School Part 3

  I’m continuing with the deleted scenes of my first few weeks as an English teacher at Zhezkazgan Humanitarian College, a pedagogical college preparing future primary school teachers to teach English. ***   The college administration didn’t like team teaching. They … Read More

School Part 2

Here’s the continuation of last week’s Deleted Scene: School, Part I.  I’ve “creatively” titled this one School Part 2.  [I know.  It’s been a busy few weeks here.  I’ll try to get my creative juices flowing before it’s time for … Read More

School, Part I

  This is a story of my college, Zhezkazgan Humanitarian College, where I worked for two years, teaching English to future English teachers. I joined an English department of sixteen other English teachers and spent most of my time there, … Read More


  Togzhan was the only woman I’d meet in Zhezkazgan whose refrigerator stood in the kitchen. I took that as a sign of prosperity. Usually refrigerators were in the living room. When Woody and I moved into our own apartment, … Read More


  Kazakhs pride themselves on their well-deserved reputation for hospitality.   Our first invitation came from Woody’s director, Zamzagul: a Sunday afternoon gathering at a colleague’s dacha.   Dacha is a Russian word and a Russian tradition. Akin to a … Read More

The Application Process, Part III: At the Sanitorium

    Some thirty Kazakhstanis and four Americans were in charge of our training in a village near Almaty, home of Kazakhstan’s international airport. But first, we had to get there.   The Peace Corps brought us to Washington DC … Read More

The Application Process Part II

  We knew we’d be able to come home whenever we wanted, theoretically. The Peace Corps does not want volunteers who don’t want to be there. It’s not the army, after all.   In practical terms, though, it would be … Read More

The Application Process, Part I

    “Flexibility, patience, and a sense of humor characterize the successful Peace Corps volunteer,” or PCV, as the recruiter actually said, using the acronym that would soon became part of our everyday vocabulary. He may have been referring to … Read More

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