Friday, September 27, 2013

This Assembly is Boring

*First things first, sorry for the delay in posting. 

You know what's funny? Realizing how boring assemblies are for teachers. HOLY CRAP! Especially assemblies at 2pm on Friday... an hour before the school day ends... bad idea much?

Anyways I just listened to the deputy director yell at all the students for cell phone usage, and then as he steps off stage makes a phone call... oops!

(To be fair I'm sitting here blogging... My excuse is that the announcement was made in Tajik)

I've had to take a stricter approach with my students this last week. They kind of never like to pay attention. So I instituted new rules, taught them about baseball (three strikes and you're out!) and it's going a little better.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Worse Stove: Dushanbe or College?

Aaaaaanddddd let the debate begin!

When I was living with my roommates in college, I often complained about how bad our stove was (seriously, 15 minutes to boil a pot of water NOT EXAGGERATING). But now I may have met an even worse enemy: an electric stove in Tajikistan.

Now, many of problems may just because it's electric (seriously, how you make an incompetent cook more incompetent reason #2: give him an electric stove when he's used to a gas stove) but oh boy.

Here was the plan: roast some garlic/oil in a pan, throw in pasta sauce after roasting and heat the sauce up a little.

Here is how it went down: throw some garlic in a pan. Wait FOREVER while it was on low setting. Garlic doesn't roast. Turn up to the medium setting. BOOM GARLIC IS ROASTING AND BURNING. Okay. So then it's like. I know I can't add the sauce to the pan while it's this hot... so I turned off the burner and moved the pot off it for a few minutes. Finally think it's cool enough to add the sauce, and I do, and then it's like. Instantly burned sauce. Awesome.

It's that electric-tea-pot-kettle-thing!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A blog to read!

Check out the new blog on the right -->

Emily (who I have taken Persian at Pitt with for the last three years) is a pretty funny blogger and you should enjoy it.

If you're too lazy to click the link on the right, click this one!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Social Life Update #1

Well it was off to a bit of a slow start (I slept A LOT when I first got here), but I've finally started going out and meeting up with friends in the city.

Unfortunately I'm a little bit out of the city, and so sometimes late at night it can be expensive (okay... Tajik expensive) to get back to my place. And by late I mean Tajik late, which is like 9pm.

Last night one of the employees who works in the international relations office (Qosimjon) invited me to try 'kebab Khujandi' with him. Khujand is the northern province in the country (where he is from) and apparently they have their own unique food. So after a bit of a commute to the completely opposite side of the city, we found ourselves at a nice little restaurant and ordered up some Khujand Kebabs.

I would say they weren't horrible... but I'm not ever sure I'm going to like fatty meat as much as the Tajiks. The kebab was basically a ground beef + onion shish kebab (for my readers who know Iranian food think kebab khoobideh-esque) and a lot of chunks of fat. It had a good taste but, seriously, I was pulling that stuff out of my mouth every bite. Qosimjon said next time I can ask them to put less fat in...

Anyways, it's actually a lot of fun to hang out with him (and some other people here) because their English is pretty good. Our conversations are really interesting (and useful?) because we pretty regularly switch between English and Tajik. It's like one second we're explaining something in Tajik and then the next we're saying the other half in English.

Saturday I met a bunch of Brits (among others) and had a really fantastic time hanging out with them. They're all learning Persian here for a month and it will be fun to hang out with them and help them practice their language.

I'm kind of just rambling now so I'll stop there. Nothing too funny to report today (sorrrrrrry). Also did you all notice how many parenthesis I used in this post? No idea why, lol.

Finally working!

Well, it took some time but I finally got a schedule! My schedule is kind of all over the place, but for the most part I teach 'business studies' in the morning and lead a discussion class in the afternoons. My students are all 9th, 10th, and 11th graders, which is nice because I'm not so sure I could handle little kids and 'business studies'.

Each grade is divided into 3-4 groups based on ability. So for example 9A is the best group of English speakers in 9th grade, 9B is second best, and so on. What I found surprising was I only see each group one "academic hour" (that's 45 minutes) a week for discussion and one hour a week for 'business studies'. For discussion that's not a huge deal, but teaching kids econ/business studies once a week for 45 minutes?! Haha. I'll do my best!

I'm really excited to finally get started, and I do think my discussion classes will be a lot of fun. Everyone here has been really nice and accommodating (still) so that's also a major plus. The students are also visibly excited to have a native English speaker for a teacher, so that also makes me feel good.

Number one step for me is to focus on talking slower... we all know that is NOT my specialty.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I Might Be Eating Russian Ramen for the Foreseeable Future

Yeah so we know I'm not the best cook in the world. Couple that with being in this country and I may be in more trouble than I thought!

I went shopping today. The major plus was that the people at the checkout line really loved my reusable Chicago Cubs' bags (thanks mom!). The major minus was... well a lot!

You know what makes a bad chef worse? Having to read names of things or instructions in a language you don't understand (by the way that's Russian, in case you haven't read any of my other blogs).

So this should be fun. I managed to purchase a lot of pasta only to realize I have no idea what I'm going to put on top of it. Is tomato paste the same as pasta sauce? Because the pasta sauce I found was OUT OF THIS WORLD expensive. 

So the good news is I can buy a bunch of Russian knock-off Ramen-ish noodles for like under a dollar each. I'll let you know how those taste when I manage to figure out how to make them.

I know I've been a bad blogger, as this is my first post since arriving Monday, but I can assure you the only thing I've done is sleep and run around the city in an attempt to get my in-country registration complete.

Hopefully I can figure this food thing out soon. Maybe I'll ask one of the Iranians I know here to teach me how to cook Iranian food! 

(I don't think I'll be asking my Tajik friends, no offense!)

Anyways. Aside from my inability to cook, everything is going really well. The people in the international office who I have been working with are fantastic, and I can't wait to finally get started!