Hello world!

15 09 2010

Unfortunately, for some reason I’m completely unable to access my blogspot blog from Kyrgyzstan.  And I’ve decided that, instead of trying to find a solution, it’d just be easier to start a new blog!  So here we are!

I’ve been in Bishkek for a week and a half now, and life is progressing well.  This month, I’m taking five hours of Russian classes, four days a week.  And it’s doing wonders already!  I’m still only able to communicate on a fairly basic level, but I’m building my vocabulary everyday and my teachers only have to repeat themselves once instead of the three or four times they’d have to repeat themselves last week.  Don’t get me wrong, Russian is a killer tough language, and my brain isn’t quite as absorbent as it once was, but I’m still really glad that I chose to take classes.

I’m currently living in a small room at the London School, where I’m studying Russian.

My room at the London School

I figured that it would make sense to get accommodation through the school for the first month to allow myself to adjust to life in Bishkek and to figure out how and where I would want to get my own place.  And that’s proven to be a great decision.  I’ve met several other students and teachers, and four of us have decided to get an apartment together starting at the beginning of October.  We’re all dead set on improving our Russian, so we’re planning on setting up an “English-pot” where we have to pay a penalty every time we speak English in the apartment.  And all three of them speak much better Russian than I currently do, so it should help keep me on my toes.

I haven’t yet delved into the research aspect of my Fulbright yet, but that was definitely part of the plan all along.  I’m researching NGOs that deal with education and multilingualism, and I plan to start making contacts in the next couple of weeks.  I should also have a meeting at the American embassy some time in the next week or two to meet the cultural affairs officer and the Fulbright representative and to get a security briefing.

So, yeah, that’s about it for now.  I just wanted to let y’all know that my silence on the blog front had nothing to do with my not wanting to post, but rather with an inability to do so.  But now that’s fixed!  I’m planning on posting roughly twice a week, so there will be myriad opportunities for me to talk about food, daily life, security and the like.  See you then!

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11 responses

15 09 2010
RSH

Kurt, you are amazing! Congrats on the Fulbright and on such an amazing adventure 🙂

21 09 2010
kurtinkstan

Thanks so much!

15 09 2010
Casey

Wow, you’ve made such a quick start of things! The all Russian-speaking household will definitely push your language acquisition. What’s the balance between Russian and Kyrgyz spoken there like? Is Russian just the official bureaucratic language or is it used pretty commonly?

21 09 2010
kurtinkstan

It varies depending on which part of the country you’re in. Bishkek, where I am, is primarily Russian-speaking, whether you’re of Russian or Kyrgyz ethnicity. In the more rural parts of the northern part of the country, Russian becomes rarer. And then there’s the south, where there’s a significant Uzbek population. So, there’s quite the variety.

15 09 2010
Winter

Played Scrabble in Russian yet?

21 09 2010
kurtinkstan

Not yet…I’ve tried to explain the game to people, and I know a Russian version exists, but it must not have made its way to Kyrgyzstan, because no one seems to have heard of it.

15 09 2010
JJ

What an adventure!

16 09 2010
Ember

How (Kak, I think) exciting! Totally AWESOME on your Fulbright and your fantastic adventure! You never cease to amaze me! I truely wish I could be there with you. Thanks for the blog, this is very cool and loads of fun just reading about what you are up to. (+_+) Have a great time and work/study hard. If you study half as hard as you play you will be speaking like a native within six months. What does NGO stand for, exactly? I am also multilingual, so I was just wondering. But Russian is almost as hard as Japanese. You really have your work cut out for you! Great job! You never disappoint!

21 09 2010
kurtinkstan

NGO stands for non-governmental organization. Basically they can be groups lobbying for social reform or economic development or human rights or any myriad things.

20 09 2010
KJ

Do you have to pay a penalty for blogging/Facebooking in English too? 🙂 Maybe we all could learn Russian along with ya.

21 09 2010
kurtinkstan

Fortunately, all Internet activities can remain in English. I think if that were not the case, my head would explode. 😉

But I am thinking about doing some basic Russian lessons on here when I start running out of things to talk about.

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