Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The end comes closer and closer and closer.

SO. I have only a few weeks left. School will start next week. I don't yet know what groups I will be teaching, or with what other teachers, which is fine - I don't expect to find out for a while still.

I have spoken to a number of people in public accounting, but almost nobody who is actually still doing public accounting, and nobody who has followed a path similar to mine, although I am very non-standard since I'm not coming to the profession directly out of school.

I almost made cookies today, but got distracted reading about bento, which seems to be a Japanese style of lunch. I began to fantasize about having somewhere to go where I couldn't be back home for lunch. Or spend 3 hours making and then eating lunch. Not that I do, but I could.

Tomorrow I think I will make cookies, and maybe a cake. I should also make real food. I will buy some bell peppers for scrambled eggs the rest of the week, and maybe make another lasagna.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


I didn't notice that I had missed a week.

Just finished my last class for the summer semester. On the 30th I will start the Fall semester. I have only 3 chapters left in my main textbook, and I have promised myself that I wont buy the books for the rest of the classes until I finish this one. I'm hoping that I can finish the first chapters of all the books by the end of this week.

I hope whatever readers I have are doing well. I have received some interest from two firms, and have applied to a total of 4. I am optimistic.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The end impends

I found out yesterday from one of my professors that Deloitte and Touche recruits at my school, which is very good to hear. I still need to figure out how to get into that process from KZ, but it is a step in the right direction. I also need to start actually applying to jobs, rather than just looking at them online.

I am leaning towards eliminating my goals for Russian beyond keeping up with my words in Anki. With my two classes, I'm not really feeling the krazy studying that I really need to do in Russian to make substantial progress by the middle of September when I will take my test. I do want to listen to a few audiobooks, however, and see if that is helpful.

My law class finishes this week, and I'm sad because I dropped to an 89 percent. It would be nice to have a 4.0, though as I think of it an A- probably won't help me get there. More classes next semester, though I don't yet have all the ones I want. Still need to get permission from a councilor to take more than 16 units.

Still mulling my options for my trip home after PC. I still want to go to Russia, but I might make it a shorter trip than originally envisioned, and spend less time also in Ireland.

A lot of it will depend on when/if I get a job. I now have a big piece of paper on my wall where I'm writing down my thoughts and possible plans.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Russian Camp Next Week (maybe 2 weeks)

I finished Pat's camp in Persnofka last week. It was fun, but very tiring.

Yesterday I finally finished catching up on the stuff I missed by going to camp, and am mostly where I need to be for stuff. I still haven't gotten to the Russian audiobooks I have, but I remain hopeful for the weeks after Russian Camp.

There will be 8 volunteers from outside Petro coming in for the camp which will be held in my college, which has graciously offered us rooms and is letting the out-of-town volunteers stay in the dormitory. It should be a fun time.

The weather today is pretty chilly, as was the day before yesterday, but yesterday was very hot. I'm hoping it will stay like this for the rest of the summer, but it will probably heat back up.

My current torment is the thought of getting a job. The internet news is pretty grim on the prospect for recent graduates, and there is increasingly serious talk of a double dip recession, which would be a bit of a bother for me. It looks like more than half of recent BA's don't have a job for which a BA is a requirement.

Hopefully I will be able to leverage my PC experience to avoid that.

Anybody know any Public Accountants I could do an Informational Interview with?

I won't be on campus to attend the recruiting events, and so I need to make an unconventional entry into the profession.

Current plan is to start calling everyone with a CPA that I have a connection to and asking their opinion of how to get into the field from where I am now.

Friday, June 18, 2010

It's pretty hot

The summer is fully upon us here in the north. It must be about 90 degrees every day. The mosquitoes have also begun to breed and find their way into my bedroom.

This week and last I taught a class at my school for a few students. When I agreed to do it i initially asked only for a room that I could reliably have. I was assigned a room, but then was kicked out by other teachers the second day. It turns out that that room is not really suitable for me because they need it for other things. Then there was a period during which I moved from one room to the other every day, and students were unable to find me or the class. Then I was assigned a room that would be available for the rest of the time, but the next day there was no key to it.

At any rate: I now know that I should not agree to teach in room 50, and should be thankful that the class is over.

Next week I will go to Bulaevo for a summer camp, which should be fun. After that I will have another week in Persnovka for another camp. That will be all of my travel for the summer unless Kyrgestan magically becomes stable in the next month, but even then...

We shall see.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Almost weekly!

Just a bit late, but I had been having trouble accessing this site. It seems to be blocked by the government. I can now post, however.

I am also planning to take a few courses online at a CA community college while I'm here, and in the Fall. Current plan is Accounting I (if I can get into it), and Business Law. If possible I want also to take personal finance. I already have one of my books, which is exciting.

I also found a bread recipe that I really like at I have been looking (rather half-heartedly) for a recipe for the 5 minute bread online and was only recently successful. It worked out very well, and required almost no effort or time. 3 minutes to mix stuff in a bowl, ignore it for a while, put it in the fridge, grab a chunk and make a ball, ignore it a while, bake it, let it cool and eat. I look forawrd in the future to add additional bits like dried fruit t o it also.

I now understand how to make kvass, but I haven't gotten around to doing it yet. I never seem to have enough water on hand, though I did just recently find a suitable container.

I think that's about it. The wind is very strong, and the weather a bit chilly, but othwerwise things are fine. I have shashlik and beer with friends from time to time, have three classes tomorrow, and a camp starting next sunday, as well as the sunday after. Then I'm back here for two weeks, before two more camps, then in the city for all of august.

Toodles. I'll try and update again once I have info on my classes, but I may not be able to post from camp. Next monday is first day of class, but it will be tuesday for me, I think.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Return

As was recently brought to my attention, I have lapsed in updating this blog. I shall, therefore, endeavor to return to it with greater regularity, though I have another 2 weeks of travel coming up at the end of this month.

I have just returned from a few days spend in Kzlorda, which is in the far south of Kazakhstan, and West of Shymkent. It is the furthest I have traveled from Petro so far, not counting my trip to India, and was the longest travel I have ever made.

The way down the 60 hour trip was broken by spending 12 hours in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. That 12 hours was just about enough to see everything that the capital offered, although we couldn't find the museum in a convenient period of time.

The main site is Baiterek, which is a golden ball on top of a bunch of white sticks. It symbolizes the egg of wisdom that was deposited by a bird on top of a poplar tree. At the top, as one expects from a tree of wisdom, is a pedestal with the signatures of a number of religious leaders from around the world, and a golden hand impression of the first and current president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbaev. I have a picture now with my hand in his. I hope to get it at some point.

Other than that, the main attraction of the city is the architecture of the government section of the city. Overall I was favorably impressed. Many complain that although there are many fantastic buildings, they are all empty and shoddily built. While I can't disagree, they are still pretty cool, and the section as a whole does seem very well designed with subterranean parking structures that would be very nice if US cities would copy them. It does seem to be based loosly on the Mall in DC, except with the President's Palace at the head of the Mall, and Congress off to the side.

There was also a traveling exhibition of the Love Bears, or something. A bunch of painted bears, one for each country. Some were very well painted, others looked like a bunch of school-children smeared them with paint. Unfortunately both the US and Irish bears were rather unimpressive. I can't remember the nationality of most of the ones that impressed me, though Kyrgystan was much nicer than I had expected. I think there will be pictures later.

Anyway. After Astana I went the rest of the way to Kzlorda for the National Association of Teachers of English in Kazakhstan (NATEK) conference. They show up in a different city each year, and this was the second year I was able to go. It was a good conference, and I gave a presentation on sources online for native English in written and audio form. I focused mostly on Project Gutenberg and the BBC Learning English section.

I have decided not to apply to be a trainer for the new group of volunteers because it would require me to move into a host family near Almaty that might not have Internet, and a lot of the things I am currently working on, like getting a job, require the Internet for searching as well as calling the US via Skype at all hours of the night and very early morning. I'm also hoping to take an online class on accounting to see what I think of it. If I enjoy the class I will be pursuing a job in a CPA firm, or secondarily as an accounting clerk, Accounts Payable/Receivable once I get back to the US. Ideally I will be able to get a job offer before I leave Kazakhstan.

Connected with that, I'm trying to foresee how much money I will have/need once I do get back to the US. That's leading me to scale back my initial plans to travel extensively after the Peace Corps. I still want to go to Russia since I'm so close, and my Russian will be fresh, and if I'm going home that way anyway, I would like to try and swing through Ireland to see family, but I will probably cut out Germany and other countries.

I am also considering requesting an extension of 30 days or so at site to finish the semester, and close out a few projects I hope to be working on at the time. My ideal time to return to the US would be end of December, which would give me a week or two over the holidays to readjust, and then I would be able to start work after the New Year.

I am growing some plants in my apartment this summer. My tomato plants seem to be doing well, and I'll start a few more this week, I think. I'm also growing parsley, dill, basil, in addition to some flowers which will hopefully be pretty.

The school year is over for this year, so my work will turn to summer camps and summer classes that I will run at my school and the library. The library is already scheduled at Thursday and Friday, and the stuff at my school will be scheduled (probably) this week.

Things are well, I am healthy, and I hope you all are also!