Time is getting away from me! Tomorrow I have a final exam, which will mark the end of the first semester of my two-semester summer Kazakh course here at SWSEEL. That means four weeks of classes is done and I have four more to go. The classes here are honestly not as intensive as I expected but I am learning a lot- I realized this today when I gave a Powerpoint presentation in Kazakh about Turkish food. (Don’t worry Mom, I wanted to do Italian but another girl in the class had already claimed it.)
I am somewhat surprised at how dissimilar Kazakh is to the other Turkic languages I am familiar with (Azeri and Turkish). Turkic languages are agglutinative, and Kazakh, Azeri and Turkish have vowel harmony, however Kazakh also seems to have some sort of consonant harmony in connection with the suffixes which I haven’t quite nailed down. Linguist friends don’t jump down my throat for not explaining that quite right! 🙂 There also simply seems to be a slightly different cadence to language than what I am familiar with in Azeri and Turkish.
In other news, Bloomington is starting to grow on me… despite the oppressive heat. The other day when I logged on to weather.com, the temperature was 94, but reportedly felt like 113. For several days we did not have air conditioning in our classroom and
it was terrible. I was trying to take a test and I was sweating so much that the paper stuck to my hand. Alas, all of this has been resolved. I am running regularly and lifting two times a week at IU’s gym, which is very nice. I have not been running outdoors because of the heat and also because the sidewalks are uneven. I took a nice face plant a couple of weeks ago and skinned my knee. I wasn’t near the dorm so I had to run across Bloomington dripping blood. My friends and I have found a cool row of ethnic restaurants here and have also become masters of the bagged lunch and Easy Mac/instant meals so we are no longer eating out every day for every meal. This is definitely more economical and healthier.
I’ve been back to IU’s library a bunch of times and I love it. They have a great selection of DVDs – including foreign films, documentaries and the typical box office hits. I highly recommend Persepolis – a cartoon about a rebellious girl growing up during the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Also I have a couple of books checked out on humanitarian law. I am currently finishing up Michael Byers’ War Law and I am sorry to say I don’t recommend it. The book starts out great, but I feel later chapters are overshadowed by Byers’ very strong views about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Regardless of whether Byers is right or wrong, I find the manner in which the information is presented to be too politicized. Additionally, I think the material is presented such that a person with a limited knowledge base might not be able to distinguish the basic tenets of humanitarian law from Byer’s opinions. Also his view that there still is not strong support for R2P as customary international law is surprising, but perhaps merely due to the book’s age – it was published in 2005. Certainly debate about this rages on, but I don’t think the argument against its existence is nearly as persuasive as Byers’ indicates.
Alas, I think will stop here as life is still fairly banal. I am including a recent photo, as I now appear to have “four eyes” and less hair. My vision is actually still good, it just drives me nuts that my vision in my right eye is not the same as in my left eye. In six weeks I will be headed to Kazakhstan! Time flies!