On the first day in my new home, I heard a knock and opened the fortified door to see an elderly lady holding some groceries. I said "Hello" in Russian, and she responded in kind. Although we spoke for roughly five more minutes, that introduction was basically all I understood from our conversation. At one point, she put down her groceries and walked past me into my apartment. Dumbfounded and utterly confused, I followed her as she went into my bathroom and took off an air vent and reached behind it to fiddle with some of the pipes. After a few seconds she threw up her hands in frustration, put the air vent back in its place, picked up her groceries, said my landlord's name and gestured for him to call her. I said "Okay, thank you, very much, good morning" and closed the door. It was only after a few minutes did I remember that my landlord also only spoke Russian and I would have no idea how to explain to him what just happened! Learning Russian will make life so much easier, and I'm doing as much as I can to get better. I meet with a Russian tutor twice a week, listen to a daily audio Russian language course, and read as much as possible.
|Fareen and I trying a local dish|
This week at work was even better than the first. I had the opportunity to sit in on lots of meetings and legitimately work and think through strategy and planning for Academic Affairs. This is in addition to the already interesting research and writing I have been assigned. The University of Central Asia releases a quarterly magazine called Q-News that provides updates on the University, and the most recent issue had a great section on the Institute of Public Policy and Administration (IPPA), available here. The first initiative of UCA's Graduate School of Development, IPPA was founded in 2011 and "aims to foster a stimulating, innovative and rigorous inquiry into issues relating to the socio-economic development of Central Asia, particularly its vast mountain regions."
|View from the office balcony!|
|In front of UCA office|
|Nadim, Fareen and I in Issyk-Kul|
Random thoughts of the week:
- I asked my landlord for Wifi in the apartment, and he said "Okay." He then brought a massive ethernet cable that reaches every nook and corner of my apartment, and called it Wifi.
- We tried a spinach pizza one day for lunch, and hidden underneath the cheese we found hard boiled eggs. Surprise!
- Some cars have the driver's seat on the left side of the car, and others on the right. Never seen that before!
- Confession: I walked head first into a money exchange sign while trying to Skype with my sisters on the way to work. Definitely not going to try that one again lol
PS. I'm totally kidding about being bald. The haircut was actually fantastic, and I'm definitely going there again next month.