Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Getting the Windows Fixed and Sharing the Internet - Thursday, 5 November 2009

I had tentatively thought about coming into school on Thursday, to get some work done, but all thoughts of that were put to rest by the landlady and Nikita (first real name--besides Sophia's--in this story!). Nikita would come on Thursday to fix the windows. The landlady's daughter would call me at 10 am to let me know when Nikita said he would come. Although I knew full well that he wouldn't be on time.

So I informed Erica and Lynn, two Filipino teachers who had wanted to use my Internet, that I would be home all day on Thursday, and they could come by whenever they wanted. They were delighted. The Philippines' time is 2 hours ahead of Astana's.

Thursday morning Erica came first, and she was delighted to learn that I have wireless--her computer is wireless-enabled. Her husband and kids weren't yet at the Internet cafe, so she went upstairs to get her computer and wait until they called to say they were ready.

A little after noon Erica and Lynn arrived. I had turned my bed back into a couch so they could use my room and have a little privacy (Sophia was watching a movie on her computer in her room). Lynn used my computer and called her family--her parents, sister, sister's 3 kids and her brother's kid--while I helped Erica download Skype on her computer.

Lynn is very close to her young nieces and nephews and she teared up when she saw them for the first time in a month. They were very adorable and very excited to see their auntie again.

Amazingly, her connection was fine even while Erica downloaded Skype. Finally, Skype was downloaded and she set up an account for herself and one for her husband. Then he and her two young children arrived at an Internet cafe in the Philippines, and she was able to call him. I gave headphones to Lynn, because it was getting a little loud in the room with so many conversations going on!

Nikita came about an hour after he was supposed to show up. He came with a boy/young man, and as they didn't speak any English, they set about to working. They first worked in the kitchen. I called the landlady's daughter, who had asked to be informed when Nikita showed up.

When Nikita and the boy moved into my room to do the windows, we all moved into Sophia's room. Lynn and Erica were very happy to show Sophia to their families, and Sophia showed off her hamster to the children in the Philippines.

The landlady arrived with the daughter who speaks English poorly, but it wasn't as awkward, due to all the noise (fixing doors with power tools, on Skype with families...) I told the landlady who the two women were and she commented that they looked Asian, like her. She seemed a bit pleased... Maybe she doesn't like me because I look Russian and speak a little Russian, no Kazakh.

Several hours later, the women were still chatting with their families, and Nikita was finished. He would come back next week, probably Friday, to fix a cracked window on the kitchen patio and the wardrobe doors. He, the boy, the landlady and her daughter all left.

Finally, it was time to say good-bye to their families. Lynn and Erica were so happy to have been able to talk to them, and I was very happy to be able to help. When you're in a foreign country, you need a lot of help, and so it is nice when you finally can help someone else.

Erica said that Eric was able to get on the Internet from their apartment. Hey, if my wireless reaches to the 12th floor, then they're more than welcome to use it! I gave her my password.

It was a good day--not boring, as non-school days can get around here.

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