Sunday, October 19, 2008

Wedding Season

Oodles of drinking, eating and dancing; that is really the best way to describe the wedding. All Thursday, Friday and Saturday there was a constant flow of people through the doors of our house where they would be greeted by the bride, sit, eat and toast to the expanding family. As far as I can tell there was no actual ceremony per say, it was more of a three day celebration…I think, even after three days of witnessing this event I am still confused because my language skills are not far along enough to decipher the elaborate traditions of a Kyrgyz wedding. But fortunately for me this is wedding season and I have been invited to another Kyrgyz wedding next week by a young woman who has beautiful English. This time around I’m attending just one day of the ceremony rather than the celebration marathon that I just finished! Hopefully after my third wedding in country I will finally start to understand what the hell is going on.

But outside of weddings, life has begun to feel normal here! It’s hard to believe that I have already completed my first whole month of service. I started Russian lessons and English clubs this week so it seems overnight my schedule has began to fill up. My NGO found a Russian tutor who sits with me one-on-one and works through grammar and vocabulary for an hour and a half every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday morning. My instructor is this tall, bleach blonde Russian woman in her mid-fifties. The first thing I noticed about her was her attention to diction, when she speaks every syllable and letter is pronounced perfectly at quite a loud volume to make sure that I don’t miss a single sound that comes out of her mouth. In addition to her perfect pronunciation she is also very animated and will get up and start acting out a verb if I don’t know what she is say (she doesn’t speak English) or she will hold my hand as she talks to me. Its kinda funny picturing myself in a small classroom with this large Russian woman holding my hands as she shouts Russian grammar rules at me!

So I start my day with these intensive Russian lessons and end it with an English club. The first couple of club were dedicated to getting to know each other. We also made lists of topics that we could use as a theme to each meeting. By the end of the week we started choosing some of the topics the students had expressed interest in and ended up having some fairly intense clubs. The university group wanted to talk about youth and deviance so we spent about 45 minutes defining deviance and giving examples of youth deviance, we then ended the club with a 15 minute debate on types of punishment for youth who break the law. The high school students that I am working with spent time coming up with ideas to promote an anti-violence awareness campaign that my NGO is hosting events for.

In addition to my work picking up, things at home are getting easier too since I’m starting to feel like I have a handle on cooking in a Kyrgyz kitchen. The other day I bought a giant pumpkin at the bazaar and made copious amounts pumpkin bread and pumpkin soup! To my surprise it actually turned out really well! I will say this, cooking with canned pumpkin was much much much faster!

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