April 2007 - Happy Subotnik!

Hello All!
Happy Subotnik! That is the holiday where everyone goes out and cleans the area around their house and work. It is called Subotnik after the Russian word for Saturday, Subota, because it takes place on the Saturday closest to Lenin's birthday. Lenin was the one who originally created Subotnik. Now because we live in Kazakhstan, it seems that "cleaning" really means sweeping the dirt into lines instead of picking up actual trash. But overall the effect is much better.

We are down to our last two months, so while we will probably be sending you fun facts for the next two months, this is our second to last definite email we will be sending. And now, heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeer's Jack!

The weather is finally warmer here. Ok, so it’s April 21, and not all the snow on the ground has quite melted. But it almost has. Sooner rather than later, we will be making the long trip back to the U.S., hopefully by way of a sight or two. Maybe Estonia.

Our most recent transportation adventure involves being dispatched no less than three taxis. The first two got lost and all three showed up at exactly the same time fifty minutes late. We missed our train, but Peace Corps got us two free taxi rides and the taxi company reimbursed our missed train tickets in full. Go Peace Corps!

Now that we’re nearing our close of service, there’s a quiz.

First, here are some silly stats, but it might be interesting nonetheless. If it’s not you get your money back. We will have been here for exactly 2 years and 14 days, or 106 weeks, or 742 days, (arriving early on June 13th, 2005), when we leave (pending medical clearance) on June 26th, 2007. During that time we received too many packages and letters to count, and wrote 295 letters in reply (to date). We visited (or are planning to before we arrive in the U.S.) 10 countries, taking 1008 pictures. Amy has read 98 books and Jack has read 74 books so far. We played Scrabble more times than there are letters in the phrase “triple word score,” and we watched tons of movies and TV shows. Jack even watched the 1985 Fiesta Bowl six times (on his own). We took approximately 110 showers each, which if you do the math is not very many, but went to the bathroom outside more than 2000 times (each). Our website was visited 1,342 times.

Here’s a practice question to warm you up, then off you go. Answers next time!
1. The email bulletin was
   A. Very funny and insightful
  B. Nothing short of fantastic
  C. Really cool
  D. Worthy of a Pulitzer Prize. Or at least a People’s Choice Award.

2. Jack and Amy are moving to
  A. Staying in Kazakhstan
  B. Michigan
  C. Cincinnati
  D. Florida
  E. Washington, DC
  F. the Outer Hebrides

3. Amy’s profession will be
  A. Cook
  B. Graduate student
  C. Editor
  D. Rocket scientist
  E. Lobbyist for Horse Lovers United whose slogan is, “Let them eat horse.”

4. Jack’s profession (upon entering the U.S.) will be
  A. Nothing/doesn’t know
  B. Lawyer
  C. 2nd baseman for the Washington Nationals
  D. Dog food taster
  E. An onion

5. The capital of Kazakhstan is
  A. Almaty
  B. Karaganda
  C. Little Rock, Arkansas
  D. Astana
  E. Kuala Lumpur

6. Amy and Jack live in
  A. Bayanaul, Kazakhstan
  B. Astana, Kazakhstan
  C. Pavlodar, Kazakhstan
  D. Inner Mongolia
  E. Mississippi, somewhere south of Tupelo

7. The national dish of Kazakhstan is
  A. Fish, living
  B. Fish, dead
  C. Besbarmak
  D. Karduk
  E. Kumiz

8. Running water is:
  A. Super duper
  B. Nice for washing dishes
  C. A great aid in cleanliness
  D. Necessary for the successful operation of a flush toilet

9. The coldest it got during our service was:
  A. -35 F/ -37 C
  B. -14 F/ -26 C
  C. -42 F/ -42 C
  D. -27 F/ -33 C

10. The hottest it got was:
  A. 43 C/ 109 F
  B. 35 C/ 95 F
  C. 10 C/ 50 F
  D. 32 C/ 90 F

11. Which of the following items is not useful in our lives here in KZ:
  A. Empty and torn plastic bag
  B. Empty box
  C. Empty beer bottle
  D. Empty jar
  E. Empty water bottle
  F. Toilet plunger

12. While living in Kazakhstan, Amy and Jack
  A. Were in charge of the Northeastern Branch of the Kyzylkum Horde
  B. Tamed horses
  C. Taught English
  D. Participated in the spring running of the goats

13. We did not eat which of the following (maybe more than one):
  A. A sheep’s face
  B. A sheep’s butt
  C. A sheep’s brain
  D. A sheep’s eye
  E. A sheep’s intestines
  F. Horse’s milk
  G. Camel’s milk
  H. Horse’s meat stuffed into its own intestines

14. We did not see which of the following:
  A. A horse being butchered
  B. A cow being guillotined
  C. A sheep’s head in the bathroom sink
  D. A horse’s leg on our front porch
  E. A baby with green hair
  F. Six grown people pushing a sofa down a hill on a wheelbarrow

15. In Kazakhstan we learned that horses are:
  A. Pretty
  B. Tasty
  C. Pretty tasty

All the best, ,
Jack & Amy