Thoughts about every day stuff

Just my flow of thoughts

A new job, or life is full of adventures

So, in the beginning of this month I left my job; the story is long and quite unpleasant, so let’s not slow down here. What matters more is that I got another one the day before my last working day.
I’m an English teacher in a language center now. There are 2 offices; I teach the language to a bunch of people in one, and I am the native speaker who teaches the speaking club in another. The office where I’m just a teacher is in the same building where I live, so it’s pretty cool to be able to go home for a nap when I have a 1 hour gap between classes.  I am the nice and fun teacher who can and will f**k students up if they don’t do their homeworks and try relying on me being nice. I’m like prof. Cohen (AUBG students would understand) of the iLike center: I’m fun, I tell jokes,  I look like I understand the students and the stuff they tell me, but I’m ruthless I  terms of grading; students should learn, and being friendly and nice doesnt’t mean that they can use it.
Besides the groups at the center I give corporate individual classes for the CEO of Samruk Kazyna Invest (and feeling rly smug about it). He’s my favorite student; I wish all students could be as polite and considerate.
Aaaaand, the most interesting thing: the speaking club. Students at the other office have no idea that I know Russian: for all attendees I’m a native speaker teacher. And I pulled it off! It was really funny to watch and hear them talking to each other about me and thinking I didn’t understand. I found that extremely amusing and want to do it again next week.
Life brings us surprises when we forget that things like that exist. We just need to remember that not only bad things happen in this world.
Stay happy. Stay tuned.

A workshop in Petropavlovsk, or glad to be alive

In the middle of November I had a 4-day business trip to Petropavlovsk. Those 4 days have left a huge impact on both my brain and heart, and guess why?

It all started with a nasty traffic jam to the place where I needed to pck up our consultant (instructor for the workshop), but that wasn’t even slightly bothering me compared to my thoughts about the plane we were supposed to fly with. Antonov-24, or AN24, or a cropduster (that’s how my fellow translator and I call it) was the plane that we needed to take both to and from Petropavlovsk. At the beginning I was trying to be hopeful, and didn’t get too stressed over the flight itself. The moment I saw the plane had stayed in my head forever; all of a sudden I realized that my life had been not so bad and I wouldn’t want it to end that way. The flight was survived; after we landed I made a firm decision to write my last will before the return flight in case the cropduster falls apart. 

Petropavlovsk airport was a small scary place with buckets all around inside to prevent the floor from getting wet because the roof was leaking like crazy. But that wasn’t much of our concern because we needed to get a cab and there seemed to be no people willing to take us to the hotel. It turned out to be very windy and we had to freeze for another 10 minutes outside before we found a taxi. I thought that everything would settle after we got to the hotel, but I was mistaken. The receptionist wasn’t there when we arrived. After waiting for 15-20 minutes we decided to call the hotel restaurant to ask where we could find the receptionist. After 10 more minutes she appeared; the girl didn’t even feel slightly guilty for letting the customers wait for so long (our company books rooms in that hotel every time we come to Petropavlovsk, everyone knows us there already). I was glad that I didn’t have to carry my 28.7 kg suitcase up the stairs myself; they got a waiter to do that for me. The room was fine, almost the same as on the website pictures. 

The first day of the workshop didn’t start as great as we thought it would, but overall it was good. The first day of the workshop I had to drink loads of water and tea because my throat was slowly giving up. People didn’t stop talking and asking questions, which was great for the workshop itself, but not for my meals because I hardly had time to eat anything. But again, that’s my job and it was fine. The audience wanted to shorten the breaks and finish the sessions earlier; we didn’t mind that and managed to get done by 4 pm. At the end of the day my throat was done. We walked in a shopping center a little; I got a haircut and the consultant looked for shoes. The evenng wasn’t too exciting; after the shopping center we went to our rooms and didn’t leave them until the morning. I had my dose of hockey and fell asleep, hoping that I’d have my voice by the next day. And I did, just not too much of it. 

The second (the last) day of the workshop went great, I ended up enjoying it myself. I’d lost my voice though and had to do the emergency recsue operation by pumping myself with a medicinal spray. My throat got numb and it allowed me to finish the workshop without any further issues. After we finished our last exercises and participants gave us the  evaluation everyone suddenly decided to take a picture of us. It felt a little weird having 4 or 5 people standing in front of us and clicking the buttons on their phones; we didn’t even know which phone to look at; it was pretty noisy. Afterwards, the administration people made everyone shut up and went to take a picture with us as well. I’d never seen such grateful faces among the workshop participants; it felt like what we did there mattered and left an impact on their knowledge. After feeling like a superstar for about half an hour, we went to the hotel. It was finally over and I could finally have some rest. I spent my evening watching hockey amd MMA fights; it was pretty cool. I hadn’t watched so much tv for a while, and I think that portion of tv was enough for several following months. 

Next day we had to leave for Astana again. Everything went smoothly until we got to the so-called ‘airport’. There was almost no one, the bathroom was closed, and it was cold. After asking the people who’re supposed to be guards (they reaked of alcohol) where the bathroom is, they told us that there is actually no bathroom and the sign that says ‘bathroom’ is just there for nothing. The plane was almost an hour late and the most exciting thing that we’d seen over the waiting time was a cute dog outside of the airport building. And yeah, I spend some time writing my last will which was witnessed and signed by the consultant.

Our way back was much colder, but I’d slept through almost all the flight. Gladly, we didn’t smell any cigarettes (my fellow translator told me earlier that when she’d taken the plane earlier, the pilot smoked buring the flight) and the bathroom on the plane was functional (looked fukken scary though).

To my luck, I didn’t have to show up at the office that day and I had a proper rest after the flight. 

Honestly, that was the most exciting business trip I’d had so far. I just hope that I won’t EVER have to fly on a cropduster like AN24. 

Stay safe,

Stay tuned.


Welcome to Silent Hill

Fascination is what I felt after looking in the window after getting up today: all city is covered with fog and it looks freaking magical.

Cabs stuck in traffic jams, people taking a leap of faith when running across the road having green light in front of them, cab company operators hating their job beause of rising amounts of dissatisfied clients (I was one of them this time) – these are some of the most memorable moments of today’s morning.

The temperature isn’t too low, I almost dropped my redbull because of the freezing hand only once, and it’s a good sign 🙂

Having the office on the 17th floor, we’re sitting here like it’s Silent Hill; all foggy and weird people hanging around. The look from the window is great: you can’t see almost anything. Baiterek is approximately 200-300 meters away from us and we can’t see it from here. The only images visible at the moment are feeble silhouettes of colorful buildings which now look as grey as everything else. All that gives a feeling of peace. The fog is so dense that I feel like I can touch it if I get my hand outside.

The time flies by. Only one week left of October, which means that soon it’ll be 2 months since I started working at ‘company_name’. And yeah, my birthday is only 2 weeks away. In 2 weeks I can bake myself a nice chocolate cake, get a bottle of wine, buy an aroma candle, light it up, and sing myself a ‘Happy birthday’ song. I don’t know if it’s so bad, but now that I think about this way of ‘celebrating’ my birthday, it doesn’t look too bad. Am I THAT antisocial? I gotta admit, chocolate, wine and an aroma candle can be great companions sometimes. Let’s see if I’ll be spending that day with them or find something more socially acceptable to do. The time will show.

Now I just need to make sure I stay alive and don’t get slaughtered in this all-absorbing silent hill atmosphere…

Snow bots and feeling homeless

Today is fukken freezing! Nanobots of snow are flying around and planting themselves on everything they can get, leaving ice on surfaces and eating up to the bones.  I almost got my hands fallen off when I was switching the songs on the phone. Time to get some proper gloves…

And now, more excitement about the upcoming long weekend! Except for the fact that I don’t have any because apparently (thanks to my landlady) I don’t have a place to stay during these 3 days. Yaay. Now I’m desperately looking through my contacts list to find someone kind enough to help me out. I think, I’ll end up going to couchsurfing and just randomly clicking on people who can host 😀 That’s gonna be an exciting process.

Apart from the evil-plotting snow bots and the chance of me sleeping outside everything’s been going alright. I’m getting ready for a business trip to Karaganda next week and am kind of nervous about it because this is going to be my first business trip and I have to be awesome. 2 days of stress in our local inpatient facility and I’ll be done with it 🙂 Only 2 days, so that makes it not so bad.

Yesterday I counted the number of poems that I have collecterd since the first book got published. 41 poem! And 38 of them are going to get published as soon as I figure out what I want on the cover and find a person who can help me with it (the artist who was going to help is waay to busy with his full-time job and I can’t ask him to stress about my tiny book). I’m thinking of a cover that doesn’t have too much on it, but somehow depicts  the stuff written on the inside. My brain is empty and I feel soooo not artsy-fartsy because I can’t even think of anything right now. But I’m sure I’ll get there.

Moving forward. Trying not to freeze. Making myself stay positive.

Rainy view from the 17th floor

Grey morning…

It was raining so hard I could feel the raindrops hitting my hiking sneakers. Messy hair, a hood to protect the headphones and music to make the walk to work better than it is – typical morning for me.

It’s going to snow soon, I think. I can’t wait for it, and at the same time I don’t want winter to start because I’m not used to the hardcore freezer temperatures. I’m not ready for -30 C after mild winters in Europe :((((

This week we have 6 days to work instead of 5, and then 3 days off in a row because of the big muslim holiday. Honestly, I have no idea what I’ll be doing during these 3 days. Boredom is just going to eat me and I’ll happily (well, relatively happily) drag myself to work on wednesday.

The general plan is to sleep as much as I freaking can and do my best not to strangle the little drama queen that I share the room with, because if I do, I’ll have to kill her mom too and disappear from the country.

Yeah, not the best thoughts in th first half of the working day.

Group translations, foggy view from the window, and heater working on full power in the office – and first half of the working day is almost over. More brain consuming stuff to come. More excitement about the upcoming 3-day weekend. More hours of life lived.

Stay tuned. Peace.

Little things

Sometimes you look outside the window and see it.

Everything around is as ugly as it can ever get: that mixture of construction sites and shiny polished ‘wannabe skysrapers’. All of that makes me want to turn my guts inside out; and yet there’s something about it. Something fascinating, something that makes me like looking at city lights at night from the window.

Sometimes I find it interesting to watch the fight of ash dark thunder sky and mottled building roofs; fierce clouds  act like they want to devour rooftops, rain drains from them like saliva of a hungry animal, and the mighty roar echoes in the most remote corners of this overfilled land.

My brain is constantly struggling between sending everything to hell and falling down from the 14th floor facing the roadway, and peacefully contemplating the flickering lights of Baiterek. What’s making the struggle keep on? Why haven’t I already made a choice in favor of the roadway? Who the ff*** knows.

Those little things… the little things that make me want to forget that I hate it all; ones that make me want to forget about the self-destruct process that was initialized long ago, and even if I still remember about it, they make me want to push the ‘pause’ button.

I’ve started noticing small details that enchant me; they give me thoughts that I later turn into poems, or that make me frozen for half of the day. They leave a strange aftertaste, and I still can’t understand what it is. Something elusive, something addictive, something that keeps me puzzled. Hell, I’m always puzzled. Always.

The city of empty costumes, or stuff that makes me wanna translate till I drop

Interesting things are happening around me. I’m extremely lucky to find racist people, weird landlords, and taxi drivers with a good sense of humor 🙂

First, when I started looking for a new place to stay, I got hundreds of phone numbers to call. 6 out of 10 dropped the call as soon as they found out that I wasn’t Kazakh. The rest told me that they need someone urgently (and I couldn’t more in right away due to financial issues and needed to wait until the begining of August), and couldn’t wait. Awesome.

Over the past 2 weeks I had to go to the right bank a lot (last week – workhop) and I ended up coming back late, so I took a cab on my way back almost every time that happened. Almost all the drivers were fun people who started either talking about Astana, or just making witty remarks on everyday mundane life. The jokes were old, but somehow it felt good hearing them, for a moment there they made me feel like I didn’t live in such a rotten place.

And yeah, I finally got my working contract with out project director’s signature on it. I was actually surprised to see a year-long contract, because the administration told me they’d hire me for 3 test months and we’d have only a 3-month long contract first. And there I sat and read that the contract expiration date is in a year; and it made me feel like I can translate 24/7, 365 days a week. Good way of motivating your worker to work till late; good job, ‘company_name’, good job.

About the right bank… Last night I went to visit a friend of mine because she felt lonely in the big apartment where she temporarily lived. The apartment was kind of cozy, with a small kitchen and a ‘good old Soviet view from the window’. Haven’t had a nice girly talk in a homely atmosphere for a long time.

The most interesting part was getting to work next morning. Catching a taxi was one thing; the traffic jams were something that I will never forget, because that’s when I realized that I won’t ever look for a place to live on the right bank. Well, as I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m lucky to meet fun taxi drivers, sdo the one from today morning wasn’t an exception. 2 girls discussing cars and automobile taxes in Kazakhstan with a middle-aged man, who complained about his wife’s shopping addiction in breaks between the traffic lights 😀

As I look at all that it makes me wonder why the ff*** I’m doing in this city, because I could have had a much calmer life back home. But then, I get to work, and I stop thinking about it because this work takes almost all of my freaking time!!!

Hah, well, let the Gods bless my job and my survival in the city or empty costumes; everything else I can do on my own.