January 30, 12:00am
I have so much to say and I don’t know if I can stay up to tell you all I want to tell. I will try.
Yesterday our host families came to pick us up and bring us back to their homes to live with them for the next 10 weeks while we are in pc training. This is how it went down. We gathered in groups by what towns we were going to, which was determined by what language we were learning (a few are learning Russian, mainly though, we are learning Uzbek) and what our extension is, what our technical training will be in. Im teaching primary english (I will get into the uzbek school structure later, its fascinating how it works /doesn’t work) and learning Uzbek and I have 3 other volunteers in my town. Each friday we will, all 65 of us, meet for general sessions at the hub site, a town 20-30minutes from me. And the other primary group in a few towns over will meet with my group Tuesdays and Thursdays for technical sessions, and then I will have a partner for the praticums I will have twice a week in the local school my town. The rest of the time the four of us in my town will meet with our LCF (language and cross culture facilitator who is staying with a host family in this town too) for language class. My LCF’s name is Gillaim. She is very nice, don’t know her that well yet but am sure to soon. Anyways, back to the fun part…our group met in the lobby, and once our host families were gathered in the ‘clubhouse’ we went as a group, with our families name on a sheet of paper, folded in half so as we walked in, they couldn’t see “who they got.” We stood in front of them in a line and then “bir, ikki, och..” open our airport limo name signs and “AH!,” find your match! Well let me say, that was the beginning of the best time I have had yet. My host father was there to meet me. He had a big, shy smile on his face. I melted. He looked very nice, I was relieved. We “talked’ for a minute, with a translator to help us. His name is Toher, (by the way, dada=father, but he is only 36, so he wanted me to call him Toher Aka, Aka=older brother) and he said said I am now part of his family and that he is so happy to have me in his home. So then he had a car, a taxi, waiting. This is a big deal for Uzbeks from a small town, everything is about appearances. Not in a nasty, vulgar way, its just part of the culture. About half of the families had their own cars or taxis and the others had a PC van take them home. So we got into the car, with 4 people helping me with all my three bags. And we not so consciously enter traffic, honking at the other host families packing into cars, taxis and the van to say sorta, it seemed “hey, aren’t we all really special for having these American teachers stay with us! Great day! And I have my own car too.!) So the driver, I think a friend of Toher;s, says “what is your name?” in English. I answer and say a few other random things than to realize all he knows is “what is your name?” and “my name is.” He must of practiced because he was really proud of himself. They put on American music and we were home in 15 minutes. I was greeted by a few neighbors out side, standing off to the side, just wanting to see who I was and the rest of my host family all at the front door. They are soooo cute. The mother (o-ya), Hosnorah, the eldest daughter (opah) Ahzeezah, the son (oui-ka) Akk-zam, and the youngest twin girls (little sister-singil) Fateama and Zoo-hara. The twins names are very common names for girl twins. All spelled phonically for you to pronounce. (oh, ages are 35, 35, 15, 12, and 9, 9)Anyways, we take our shoes off, they whisk me into the house, put my things in my room that they are so excited to show me and I can not tell you how excited I was to see such a nice room! Its big with plenty of room for my stuff, a desk. Two outlets, a heater (probably their only one but the rest of the house is fairly warm so Ill take it!) and it is sooo colorful! I love it. Check out the pics. Then they show me the rest of the house. Everything is soooo neat. And not just neat but very bare. In the Muslim religion you are not able to have depictions of the living, paintings or photos, hanging in the house or rather, on display, maybe that is some of why. I don’t know but its more than that. There are a few fake flower arrangements around and really nice carpets and the walls are painted with great detail, looks like wallpaper but its not, its painted. (especially in my room!). There is a living room, a big kitchen (where most of the time is spent), and then there is two other rooms, where the rest of the family sleeps. I’ve heard about this, the family sleeping in rooms together and us getting a big room all to ourselves. It make you feel kinda bad but that is the kind of hospitality you get here in Uzbekistan. Oh, and then, most importantly (not really of corse but hey…) the bathroom! It has a shower with a hot water tank right next to it! It has a flushing toilet! Same t.p. deal as in the sanatorium but I can not tell you how excited I was. “Zor! Zor!” was all I could say. Anyways, so then the kids are following me around so excited to have a big sister! And Ahzeezah speaks some English and was a great help with communicating with her parents. And come to find out, they all actually are going to be so helpful with my Uzbek studies. We go back and forth, english-cha? (in english?), uzbek-cha? (in Uzbek?). So anyways it was a whirlwind of excitement, dinner was great, boiled dumplings WITH meet in them, and I liked it, tons of food and just what they had prepared us for, “Oyling, Oyling!” Eat, Eat!” and I had to just nod and say “Rakmat!” (thank-you!). Again, all about appearances, they want me to tell everyone that they are great hosts. LOTS of tea, which I didn’t mind. And I had my language book, notebook out the whole time. At first it was hard to get anything across, and there still is alot of confusion. I sit there laughing sometimes because I have no idea what they are saying to me, they laugh too but are so good at helping me learn. Im soooo excited! This home-stay thing is turning out to be such a rad experience. Absolutely a once in a lifetime thing. Indescribable, hope Im getting some of it across! We looked at allllll my photos, and the map, where I come from. And then I went to my room after watching one of the spanish soap operas that they watch at night, dubbed in Uzbek, with Ahzeezah in toe, so sweet, as my “assistant” she said. I let he helped me unpack a bit, careful what I let her see (Im lucky that my family is a definite middle, upper class, by their standards and they respect my privacy and all but still) and then I went to bed, after taking the pictures! Today was even more eventful but Im tired again so Ill get to that later. But here are just a few funny little things, and just so you all know, my long strange trip is definitely panning out to be strange but Im enjoying it so much! Im doing great. Love you all!
Clothes, everyone wheres clothes over and over again. takes them off when they get home so they can wear them tomorrow.
The eldest daughter plays the role of mothers helper in a seriously traditional way, even in a modern house such as mine. Ahzeezah helps with the kitchen, checks on me, waits on her father. All very loving, her and her parents, again, just the way it is.
I just woke up and had breakfast, meat, bread, eggs CHOY and found out that the piece of meat that I ate yesterday morning that was next to the kelbasa I liked was horse. I ATE HORSE. Must say, didn’t like the taste. Don’t think Ill do that again. My eyes must have been bugging out of my face. I tried to recover. I think I did ok. Its Sunday and Im about to go to the internet cafe with Toeher and Ahzeezah and then to the bazar where Toeher has a business. Not sure what that means. Well see. Its snowing. Again. Oh, and I found out that Hosnorah is a doctor. A midwife. Doctors are paid just as bad as teachers in this country. Sad but true.
Ok, more later, peace-love!