24 April 2012

Can you tell I'm bored?

‘Cause I’ve been in a very list-y mood recently, I’m going to have a completely pointless post about top five things I’ve done/watched/read in country or just in general. None of these are going to be in any order, unless indicated, so take ‘em as they come. Again, I repeat, this a completely pointless entry, but it’ll at least give you an idea of the things my brain thinks of while I’m sitting through lessons at school. Awesome. Ready for this? Here we go!

Top 5 Books I’ve Read While In Country
-       Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
-       Acts of Faith by Eboo Patel
-       Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
-       A Song of Ice & Fire by George RR Martin
-       The Power of the Myth by Joseph Campbell

Top 5 Books I Want To Read Next
-       Luka and the Fire of Life by Salman Rushdie
-       Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John LeCarre
-       The Strain by Chuck Hogan and Guillermo Del Toro
-       Zone One by Colson Whitehead
-       The Fry Chronicles: An Autobiography by Stephen Fry

Top 5 TV Shows I Started Watching While In Country
-       The Hour
-       Luther
-       The Wire
-       Homeland
-       Downton Abbey

Top 5 Methods of Procrastination
-       Hoyle Puzzle and Board Games 2012 (Rummy Squares)
-       Going through numerous TV shows, episode by episode
-       Making stupid journal entries about Top 5 things
-       Cleaning my room (!)
-       Collaging

Top 5 Places in Kyrgyzstan
-       Talas (Laugh it up all you want, 19s, I love Talas!)
-       Lake Issyk-Kul
-       Tav’s village WAY down south in Naryn
-       Besh Tash Nat’l Park (or so I’ve heard)
-       Bishkek (for that little urban fix when you need it)

Top 5 Kyrgyz Foods
-       Oromo
-       Kartoskha Manti
-       Shasechka
-       Lagman
-       Kasha

Top 5 Games I Want To Play On My Fake-N64
-       Banjo Kazooie
-       Wave Racer
-       Super Mario Brothers
-       Banjo Tooie
-       Goldeneye (for the first time)

Top 5 Places I Most Want To Be Right Now
-       Jambiani, Zanzibar
-       Tutukaka, New Zealand
-       Chicago, Illinois
-       Rome, Italy
-       Edinburgh, Scotland

Top 5 Celebrity Crushes At The Moment
-       Zachary Levi
-       Idris Elba
-       Benedict Cumberbatch
-       Kit Harrington
-       Michael Fassbender

Top 5 Movies I’ve Watched In Country
-       Melancholia
-       Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (pt 2)
-       The Beginners
-       50/50
-       Robin and the 7 Hoods

Top 5 Things I Want In My Next Apartment
-       Badass kitchen
-       Giant fluffy bed
-       Windows; lots of ‘em
-       Storage space galore
-       Kitten/puppy

Top 5 Things I Always Have In My Purse/Possession
-       Water bottle
-       Sotka
-       Kindle
-       Blistex (Don’t worry, Mom, I’m not addicted yet… ;) )
-       Planner

Top 5 Foods I Cannot Wait To Eat Again In The States
-       Fettuccini Alfredo (and breadsticks) from OG
-       Strawberry and baby spinach salad with a Strawberry Vinaigrette Dressing
-       Gorp
-       Cheesy-ass slice of pepperoni pizza
-       Mom’s Chex Mix with a giant glass of Skim Milk

Top 5 Grad Schools Into Which I’m Looking
-       Columbia
-       NYU
-       Johns Hopkins
-       Edinburgh
-       St Andrews

Hope that was at least entertaining reading for a rainy day. Thinking about you all and wishing you the best of luck with everything – especially if you’re finishing up semesters, dissertations, years at uni, etc. God knows I’m not ready for that again. Haha. Let me know how you’re all doing. Miss you kids like crazy!

11 April 2012

*taps mic* Is this thing on?

It’s been a while, all you cats and kittens! Sorry for the massive delay, but things have finally started to pick up in the good ol’ Red Star. Firstly, spring has sprung and I seriously could NOT be happier. :) It’s amazing what a little fresh air and sunshine can do for a girl’s mood. Every once in a while I’ll even play ‘Taxi Driver’ in the abandoned cars outside our house with my host siblings and other neighborhood kids. As expected, everyone was right: I do speak more Kyrgyz with the little guys AND they’re a lot more forgiving when I make mistakes. Gotta make more of an effort to keep doing that, I guess. Always love being THAT guy – the one that hangs out with people 12-15 years younger than they are. *facepalm*

And since spring has arrived, that means my first year of teaching (!) is almost at a close. Crazy shit, man. I can’t believe that only a year ago I was freaking out about whether or not I’d be a good teacher (only sometimes) and if my students would like me (only when my counterpart isn’t there). Granted, I still think those things on a daily basis, it’s not as crippling of a feeling. There are definitely LOTS of things I would go back and do differently, if given the chance, and many things I will change for next year (big changes headed my way on that front, burusaa). Let’s hope it all works out. Otherwise the next 14 months are gonna be crazy as balls (not that they weren’t going to be anyway).

With the end of school approaching, that also means that summer is coming [Sorry, Starks, life in the K is a bit different than Winterfell!]! And boy, what a summer it’s shaping up to be. Helping organize two camps – both in Talas, working another one, teaching the newbs (aka the K20s) the ways of the force, Mom and Tif are going to attempt the trek through the mountains of Talas for a visit, and Jess is going to come and hang (but really to work an arts camp with me – you saint, you!). Complete antithesis from what I was(n’t) doing last year. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t completely terrified about all of the work that I’m going to have to do in the next 4 months, but I’m SO stoked to finally be DOING something.

The 20s coming hits me with absolute mixed feelings. On the one hand, I’m so ready for some fresh meat… I mean, new friends, but on the other, that means that some of my closest friends in country (18s) are getting the hell outta dodge and moving on to different and exciting things. I’ve got all my crossable limbs crossed in the hopes that the majority of the 20s will be awesome and just what we need in country – and ESPECIALLY out in my neck of the woods since I’ll be all alone. No pressure or anything, 20s. ;) And if any of you actually read this blog, INDULGE THE SHIT OUTTA ANY AND EVERYTHING YOU CAN WHILE YOU’RE IN PHILLY! Food, alcohol (responsibly, of course!), coffee, technology, friends, family, etc… You think I’m being over-dramatic, but just you wait, Henry Higgins. However, with that being said, everyone in country is pumped as balls to meet you guys and are ready for you to get here already! Hurry the hell up, 13 May!

And ‘cause there’s always a more ‘serious’ part of each blog, here we go. Grad schools. They’re driving me nuts already. I’m sure there are quite a few people back in the States that already want to slit my throat for going on and on and on and on about this and I’ve still got PLENTY of time to figure my shit out. Well, you all know how I am: I like to be semi-organized and have a plan. Haha. Right now, what I thinkin’ about doing is finding out when the hell the next round of the GREs is available in Kazakhstan (seriously, SOMEONE help a sister out and figure out where the hell I can LOOK for this info) and then apply to a few schools (both in the UK and in the States) for right outta PC. If I get in to any of those – they would probably be my ‘dream schools’ – then awesome, I’ll go. If I don’t, then I’ll probably end up taking a year off after I’m done with service and look for work/take classes/more thoroughly research schools. Anyone know of any jobs with non-profits or development work in Chicago, DC, or NYC that are hiring for year-long type stints? That would help keep me from feeling stagnant and bored (after two years in the K where everything I do means something) while figuring out grad school. It would also probably help as an interim period where I can readjust and figure out what the hell I actually want to do. We’ll see what happens. Like I said before, I’ve got time (14 months, but who’s counting) to figure stuff out. In the mean time, I have to relearn all of the math skills I’ve forgotten since high school and start prepping for the GREs. GOD, I hate standardized tests.

How are all you crazy kids doing? What’s the deal? Some of you are finishing up uni and grad schools, yeah? Good luck with theses and dissertations and practicums and whatever the hell else you guys are doing to keep yourselves occupied and intelligent. :) Some of you are looking for new places in new cities with new jobs. To you, I am sending the biggest of hugs and best of well wishes. Hope spring is treating you guys well. Miss you loads and wish that you could all see the gorgeousness of Talas in the spring/summer. I’ll try and start taking more pictures soon, I promise. Love you all. Let me know how you’re doing every once in a while.

PS – My Kindle has finally made its way back to me, so I’m the MOST open for new book recommendations. In fact, thanks to Diana and Chanelle, I’ve spent loads of MB rediscovering the addictiveness of GoodReads. Kill me now, I love it too much. Hit me up with some books. Read some good ones lately. Let’s talk about it!