1. Christmas decorations abound. This surprised me, especially because Kazakhstan is a majority Muslim country. Even more surprising was that I started seeing Christmas decorations right after Halloween, kind of like in the US. Malls and shopping centers are big here, so I think commercialization plays a role, but I've also seen decorations outside of retail establishments.
|Okay, this isn't a great picture, but maybe you can see some of the decorations.|
|A truck carting away some snow.|
4. I've turned in final grades. I am now dealing with the fallout of doing my job because not everyone is happy with his or her grades. Some of the unhappy people are very whiny and pushy about their dissatisfaction. Maybe the students I had last year were just an exceptionally mature group of people, but I never imagined getting this level of pushback. Personally, the idea of challenging a professor on my grades never even occurred to me in college. I think I viewed them as authority figures who deserved at least a display of respect (imagine that!). I keep trying to remind myself that many of my students are terrific, but we all know that saying about bad apples...
And, that's about it! I'm looking forward to some time with my family soon!