Saturday, April 9, 2011

living in the moment

sorry for the lack of updates. i have been super busy here. we started teaching last week. i am teaching a 1st year class of translators. their English level is very low. the class is super structured, and the students never use critical thinking or group or pair work. i am trying to push the envelope with my lesson plans, but my first lesson crashed and burned. the students aren’t comfortable enough with me and their class is usually taught with a great deal of Russian language support. the communication barrier is massive. getting participation is a bear. communication with my counterpart is also difficult. we are just on two different pages. this coming week i will be teaching two lessons, one with this class and another with a new class and counterpart.

i think i have finally reached the point in my travels where i am becoming comfortable here. i have officially been away from home for one month. i am starting to fall into a routine that makes life more comfortable. granted my schedule is packed with training, homework, & lessons. i am also getting to hang out with some awesome trainees. what i have enjoyed most about being in Kazakhstan is being forced to live in the moment. i think i spent several hours a day at home in the states thinking about the future. my next meal, my next job, my next big move, here it just isn’t possible to think this way. i have absolutely no control over my future. at all. i don’t know what i will eat for lunch tomorrow. i don’t know where i will be living in a couple months. i don’t know what my training schedule is this week.

i spend each day living in the moment. it is amazing. it has it’s perks and downers. the thing about living in the moment is that you really feel every emotion throughout the day. i really feel every high and low. when i successfully teach 200 students to line dance during English club the high radiates through me. i am content in an unimaginable way. i love being here. and then moments later i am standing over the dog i have been feeding for the past two weeks lying dead on the side of the road. & the low is so low. and the heartbreak literally aches throughout my body. & in that moment this is the worst thing that could have happened, & i don’t know if i will make it one more minute here.

the important thing is that at the end of the day i can reflect on the highs and recognize that they truly outweigh the lows. yesterday i had the worst morning ever. i saw my dead dog & then walked in to teach my lesson and it flopped. & then i got torn to pieces in the debrief of my lesson. as if i wasn’t already aware of the disasters that had just occurred. but my day ended with me having one of the best nights since i have been here. i watched a sunset from my apartment roof, played on a merry-go round (and then got told to leave), scrambled through an abandoned building, stood at the top of a hill in between two giant brush fires, hung out at a friends house, and finished the evening standing & seesawing in a playground. & i had these fantastic opportunities with the company of some really awesome trainees. last night as i was crawling into bed i was amazed at how easy it is to turn a disaster of a day into something i will never forget.

p.s. spring is finally here! & the kazakhstanis celebrate in style. although my mom tells me that it will be cold again on monday. boo.

p.p.s i promise my next post will be less abstract and give some more concrete stories of my time here.

bedtime for this kid,


  1. living in the moment is a hard lesson to learn. I struggle with it all the time. You are doing an amazing thing, Emily. Keep your head up. You are you bunches!!

  2. Love reading your escapades:)
    Keep them coming!

  3. Hi Emily. As you get more familiar with the people and the language and they with you and your language, there will be many many more ups and so few downs, I promise! It will take some time though, so dig in to the opportunities you have and keep your hope :) On the ship we were taught to be FAT (Flexible, Adaptable and Teachable). It's hard when people do things so differently to what you're used to but eventually it will all become more of a "norm" for you. I am praying for you and as your mom said, you are doing an amazing thing. Be encouraged. x