Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What will you be doing this summer?

It feels almost like summer already down here in central Florida, which makes it hard for me to grasp the fact that it is, in reality, several months away. I am very ready for summer to get here. Not - like much of the rest of the world - because I'm looking forward to warmer temperatures, but because I will be going back to Kyrgyzstan.

As many of you know, I spent most of 2008 in Kyrgyzstan, and it was a wonderful, life-changing experience. I often wonder why I left, especially considering the shit-spiral my life fell into upon returning to the US.

(While my old blog, where I faithfully posted about my life in Kyrgyzstan back in the day is no longer online, I am working on pulling out the Kyrgyzstan posts, editing them for anonymity, and uploading them to Cat Lady in Kyrgyzstan. So far I've only uploaded posts covering January through mid-April 2008; I'm incredibly busy this semester, so I'm not sure when I'll get the rest of the posts online, but I'll do my best.) Feel free to watch this rather absurd video I compiled to get an idea of what my life in Kyrgyzstan was like:

The last time I was in Kyrgyzstan, I worked as an EFL teacher at The London School in Bishkek. (If you look closely at their website, you can see a lovely picture of me, wearing leopard print pajamas and stuffing my face.) This trip will be a little different.

The first part of my trip, several of us from Desolation Travel are meeting up for a two week jaunt around the country. We plan to start from Bishkek (the capital) and make our way through the nature reserve at Sary Chelek, the nuclear waste dumps at Mailuu-suu, the walnut forests of Arslanbob, the southern 'capital' of Osh, the town of Kazarman (about which we know essentially nothing), the lake Song Kol (if we have time), the wonderful village of Kochkor (one of my favorite places), and the fabulously desolate fishing village of Balykchy. After our two week whirlwind tour around the country, my travel companions will return home, and I will get to work.

I'll be spending June and July volunteering (arranged through The London School) in two different villages, where I will be teaching English. One of these villages will be Kultor (which is too small to rate a link on wikipedia), located about an hour's drive south of Lake Issyk Kul (the big lake you can see on every map of Kyrgyzstan). I'm not sure yet which village the second one will be. I am incredibly excited!

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For those of you who don't know where Kyrgyzstan is located.

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Our destination goals

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Google Earth's view of Kultor.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Have you taught English in Asia? I need your help!

As you know, I have taught English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in Asia - both in East Asia (South Korea) and in Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan). Some of my grad school classmates and I are working on a project that we hope to present later this year at a TESOL conference. The focus is on native and non-native English speaking teachers of EFL.... and we need your help!

If you are now (or have been) a teacher of EFL in Asia (and are either a native or non-native English speaker) please CLICK HERE and take this survey. Also, no worries - it's completely confidential. (Sometimes it takes a little longer than normal for the survey to load, so please be patient.) When you are finished, I'd love it if you'd share this survey with your EFL teaching colleagues, both native and non-native speakers.

If you'd like to know the final results of our survey, please leave a comment either here on the blog (or in the optional comments section of the survey) with your email address.

Thank you for your help!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My Feet Hurt

This happens every time I return to the classroom after an extensive absence. There’s something about standing in front of a class for four straight hours that just makes your feet ache. This is nothing like the way my feet hurt when I returned (full-time) back in 2010, but still!

I am teaching part time at a private language school for foreigners who want to come to the US and for recent immigrants who don’t speak English or who want to improve their English skills. Right now I’m subbing for a teacher who’s out of the country for a few weeks, and working four hours a day. Once she comes back, I’ll be taking over a different class and only teaching an hour and a half a day.

In addition to this new job, I’m taking four classes this semester (compared to last semester when I took three classes), and I still have my graduate assistantship. I have to admit that I am a little worried that I might have bitten off a little more than I can chew!

But for now, I’m sitting on the couch with my feet propped up.

Friday, January 4, 2013

A dreary sort of day

I am back in Orlando, ready to get the new semester started... although that doesn't kick off for a few more days. Ideally I'd be enjoying my few days in limbo before the work kicks back in, but as it's unpleasantly dreary outside, I've done little more than get dressed and work on some of my computer-related projects. (I hate to complain too much about the weather, as it got up to 66F today, which is not cold at all - but with the omnipresent clouds and the continual drizzle, it just isn't the sort of day for doing things that involve leaving your house unless you absolutely have to do so.)

I posted two stories written by my friend BS (and it never fails to amuse me that his initials are BS) to the Desolation Travel website:

I added a new video to The Inhumane Society - although if you haven't been keeping up with the posts over there, you might want to read the first one hundred pages in one stretch... which can be done by clicking here.

And lastly, here's a video I shot before leaving Georgia of the current state of my mom's 1906 Bungalow. Enjoy!

I'm not sure how much time I'll have for blogging this coming semester. Last semester I had my grading assistantship and three graduate level classes... this semester I'm taking four classes, plus my graduate assistantship, plus a part time teaching gig that will be anywhere from one and a half to four and a half hours a day (not including prep time). I'm not sure when I'll have time to sleep, much less blog, but I'll keep you posted when I can!