I haven't written for a while - things have been kind of nuts recently. I've had language class every day, as well as practicum teaching in the mornings. It involved somehow a lot of walking around Koktube 2 and a lot of chai.
This last class of students was at a Kazakh school in Ecik, and some students were quite good at English. They were 10th graders. Not too much was really killingly funny (in my 7th grade class, there was a discussion about whether a banana was slower than a kangaroo), but their graduation was, as usual, remarkable. We gathered all the 10th graders in one room, and started telling a bit about ourselves and Peace Corps. Then, just as we were about to hand them their certificates, the English teacher from the school told us they had some things prepared. Three separate students gave speeches (they all called us "interesting," the English adjective of choice in KZ). The three of us were expected to give speeches in return. We did, then the students sang three songs. One boy got up and did two solos - Billy Boy and Clementine.
The low point was us trying to read names in Cyrillic script. The Kazakh alphabet has 40 letters (one of which is "bl" - a vowel, and three of which are forms of "y," two vowel y's and one consonant y), which we can all read just fine in print. However, the script is not, to my eyes, at all like the print. There are 4 letters that look like "M" to me - the m, the t, the zh, and sometimes the sh. This means that guessing might not help. And the handwriting on the certificates was perfectly awful. I practiced reading them during "Billy Boy" so as to not slaughter the names, but I ended up just reading first names.
The crowning moment was when my students presented me with a ceramic falcon piggy bank.