Almaty International Airport

In honor of my first-born’s upcoming celebratory day, I post this short deleted scene, nine years later: A little context is in order: I’ve gone to Almaty  on the train with Gulzhahan to attend an annual convention of local teachers. … Read More

School Part 5 Remembering Names

This completes my run of Deleted Scenes from my early days and weeks at school.       My second classroom challenge was more idiosyncratic than cultural. I had a terribly hard time with their names, both remembering them and … Read More

School, Part 4

  We got our official schedules sixteen days after the start of school. I had classes four days each week, rather than the six that most teachers had.   On Mondays, I had a class during first and third periods. … Read More

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

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