chooses some words from their talk that he thinks is needed for him: “You are everything.”  So, at the end he decides to continue to take the drugs.


Joo Ok – Two angels talk to someone who is taking drugs.  One of the angels asked “what is the meaning of people?” then gave a dollar to the guy.  He uses the dollar to do drugs instead of saving people…He taped what he wanted to hear.  He fitted their sayings because he needed an excuse for taking drugs.  What the film is REALLY about is: You can save others’ lives instead of doing drugs.


Ainura T. – I think this clip is mostly about choice.  Choices that every day made by people.  What to do? To do according to your self interest without concerning of others or think about people surrounding you.  In this clip the man is given a choice: take drugs or not.

Pavel – This film is about a man’s decision about not only the drugs but about life in general.  It is not easy to go the right way under difficult circumstances.


Niyaz – It is about drug abuse. I think that he is a very rich guy and the angels would try to make him understand that there are things that are more wealthier and cleaner, in other words, are better than drugs.


Ilyas – The film is about real life that is about our inside world when we already need to make decisions…the meaning of people is NOT to take drugs and to NOT forget about all of them around him.


Answers to questions from my Listening classes about “Select Fit”

What is the meaning of people?

Gaukhar: I think the meaning of people is to realize themselves in this life, to become someone.  I mean that in the end of life you shouldn’t regret about your past.  The meaning is to make people remember you and love you.  I think it’s the best award for all of us.

Valerie: The meaning of people is to live, to bring lives, to help each other in order to survive because this life is about people.  Life is what people are doing, how they’re living, what they’re bringing in life; the relationships.


Why do you think someone would try to edit their own reality?

Rustem: because it’s easier when you have to think only about yourself

Tolegen: Nowadays reality often becomes gray routine so the option to edit the reality, if it were ever possible, seems very attractive.

Yessengeldy: People are creating their own reality because it is comfortable to them.

Galimzhan: because not all people like their reality, so it is human nature when someone don’t like something, he or she try to change it.

Serikzhan: some people are running away from their reality.  They’re afraid of it.  They do whatever possible to run away from it.

Almas: people try to edit their own reality, because everyone makes mistakes.

Valerie: because some people don’t like the reality they have and cannot do anything to change, but they try.


Why do you think the angel wanted Tom to give the dollar away?
Rustem: because the dollar was the first step to start doing something good for others.  And the first step is the hardest step, but after it will be easier with every step.


Raushan: because he had been looking at Tom for a long time and saw that Tom had done nothing to help others and because he wanted Tom to edit his reality.  In spite of all these, Tom did what HE wanted to do.  In my opinion, nowadays there are many people like Tom, who don’t want to help others.  And we should help them to edit their views to life.


Assel – In my opinion, Tom’s life was so empty and unfulfilled, he was thinking only about himself and perhaps he did nothing for others.  So the angels wanted him to make a first step towards people


Zhainagul – the dollar portrays Tom’s knowledge.  Giving it away will mean sharing the information on the “meaning of life.”

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Photos with Two Speakers from Chevron and Nestle

P9170538My MA graduate students listened to two lectures this past week as part of their English Listening and Speaking course.  Both speakers are friends of mine from outside my university.  They readily agreed and accepted to come and talk with my eager, graduate students.  

P9150530On Sept. 16, Marielena Andino, Project Manager at Chevron talked about “Change Management.”  On Sept. 18 a Financial Director for the Eurasia section of Nestle, Rafael Requena came and talked about “Nestle Principles.” After his talk and answering the students many questions, he handed out big Nestle candy bars.  My students were VERY pleased!  I was too.


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Interview with the REAL “Rudy” and Students’ Comments

Part of the Special Features in the American DVD of “Rudy,” the movie I showed last weekend to my two listening classes, was a videotaped interview with the REAL Rudy. (Another reason why buying pirated copies of the original is not a good idea, no special features or English subtitles. My Kazakh students got both) Their comments about the movie speak volumes…

 Gaukhar – Rudy, my impressions are great.  I really can’t believe that the plot of the film is the real story.  It’s just unbelievable.  All his dreams came true, not like in fairy tales, but because of his hard work. The real Rudy said, “What you need is a dream, and then you will find what you should do.” He finally achieved his goal, his dream.  This film and this real story are very inspiring.

 Yuliya – The film creators did a great job because a real story of Rudy is very similar to the one presented in the movie.  Real Rudy is the same determined guy who tries to make his dream come true.  In 1974, he got admission to the school of Notre Dame and the next year he played his first game.  It was very interesting to watch how vivid were the memory from this game.  Real Rudy Ruettiger was crying recalling the date of November 8, 1974.  He achieved his goal.

 Fahriddin – This man was very determined.  He never gave up even with so many obstacles in his life.  The actor looked a lot like the real Rudy.  He is very emotional.  He practiced for two seasons on the practice squad before he was allowed to play.

 Aslan – It’s really impressive to see a person, who reached everything he dreamed about.  There are a lot of people who reach a lot in their lives, but not many, who make their dreams happen.

 Ruslan – At first, Sean Austin, is a very good actor, he really acts like the original Rudy, even the wrong pronunciation of the “sh”!!  Now we can see that Rudy is a very happy person, he is satisfied with his life, we can “see it in his face.”  I think he is a real hero, he had a dream, he made his dream come true, he never gave up, so he acheived his aims and goals.

 Nurlan – the real person looks very similar to the actor (Sean Austin).  I think even personally their characters are identical.  Rudy is a “real dreamer.”  Even many years after college, he still has his feelings at those moments and he can recall those important moments.

 Diana – Oh…I did not watch the film, but after seeing this interview, I was really impressed by the contents of the film “Rudy” and by his real life and dreams, and how it was difficult to achieve all this, to live for the aim, for one dream day when he went to the stadium and felt happiness.  He was crying when he told about this day that is why I could feel all the difficulty and happiness of his feelings.

 Aigerim O. I believe that our dreams come true.  I believe that our thoughts realizing and never give up with your dreams, never be afraid of them, you really can get it, even if it seems impossible.  And Rudy is one, who never stopped dreaming and proved that there are no impossible things.

 Aigerim M. I appreciate his casting in the film.  I’m impressed about his feelings and story.  He really did a good job.  Although failures in his life, he continued to dream and reach his goals.  In my life I’m trying to do this too.  For that, you have to be strong person with perfect ambitions.  We can change our life style and our destiny.  Our destiny is in our hands.  He changed his destiny at the end. I like him very much, he is an example for us.

 Aizhan – I think that a film is enticing.  It is a real story about a man who did whatever he can to pursue his dreams.  It really makes me think about my future, plans.  To achieve something you need to have dreams.

 Daniya – I think that the film is like the real story about Rudy. All situations showed in film were happened with this guy.  All his achievements were shown in true way. If we compare the film and the real story, we can understand that the director’s job was done in a good level.  I was really surprised, I liked this story so much.

Karashash – I watched the real story of Rudy and realized that the film is the real story itself, no addition, no false information.  And what surprised me is that Sean Austin who played the main character really looks similar to the real Rudy.  Sean Austin made a good job because what I saw now is very similar to the movie “Rudy”  I was surprised when Rudy told about the day when he eventually played in the game, he started crying.  He really achieved his dream and remembered everything, every feeling about that day!  That is very touching!

 Indira – I was impressed very much, I like this movie too.  This movie looks like a really good story, actually this impressed me very much.  When I was watching movie I was really enjoy, because I didn’t watch such kind of movie before.  This story about Rudy, very interesting and this story taught us how people can achieve their goals, aims.  This story also taught us be stronger and self-confident.  Everything is in our hand! Just do it! Moreover, I listened to the comments for this movie with big interest.  All in all, the movie is pretty good, well done and I really like it very much.  I believe that I will advise watch this movie for my friends.

 Amina – I think that Rudy is really look like actor.  And the actor worked good.  When I saw the REAL Rudy, it was really interesting, now I realized that he is real!  All he did is real.  And I respect him a lot.  He wanted something, worked hard and achieved his goal no matter WHAT!

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Two More Enthusiastic, Rave Reviews on “Rudy”

Fahriddin’s perspective of “Rudy”

    [American] Football is one of the roughest sports in the World. It is also a very competitive one. Rudy also loved the game of football just like me but what was more important is that he had heart. This movie relates to me in many ways, two of which are, he played football for his college team like me and he had love for the game of football which is unexplainable. 

    Rudy Ruttiger played for the university of Notre Dame. I also play for my university just like him but fortunately I do not ride the bench like him. Although he did not play every game he was still part of the team and he was the spirit of the team which helped them win games. This is what every team needs a player who inspires every single man or woman on the team to do their best and never give up. 

    Rudy loved the game of football he could not live without it. His inspiration to make the team and play at least one game were his friends and everyone else who told him that he should never give up. What pushed him most were the people who said that he would never play a game for the team. I love the game of football it is my personal favorite sport. I cannot explain why it is so but I cannot live without it. When I came back to Kazakhstan from the US there was no one who I knew that could play this sport. I thought I would die. When I was enrolled at our “western” university, I found out that there was a football team, I thought I was the happiest person on the planet at that moment. 

    In conclusion this movie relates to me in many ways two of them are that he played for his college team like me and he loved the game of football just like me. You should never stop chasing dreams even if in everyone else’s eyes they are unreal.

Karashash’s thoughts about “Rudy”

This weekend I watched the film called “Rudy”. It was very hard to find this movie but when I eventually found it and watched I asked myself why I did not heard about it earlier because this movie really a masterpiece! I am still excited about it; I can not describe emotions and feelings inside me! It is very touching, moving, encouraging and inspiring! The main idea of the story is that dreams make people believe in the better future, make them to become brave. The main character’s friend, Pete, repeated his father’s words: “Having dreams is what makes our life tolerable”. This is the statement that could describe this entire movie! When I was watching I suddenly thought that everyone should have dream, should have hope and belief and I realized that actually I do not have strong desire, dream about something! I just have goals and aims to achieve but not dreams. After this movie I started thinking of this and I do not understand why I do not have it! All my life I considered that my goals are my dreams but now I am confused. In my opinion people with dreams even with impossible ones are the happiest! After I achieve one goal I think about next one and that is how my life goes; I do not think about one thing that I want! So after this movie something inside me told me that I should believe in something that would be encouraging me but what?! The answer is still unknown…

However, the persons that have dreams I think in our country have a possibility to make them become true if it not the dream to fly to the Moon, but who knows what will happen after few years! I consider that most of the Kazakhstan people do not feel lack of freedom to realize their dreams even the craziest one! I think that this movie should be broadcasted everywhere, in every country and to everyone because it could encourage, really inspire someone not to give up but to try again and again unless your dream is true! This is how Rudy does; this is to what he devoted his life! I hope that one day I will be having dream that will be making me to wake up with the hope to realize my dream!

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