SWSEEL has come and gone, and now I am at the airport awaiting my flight back to Philadelphia. In continuation of my relatively bad luck my flight has already been delayed 5 hours and could potentially be delayed longer.
I will spend the next two weeks at home and then it is off to Kazakhstan, finally! I did very well in my Kazakh language class and am really looking forward to trying out my skills overseas. I am also excited to go someplace new. I have loved every moment in Pittsburgh attending law school and feel so lucky to be a part of the Pitt Law community, however I have the travel bug and it is practically painful for me to be in the same place for too long. Furthermore, I see my trip to Kazakhstan as crucial preparation for my desired career – doing development and/or rule of law work in the South Caucasus or Central Asia. Right now, my linguistic skills and professional experience only extend throughout the South Caucasus and Turkey, but by spending a year in Kazakhstan I will acquire important linguistic and cultural skills that will enable me to work not only in Kazakhstan but hopefully many of the other Central Asian Republics – such as Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
The last few weeks of SWSEEL went relatively smooth. The main thing my class did was perform the skit Dastarkhan at the closing show (see original youtube video which our version was based on). I played the role of a sheep and did a fabulous job! Baaaaaaa. In class these last few weeks we reviewed a lot and finally learned weather terms and how to say we want something. I have to say that my language teacher Fatima was fabulous and I can only hope that my language teachers in Kazakhstan will be equally as good. Fatima is working on a Kazakh language textbook right now I can’t wait for it to be published. I have to say that a textbook was the main thing lacking this summer in my language learning experience. There is one Kazakh language textbook already in existence (link) which I had checked out from IUB’s library all summer, but I found it to be a bit dry. There is no cultural context, speaking exercises or listening tracks. Based on my experience with Fatima in the classroom this summer, I think her textbook will be much more accessible and practical.
The end of SWSEEL was somewhat hectic than I anticipated, but I learned a good Kazakh proverb I want to share with you:
Құтты қонақ келесе – If a lucky guests comes
Қой егіз табады – A sheep has twins
Құтсыз қонақ келесе – If a bad guest comes
Қойға қасқыр шабады – A wolf bites the sheep
…Lets hope for twins and not a wolf bite from this guest! 🙂
That’s all I have got for now.
(I wrote this while I was in the airport on Aug. 13, but couldn’t publish it until Aug. 14.)