Saturday, May 21, 2011

made it to my new home!

so first things first.


I swore in as a volunteer a week ago. it was awesome. we had our swearing in ceremony at the academy of sciences in almaty. the ceremony was nice. my lang. group and i sang our kazakh song. it went better than our dry run with out students at the college the week before. it sounded much less like a dirge this time around. i was definitely shaking the whole time though. haha i'm so lame. the whole thing was over pretty quickly and then we got to have some refreshments. only an hour later i was saying goodbye to most of my training group from ecik. they were all heading out on the train to their sites that day. it was so sad to say goodbye! it is amazing how close you can get to people in such a short amount of time when you go through extreme stress together. i was not lucky enough to leave the same day as swearing in. i was actually one of the last to leave kok-tobe sanetorium. i hung around with the remaining volunteers and waved goodbye as peace corps suvs pulled away with each group. my last night in almaty the four of us left went and grabbed pizza hut in the city. it was a good farewell dinner before going off on my way to zhez.

i was also not lucky enough to travel to site in a group. it was just me and my counterpart, aizhan. aizhan is super sweet. we had a good time during counterpart conference. (though not as much fun as we trainees had after conference ended each night). so when the peace corps suv came to pick me up at 10:00 pm on sunday i had to climb in with all my luggage alone. the three remaining vols, andrew, cat, and brian stood outside and waved goodbye. my counterpart met me at the train station about 45 minutes later.

i was super nervous sitting alone in the lobby with all my luggage waiting for her. she seemed just as nervous when she saw all my luggage that we had to get onto the train. we made it on just fine. peace corps bought two seat in the coupe for me and one for my counterpart. the fourth seat belonged to a really friendly kazakh guy that was insistent that i would marry a kazakh man before my two years are up, just like the other volunteer he knew of a couple hours from his village. haha. i highly doubt that one.

the train was fun/odd. i have never been on a train for a long trip like that so it was a new experience. since the train left at midnight i was pretty much only on for two nights and one day. this = lots of sleeping and eating. the entier way the view was just steppe. empty steppe. it is amazing to me that so much land here has just been left complete untouched. my counterpart and the friendly guy looked at me like i was nuts when i kept saying beautiful and taking pictures. "this is just steppe. there is nothing here. we are coming close to a village that is beautiful. take pictures of that." btw that village was not beautiful. it was neat to see, but def. not beautiful. although, i'm not sure what compares to watching the sun set and rise over the steppe. absolutely amazing. & of course while on the train i was forced to eat all kinds of foods i would rather not have. but, this is kazakhstan.

when i arrived in zhez it was 5:30 am. & the other vols at my site were at the train station waiting for me with a welcome sign. so sweet! everyone helped me get my luggage into the van and then i was off to my counterparts house. the next two days were really a blur. i went to the school and met the other teachers in my dept. (super friendly and nice. they made me a sign also. and got flowers!) i met with the director of the school. a really nice woman that is also super intimidating at the same time. i met with my potential families and picked one. it is an awesome, super traditional, very outgoing family. they live in a two story house that is way nicer than my condo back home. still no internet though :( but they do have a big flatscreen. it is my host mom, my host dad, and two host brothers. one is 15 and one is 23. they are both super sweet and the 15 year-old speaks great english that is a big help! especially since the dialect of kazakh here is so different. i am basically back at square one as far as language goes. my first night at the house the family cooked a huge meal and invited other vols and family over. there was lots of eating and dancing. i didn't realize until now actually how little i was eating in ecik. the family is my favorite part of zhez so far. (they are so traditional that we eat off one big plate with our hands! something that actually takes skill and i am working on doing without getting food all over the house.)

i start teaching on monday. i am both excited and terrified. the students are a much lower level than my students in ecik so it will be interesting.

wish me luck,

1 comment:

  1. I love reading of your adventures, Em:)
    Thanks for sharing...
    Your new family sounds nice..
    The lower level of your students will be interesting and different for you.
    Praying that the Lord gives you creative lessons and vision for each students.
    He called you so he will equip you:)
    Blessings & Love...