Yesterday I was heavily burdened with my backpack full of drinks, fruit and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. I badly needed a taxi to get to the university. Usually I NEVER take from two guys in the front but the driver was beguiling and I was desperate. It helps to see the driver with his steering wheel on the right side of the car instead of talking to him over on the left from the opened window to the curb. I haggled with this driver for 400 and he insisted on 500 tenge, okay I got in against my better judgment.
Both Kazakh guys were beaming and I tried out my Russian with them to the best of my abilities. The driver in front of me talked non-stop and I knew my Russian would only last half way to the university and so to make my 500 tenge worth the trip, he became my Kazakh teacher. He said “How are you?” in impeccable Russian and then he said it in Kazakh. I faltered through that but they both smiled. Next lesson was, “What is your name?” Then, “My name is…” Whew, once I arrived to the university, I struggled to get out from the back. The driver chivalrously jumped out to help me dislodge with my backpack and purse. What a funny start to a busy day.
Indeed, on to greater lessons of getting ready for my expat guests who were coming to the university for a lunch, tour and listening to my students’ presentations. We will do the same tomorrow with five more jittery presenters, I hope. All of the students have been working on their topic for the last five months. I was supremely proud of the first five who presented yesterday. I know they are relieved it is over for them, they got a lot of good feedback from our expat guests. I’m thankful that the technology cooperated and their Powerpoint presentations were well put together. These presenters did this in their third language of English, I’m eeking by with basic sentences in Russian and Kazakh. I marvel at my Kazakh students and greatly admire all at our university who know THREE languages!!!