Thursday, July 14, 2011

July 14, 2011: Typical Day

Today was a teaching day with my students so the driver, Yusef picked me up at 10 and off we went to run an errand or two and then to the campus.  Today we decided to do group pictures and when I pull out my camera, so does everyone else, which is a lot of fun.

Front Row L-R:  Saku, Asad, Saima.  Second Row:  Naima, Nadia, Tahira, Cathy Wilson, Samia, Shafaq. Third Row: Zoona, Saima, Humera, Sumaira, Roma, Jia. Fourth Row: Naureen, Ayesha, Madiha, Nazia, Zahra. Not pictured: Mahvish
The biggest issue we have in class is technology. A lot of these ladies have come from other parts of the country and are staying at a school guest house which has no internet. Part of the issue with internet is the erratic power (as in it just shut down here and I lost part of my blog...drat! Most of it had saved but uploading pictures is always an adventure).

Salima had sent over a book on how to Learn Urdu in 2 months or less.  I don't think I will be learning Urdu in 2 months or less, but I am trying to learn some phrases.  My students think it is hilarious when I try it because some sounds I just have a hard time getting my tongue twisted around it.
Urdu in 2 Months...Me? Maybe next year!
I am very fortunate to be staying in a guest house with a generator back up that automatically kicks on after a few minutes when the power goes out.  In most homes here, that is not an option.  One-they are expensive, two-they make a lot of racket.  So, the other option is a UPS back-up battery system.  It charges while the power is on and when it goes out, the battery pack (depending on how many you have) will run at least the lights and fans.  Having your power out several times a day is the norm and sometimes for several hours daily. Many homes don't have the back up systems. So, we've made some modifications in the course structure and are building in some research time in class (as the school has a back up generator). I am getting used to it and everyone is pretty goodnatured about it, but it does present some challenges for teaching from a wiki.

Class ends at 3:30, but usually a number of students will stay for questions, help or just to chat. Yusef is very patient, but I try to be out by 4ish.  In the afternoon, the cook is always waiting with my afternoon tea.  I haven't had coffee (and only 2 diet cokes) since I've been here.  Usually they serve instant coffee so tea is better. Water is served with every meal so I am drinking a lot of that.

So, I'm adjusting some to staying here. My hosts are wonderful about always trying to plan stuff for me, but sometimes it is nice to have a slower day. Lahore is a big, old  city and as such-has most of the big city amenities...movies, businesses everywhere, churches, mosques, but it also has the big city problems-limited parking, trash, and people living on the streets. It also is a pretty city-parks and gardens are everywhere and well maintained.  Security does not seem to be much of an issue.  The military is very much present as are the police and no one seems to carry a weapon in a holster.  It is right where you can see it and usually a big gun! Having servants is nice, but makes me a little crazy. They clean, cook and drive (and they are very separate jobs), treat you beautifully, and are very kind. However, you are dependent on them and they on you.
This was the Queen Victoria Monument from 1902-1951.  After independence a copy of the Koran was put in place of her statue. There  bronze statue of the queen is now in the Lahore Museum.

No one at my house will be surprised at this one (or my reaction)-the light switches are something.  There 8 bathroom light switches outside the door and 5 inside the bathroom.  I know the outside guard must laugh his head off watching the lights go off and on as I am trying to still figure out what goes where. All of the guests here have told me I am not alone, so that makes me feel a little better. I want a label maker to put labels on them!  The other fun thing is the bathroom.  The shower is huge, but has no seal at the bottom of the glass doors. Consequently, when you take a shower the water not caught under the shower head (which does not seem to be much) goes out the door and into another drain outside the door by the side of a toilet.  They call this a wet bath (NOW I get it...).  The first day it happened, I saw a squeegie and was freaking out trying to get all the water up.  Now I know exactly how long I can shower before it hits the door level, have the squeegie ready and am good to go. Ah...adjustments!
This building this movie theatre is in is famous and over 100 years old. Yusef likes to give a tour when we drive together. A good bit of the photo's I've taken have been out the car window.  Thank you Shelby for teaching me how to edit!
This evening our cook fixed a different kind of chicken dish that was really good.  We eat chicken a lot but it is prepared in very unique ways and each dish has a very distinctive taste. Salima sent over the most wonderful mangoes for dessert), so I am planning on a movie tonight, grading papers and getting ready for tomorrow's class.

Yikes!  Geiko alert!  I have seen a couple of the little varmits since I've been here but this baby is 5 inches long!  He was in the hall on the wall. No worse than the salamanders I see in the front yard (certainly bigger) all the time-but please not in my bedroom!  Tomorrow-class, then shopping!

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