Location: Uralsk, Kazakhstan

My address! Rachael Schmidt 106 Dimitrieva St. P.O Box 56 Uralsk 417 000 Kazakhstan

Thursday, October 21, 2004

The building where I teach Posted by Hello

Orthodox church in Ecik, Kazakhstan. A view from my classroom. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

I'm not in Kansas anymore! Posted by Hello

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Got Kleenex??

First, I must start with a confession. Yesterday I told some people that winter has struck Uralsk, minus the snow. That was one huge lie! Yes!! We have snow! In fact, I was lucky enough to see my first Siberian blizzard, while, of course, sipping my Kazakhstani beer. That’s when I had to ask myself, “I signed up for this?!?!” Uhhggg! Anyway, it’s 5 below out there. And it’s only October!!! No more complaints about my room being 85 degrees!
The winter of course increases a certain Kazakh tradition; spitting. Why in the world would anyone use a tissue when the street, sidewalk, hallway, bus can serve the same purpose? In fact, if you were to blow your nose in public people would stare at you with utter and complete (as opposed to incomplete) disgust.Yeah, placing your snot in a Kleenex is disgusting. But blowing your nose onto the sidewalk and then to wipe the remains off the side of your face and to then wipe your hand on your pants is perfectly and logically encouraged. Anything else would be uncivilized. Kleenex? Leave those repulsive things at home!
Some interesting tidbits: there have now been terrorist threats in Almaty to Americans and I’m being kept under surveillance by the KGB. How’s that for interesting?! Yup, just another day in Kazakhstan. The word is that they even have access to my emails. So,if that’s the case and this very email is being read by KGB eyes, I would like to take this opportunity to say, Hi Guys!! Cold enough for ya!?
Classes seem to be going better. Or, I’m just becoming numb to it all. I teach 7 classes of home reading to third year students at the West Kazakhstan University. I cannot believe the difference from one student to the next and from one class to the next.One extreme to the other. But, all it takes is those 2 or 3 students that make it all worth it. I hope someday I can find a way to thank them. Till then, I’ll just try and teach them English. Not that I can speak the bloody language.
I had a million things I wanted to tell you, and of course I can’t bloody remember any of ‘em. Must be the cold. I guess just a lucky break for you.
Till next time, take extra good care of yourselves and remember that someone in Kazakhstan is thinking of you and misses you terribly!!!

Much, much love, Rachael