As you know, people all over the world celebrated International Children Day yesterday. We did the same. Kazakhstan with the support of UNICEF organized Children film festival in Astana. The festival aimed to draw people’s attention to the children all over the world and different situations they are in. Children film festival in Astana takes place in Saryarka Shopping and Entertainment Center. It will last for five days and started on the first of June. The first day of the film festival started with the film “All the invisible children”, that consisted of several short films such as:

  • Tanza, by Mehdi Charef (Burkina Faso) tells the story of a child soldier in Africa who dreams of living a normal life and attending school.
  • Blue Gypsy, by Emir Kusturica (Serbia & Montenegro) pictures a gypsy boy in his last day in a juvenile prison in Serbia-Montenegro without any other perspective but returning to prison.
  • Jesus Children of America, by Spike Lee (USA) shows a HIV positive Brooklyn teenager called Blanca, daughter of junkies’ parents with Aids and the cruelty of her schoolmates in school.
  • João and Bilú, by Kátia Lund (Brazil) tells the story of two children who fight to survive working on the streets.
  • Ciro, by Stefano Veneruso (Italy) tells the story of a young boy in Naples who pickpockets to spend money on entertainment.
  • Song Song and Little Cat, by John Woo (China) shows a tale of fantasy, with a homeless orphan and a spoiled wealthy girl.

(For further information follow the link Film Festival in Astana)
Each of those films showed children and their situations from different perspectives. However, combined all of them managed to make people understand that children need our attention and care every time and everywhere. Perhaps, people felt it for majority, who came to watch the film, didn’t want to leave the cinema even when there were no places and they didn’t. I guess, they enjoyed the first day of the children film festival despite discomfort they were forced to deal. (The film festival is free of charge and people were ready to watch it even sitting on the stairs.)

Personally, I was glad to see so many viewers in the hall for it means that there are people, who are not indifferent to the children destiny. Of course, I want to believe that those people didn’t come just to watch a film for free and spend their usual evening with “something not boring”.

The films were so real that I felt compassion to those children. Their life and their destiny was so cruel and it became even worse when the life faced them with the loss of a closer person, fatal disease, coerced act of carrying weapons and shooting, and eking out a living by gathering cans and metals all day long. Doing all these things children are deprived from the childhood. They cannot play outside, they cannot go to school, they cannot feel themselves safe . . .

Sometimes, looking at children playing, I miss my childhood. However, I feel pity for them at the same time.In our childhood our friends were not online, they were outdoors, in the yard. We didn’t call our friends to play by mobile phones, we shouted under their windows calling them for game. We didn’t play computer games all day long, but such games as hide-and-seek and etc. Comparatively, our childhood was real. Still adults can make childhood of their children bright, enjoyable and memorable.

It is strange to watch the way your life changes. Sometimes, we dream about one thing, but instead have totally another one. However, sometimes, it goes vice versa. Don’t understand me wrong, but the changes in our life occur constantly and every day. There are small ones and hardly people notice them, especially in the rush of modern life. If the life wants, it  can and changes your way of being absolutely in another direction.

Having graduated from Pedagogical Institute in West of Kazakhstan, I thought about the ways of finding a really good job with future career perspectives. At the same time, I applied for one-year program, having no idea if I would be admitted or not. Telling the truth, I didn’t make so much about that program, but strongly wished to be admitted. And now, I have already completed that one-year program and going to have a good job. That is the direction I went being admitted to that program. As a matter of fact, that exact program gave a chance to come to the capital city and live and work there.

Having all these things happened in a year, I can hardly imagine the way my life looked being NOT admitted to that program. Certainly, being not sure of the success of my application, I worked on finding a job, at the same time. Actually, it was not so difficult for me to find a job. I am a teacher. However, that time I didn’t want to work at school.

Thanks to God, but my life in the capital city is full of many memorable things. Still one can feel the difference between the places, if one has lived there for a while. Now I can feel this difference. You have more perspectives in a big city. First, it seems unusual to you, but by and by you get used to it and began feeling yourself comfortable.

Looking back, I see that I am going up the ladder of prosperity and development. How is it strange, but all these changes are somehow connected with the places I live. At first, I lived in the village,  moved to the town, then to the capital city. my friends often hear me saying “I have found my place in Kazakhstan, and now I should find my place in Astana.” However, I still dream to go abroad and live there for a while.

Here I want to mention that the life of a person depends upon his/her ambitions. It is ambition that defines his path of life. Indeed, people say “If there is a will,there is a way out.”

I just remembered, a few days ago a mature friend of mine told me that I was in a rush to reach my goals. She advised me to slow down and let the things go by themselves. She might be right, but the fact is that I cannot let some things pass by. The life is given us to feel it. I can feel it only, when I do something that is mine. Mine inside. I admit that there are many people, who agree and disagree with me. Everything is up to a person. And should be! Whatever you do and say, it is important to have your own profile. Cause it is your life, right?

There was a nice exhibition in the Palace Peace and Concord in Astana on March,  31. Amazing three painters had a chance to show their masterpieces to the wider audience.

The exhibition was organized by Contemporary Art Center “Kulanshi” and presented the pictures and photos of three American painters. They are Emily Mihalik, Yongi Chung and Sara Gail Burgess. Each painter has unique style of painting different from each other.

Above you can see a picture by Emily in the background. It was done in abstraction style and is called “Winter Birds”.

The picture is called Astana at night. It is abstraction, there are people, who understand it, there are, who don’t. For me this picture is the most meaningful, it is Astana.

This is the hall, where works by Sara Burgess were presented. The photos show Kazakhstan and reflect a part of Kazakhstan, where I was born and spent my childhood.

This is only a little part of what was presented in the exhibition. For more information about exhibitions, search for Contemporary Art Center :KUlanshi”.

The film Click showcases the main character tr...

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Yesterday a good friend of mine invited me to the presentation of a project called “The history of soul: real life”. The project aimed to reflect person’s soul through poems, music, films and others. We had different speakers on each topic: poem speaker, music speaker and film speaker. Firstly, we listened to the music called “Simply”. A famous Russian singer A. Pugacheva sang it during the Soviet time and the song became very popular. However, we listened to more modern variant of the song. The song encourages you to live, not to exist. If I listened to it in other conditions, I can say that I wouldn’t have paid any attention to it. Then, we read a poem of a famous Russian writer S. Esenin. Finally, we watched a film called “Click” starred by A. Sandler. A workaholic architect finds a universal remote that allows him to fast-forward and rewind to different parts of his life. Complications arise when the remote starts to overrule his choices. Actually, the film made me think about our life. Fortunately, we do not have such device in real life. Otherwise, I cannot even imagine how our life will look like. I can only guess: we will end like the main character of the film did until he was given another chance.

The problem of time is becoming more and more essential in modern life. Sometimes, we don’t notice the days passing with a non-stop speed. I don’t know whether other people will agree with me or not, but the time is now imperceptible, though it is very important. I remember when I studied at school (I lived in the village that time), I had enough time to do reading, drawing ( I used to draw a lot, I even used to be an “editor” of school posters), to play volleyball at school and outside with my friends. In addition, I still had time to go swimming to the river with my family every day. There are many other things I managed to do in a day. However, now all these things seem to be difficult to do for me. Perhaps, the flow of life in the city cannot be compared with that in the village. (I ‘moved’ from village to the city about 5 years ago.) On the contrary, the life seems to be easier in the city: central heating, cold/hot running water, etc. The rush is strongly felt in the city. In the vanity of accomplishing different things at a time, people do not pay attention to the small staff. We think a lot about career opportunity, promotion or eking out a living for some people. All these things constitute an important part of part of our lives, but the most important remains to be your family, your friends. Even if you lose everything, they will remain.

There are many examples when a person is to choose between home and office, family and work. Some people make the right choice and become happy, other people make the right choice and become unhappy. It requires time for some people to understand it. It is what the character of “Click” did. He understand the importance of the family, laying in the hospital in a death breath (until he was given a chance to live better).

I know a person, who was forced to make that decision. Family or job? Despite a successful job opportunity in Kazakhstan, she left everything she began here to go back to America. It is the right choice that makes people happy.

Despite the things happening around us, we should try to accept them as a life. Dreaming about super career prosperity, don’t forget to call your mom in the afternoon or to have a walk along the street in the evening. Let your life be real in reality.

After Kazakhstan has celebrated Kazakh New Year – Nauryz, now it is time to continue what started before it. It seems to me that after Nauryz holiday, this year of my life can be divided to two parts: before Nauryz and after. I completed my PDP course, received my certificate and saw my teacher off to America. That was time full of something special and dear for me. Now I am back to the University after the holidays, but the things have changed. No more PDP classes, no more quest speakers and no more assignments on Moodle.

What I don’t like doing is doing nothing. If I am in nothing-to-do condition, I get bored. I hardly find place to stay. Fortunately, I am lucky to be enrolled to Critical Thinking course, organized by Cambridge and Orken administration. I like theories, which brings food for your dream. That is what I expect from critical thinking course. Telling the truth, I do know nothing about thinking from critical point of view. Of course, if not to consider, what I learned from my groupmate, who did research on critical thinking and my brother, who studied critical thinking course in Korea. According to my brother’s words, it is a very interesting subject, and it really makes your brain cells move actively. When I informed him that I enrolled into Critical Thinking course, he told me different riddles his teacher in Korea used to tell them. Some of them are easy to interpret, some of them – hard, but the answers are too simple. Simple . . . if you think correctly.

Critical thinking course will start a new stage in my educational life. Thinking about everything, happening with me, I even sometimes wonder how I managed to achieve it. I mean to do it for I know many achievements await me in future. Sometimes, I feel proud of myself. I have nothing to tell about my parents’, friends’ and relatives’ impressions.

What I know for sure is that with such luggage of knowledge, I won’t stay in one place. Actually, I hate being in one place every time. Boring, isn’t it?!

Sometimes, I get disappointed because of school practice duration, translations and uncertainty of staying in Astana, but after thinking about everything thoroughly I realize that I am surrounded with great possibilities. I mean, after thinking critically…

Thank to everyone, who has helped, helps and will help me to accomplish what I am doing now.

What did PDP gave me? A lot. When I asked this question to myself, I didn’t want to answer it in a pell-mell way. The reason I have much to say about the program is its contribution and influence to my professional skills. During these 20 weeks I enriched my knowledge twice both as a teacher and an individual.  Now the program is over, but the changes are still ahead. The following facts about our program prove the changes will come.

We accomplished and went through many things and events from the very beginning of the program. The course was a real journey to the modern and active world in both meanings. We dived with our heads to the modern methods and teaching devices and went to no less useful trips in Astana and even outside. We visited Eagilik, Astana art gallery,  ALZHIR camp, American Corner Astana, went to the U.S. Embassy Information center. The last one was a memorable one for it happened with me for the first time and left a chance to visit Embassy independently on my own.

Ebscohost, Oxford journals, Moodle, WordPress, Survey monkey, Web Survey master, Citation builder, Ted.com, voki, quia … It is not a simple enumeration of the strange-sounding words, it is a meaningful and considerable set of words that do mean something very important for me. In addition, I learned and still use different URLs that program gave to me. I have low musical intelligence, but it doesn’t prevent me from learning a song with Lyricstraining. Aha, intelligences, it is another thing I learned from my lessons. It is a really interesting theory and worth of trying it with my students. There are no people with the same hand lines, and there are no people with absolutely same intelligences.

However, the main impact to my knowledge was what I learned from the course from methodological point of view. I had a great opportunity to improve my academic writing. I learned to write an essay, to do citations, to build correct thesis statements, to make a clear outline, to differentiate between working bibliography and references. I was taught tips of an eye-catching essays and blog entries. Moreover, I managed to switch from prepared paper-writing to spontaneous quick-writing. That is one of the most important achievements that came from practicing wordpress several times. My English writing proficiency went effectively higher.

Further on, we watched films and short video clips. We did watching and speaking and listening and writing at a time. Now if you ask about such topics as human trafficking, freedom, addiction, perfection, etc. you may be sure all of us have something to tell about these issues for we had a thoughtful set of philosophical and psychological short clips. The importance of these clips was active thinking abilities. At first, there is nothing to make you think except “What is out of it?” Storming your brain for awhile, you find even more than you expected.

We found even more we expected from our quest speakers. Looking back now, I remember Marinka Franulovic, Glen and Mary Tosaya, Josh Lange, Chad Harris, Alan Ruby, Annemarie Bechert, Ann Lonsdale, Jon Larsen, Hanaa Singer, Joan Ordway, Harold Samuels, Martha and others. That was one of the memorable events from my PDP courses.

Nevertheless, all these events were because of the teacher we had. Everything is up to the teacher for she is a motivator, an inspirer for her students. Russian people have a saying “Tell me who your friend is and I’ll tell you who you are”, but I want to say “Tell me who your teacher is and I’ll tell what kind of student you are”. Yesterday, on the graduation ceremony and Nu and Orken administration praised us a lot. We couldn’t have accomplished it without Kristina, could we? My deep and endless gratitude to a person, who made a difference in all of us and prepared change agents for Kazakhstani schools.

I wish the program to continue the next and next years. We accomplished the pioneer year without any papers and, unfortunately, without any computers of our own. I want the program to get developed and expand all over Kazakhstan, especially in the villages. I wish more student-centered teachers to educate our young generation. Finally, I wish my teacher to come back to Kazakhstan for she has even more to give us.

Nauryz is a traditional holiday of all Turkic countries. It is the beginning of a new year in our calendars. It symbolizes refreshment after long winter months. In different Turkic countries it is called differently, but sounds close. The nature awakes in these days and people start celebrating the holiday. There are many attributes of the holiday: people prepare national food called “Nauryz kozhe” ( “kozhe” means “soup” in Kazakh), wear traditional clothes, organize national games competitions, build “altybakan”( “swings” in English”), and sing national songs, dance and play.

It was my first Nauryz in Astana this year. I am not from that type of people, who prefer sit at home and watch everything on TV. Actually, my uncle IS. He prefers to spend time at home instead of going here and there: visiting the places with different national show programs. In comparison with my uncle, I am quite different. So, my aunt, my three-year old brother spent a nice day among Kazakh “KYIZ UIs” (old Kazakh house).

We visited Kazakh “village” near Bayterek, watched Kazakh wrestling, listened to Kazakh national songs and tried many national foods. However, I couldn’t try Nauryz kozhe this year. I was completely absorbed by the things happening around me that I totally forgot about it. How could I?! It seems even impossible when we celebrate Nauryz. It is a tradition in each family to prepare Nauryz kozhe and invite relatives and neighbours. As a matter of fact, my mom prepares Nauryz kozhe each year, and each yera we have quests at home to the holiday. The same does every family in our village. Sometimes, we even have several people to invite us for Nauryz kozhe. That’s why it seems ridiculus not to try the main food of the holiday. When my mom herad about it, she was surprised and said that she will prepare it for me especially when I go home on holidays.

Despite missed Nauryz kozhe, the day was full of joy and fun, especially for my little brother, who has seen everything for the first time.

Here he is in front of one of the beautiful kyiz uis.

Behind is Kazakh “batyr” (warrior), who used to fight with the enemies of the land and, at the same time, guard houses of khans. Their appearance  feared invaders of the Kazakh land, and my brother also.

Here you can see people in national Kazakh costumes.

In the middle we are as the representatives of modern Kazakhstan.

Here we are enjoying the the holiday in Astana.

In other words, everyone celebrated Nauryz all over Kazakhstan. Even President put off all his business and visited one of the events to congratulate people with spring holiday of equinox.