Ryan’s First Impressions of Kazakhstan (Part IV)

Read past posts to know who Ryan is and what impressed him about Kazakshtan:

July 5, 2010

Hey everybody,

I’m hanging out in an internet cafe in a mall listening to country tunes from home to drown out the ear splitting Russian Techno they play here. The fact that it’s Russian I love but man…why the techno? I have so much that I could tell you guys which is why I need to catch up on my journaling because I’m so afraid I’m going to forget some before I write it down. Travelers out there…can I get a witness?! I’ll do my best to give you guys a synopsis of what’s been going on the last few days.

Let’s start with last Thursday. I came to Mega with a friend of Cindy’s and we hung out and I had a local hamburger. We got a chance to talk and practice our English and Russian respectively and play some computer games before we had to go back. It was a lot of fun to just hang out and I found an internet cafe which is always good. Then I went back to work and worked with an English conversation club.

We listened to a Beatles song called Blackbird to help their English. The song was slow and relatively simple. I was just amazed at the symbolism in the song. It’s about a blackbird finally having the chance to fly…pretty cool when you considered that it was written as a response to Civil Rights Movement. I’d never heard it and was really impressed with it. Youtube it! Then we played a game called “What’s that word?” where we wrote down a person place and a thing and had to describe the word to get people to guess it. It was fun!

There was one girl that wrote down “Stevenage” which is a city in England. I had to confirm it with Cindy but it does exist. After that I took the bus to another English conversation I was to be a part of. They were beginners which made me really pay attention to my word choice and speed of talking. I worked with an intermediate group the night before and it was a blast as well. They’re really interested in learning about life in America.

Side note: livestreaming a hometown radio station makes me very happy and less homesick. One of the great things about being so busy that you’re just exhausted is that it leaves very little time for homesickness. I also have made some great friends here that whether they know it or not get me through the hard times. He knows exactly what we need when we need it, yeah? Friday I slept in for a little bit and woke up some time after nine. I read and relaxed for a bit before meeting some friends. It was nice to hang out and talk.

After that I went home and relaxed for a bit before Sergei made shaslik (meat kebobs) that were amazing. Then I went for a really cold swim before calling it a night. The next day I got up and everyone else left so I watched a movie called “The Hairy Father” in Russian. It stars Tim Allen and was a hilarious movie. I went for a swim later in the day before meeting up with some of the people that I taught English to. Again, I had shaslik…can we say a lot of meat! I loved hanging out with them.

Yesterday, I relaxed before going to meet with friends because that was all in Russian. That’s hard to not be able to understand much and have to really work to understand what you do. I waited for my bus after getting done on the internet only to realize that mine had stopped running. So, I grabbed a taxi and had to wait for the driver to get ready to go. Then when we got to my house he had no change so after getting some he gave me a partial refund. I was getting a little annoyed but I’m glad it all worked out.

Today, I had a really good lunch with Cindy and Elizabeth and then we went and bought tickets for the next leg of the journey which will start on Saturday the 17th. Now, I’m chilling (not really it’s pretty hot in here actually) and saying hi to you guys. I can’t wait to really explain

Backing up a bit, I am REALLY glad I got my visa for Kazakshtan. It took thirty hours from their receipt of my paperwork to it being back in the mail. It could have taken 5 days. I got it and I’m here now in Kazakhstan. The flights were interesting because I’ve never spent that much time on planes before. I enjoyed it but I’m certainly glad that’s over. I got to spend some time in Amsterdam. I had lunch and randomly met an Austrailian nurse while eating. I had a quick lunch of french fries and mayonnaise. The Dutch are deep in the Midst of World Cup fever. Orange(their royal color) and Dutch flags are everywhere. Everyone’s talking about soccer…it’s great!

I loved European trains…so nice and fast…furthering my belief that America should invest in such things. I got here about 4.15a and went through passport control. It was really simple and my bags made it here with me so all was well. I must have been asked if I wanted a taxi about 50 times while waiting for my ride. He got there and we set out to find where I was supposed to stay. We found it, finally, and I met one of my contacts, Vicky. She’s house sitting for some Americans so the house I’m staying in is really Western. I love it because I needed a hot shower and a bed and I got them both. It took me about 20 mins to fall asleep but once I did I was out until about 2p. Now, I’m just adjusting and relaxing. So..I’m here…I’m safe and sound…Peace, Ryan

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