Monday, May 10, 2010

Spring in Tajikistan

Dear Students,

I’m very sorry I have not written to you in a very long time. I have been very busy with my classes here, but that is not a good reason! I hope you are well. What are you learning now? Are you planting a garden this year at school?

This is a picture of me with some of my students at the university. We are all wearing Tajik dresses. Women in Tajikistan wear long dresses with pants under the dresses. Sometimes I wear Tajik clothes but usually I wear American clothes. Tajik clothes are very comfortable. My students are in their 3rd year of university. They will be English teachers in the future. Our classes finish next week, and then the students have tests.

Tajikistan is very beautiful in the spring. There are many flowers and green trees. What do you see in this picture? I think it is funny that the trees are green but there is snow on the mountain.

My friend and I made a garden together at her house. I am putting a fence around the garden. I am very happy to have a garden here. We planted lettuce, celery, basil, zuchinni, and hot peppers. In this picture I am also wearing Tajik clothes.

I will come back to Minnesota at the end of June. I like Tajikistan, and I will come back here in August to teach for another year. I will come to school in July and see you! I am very excited to come back.

How are your families?

I miss you!

Teacher Bethany

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My Jack-O-Lantern

Dear Students,

I looked at the Arlington Hills blog, and I loved seeing the pictures of your Jack-O-Lanterns! I was very happy to see your smiling faces in the pictures too! And congratulations to Adan, Lucia, Khin Than Ye and Christina for reading at the Loft in October. I am very proud of you! In fact, I'm going to use some of the paragraphs from your stories as good examples of paragraph writing for my students here in Tajikistan.

Here are some pictures of my Halloween Jack-O-Lantern. Most of the pumpkins here in Tajikistan are not like the ones in the US. They are not usually round, but long. I was very excited when I saw my pumpkin in the market! It weighed 9 kilograms because it was very thick. I bought it, and carved it with my neighbors. The girls in the picture live upstairs in my apartment building. Their family is very friendly. Sometimes they cook Tajik food for me. They always invite me to their apartment. I remember all of you when I talk to the friendly people here in Tajikistan.

Did your children go trick or treating?

Teacher Bethany

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Market

Hello Students,

I am very happy that there are new students. I am also very happy that many students I taught are continuing to study at Arlington Hills! It's very good for improving your English. Congratulations on moving to level C, Vanny. Your topics about civil responsibility and driving sound very interesting. Some of the drivers in Tajikistan need to take a class about driving! :)

I'm going to write about the markets in Tajikistan. Most people buy food in a farmer's market, like the ones in St. Paul and Minneapolis, and many of your home countries. Now is a good time of year for fruits and vegetables in Tajikistan. In the winter, there aren't very many fruits and vegetables, and they are very expensive. Now, there are lots of fruits and vegetables and they are cheap. They are also very delicious because they are fresh. There are apples, pears, pomegranates, melons, sweet peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, eggplants, and more. There are some hot peppers here, but they are not very spicy like the peppers from Thailand or Mexico. Tajik people don't like very spicy food! I miss eating spicy food, but I really like the food of Tajikistan.

In the picture, you can see lots and lots of melons at a market. One of my students works at a different market after school. He helps his brother sell watermelons. Some markets have lots of clothes, and some have lots of food. Now, the vegetables are much cheaper than in Minnesota. One kilogram of tomatoes (2 pounds) costs less than $1. One kilo of cucumbers is about $0.50. Apples are about $1 a kilogram. One watermelon is $1.50. Rice is not very cheap. It is about $1 a kilogram for a small bag. It is cheaper if you have a large family and buy a large bag of rice.

Do you like the snow in October? All my students here want to learn about Halloween, so I think we will plan a Halloween party. Will you have a Halloween party with Mr. Jim at school this year? Say hello to Mr. Jim and Mr. Jerry for me.

Teacher Bethany

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Camping and My Class

Dear Students,
Thank you so much for your letters. I miss you very much, and I remember all of you. Don't worry, I will not forget you! How is the garden?

A few weeks ago I went camping in the mountains with some American friends. We slept in tents and cooked outside. There were lots of goats and cows walking around, and some of the cows ate our bread! In the picture, we are on the road, and we had to stop driving because of all the cows! It was so beautiful in the mountains and we went hiking.

Last weekend I went to Nurek, a small city one hour outside of Dushanbe. It is the home town of Shahlo, another English teacher at the university. We are the in picture together in front of the river in Nurek. There is a big factory in Nurek that makes electricity for many parts of Tajikistan. Many people in Nurek work in the factory.

The picture in the classroom is one of my classes. I teach 2 classes. One of the classes is only women, and the other has men and women. In the picture the students are practicing conversation. My students are in their 3rd year at the university, and they are 19 or 20 years old. Some of them speak a lot of English, and some speak a little English.

What are you studying now?
Teacher Bethany

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Apartment Tour

Hello students!

Thank you for your messages! My apartment is has bedroom and one bathroom. My rent is $400 for one month. I like my new city. There are mountains around the city and trees next to the streets. Many people have gardens in their yards. I see many houses with grapes and other fruits growing outside. I don't have a car here, but there are many buses and small van taxis on my street. I can walk to the university and the market. So it is easy for me to go places. Sometimes it's difficult if I buy a lot of fruits and vegetables at the market, though! They are heavy to carry home.

Thank you for your ideas for washing clothes! Yolanda, I tried putting my clothes in water overnight, and it worked very well. They were easier to wash. You can watch this video and see my bathroom and the red tub I use to wash my clothes.

What are you studying in class now? I hope to see you all next year too!

Teacher Bethany

Thursday, September 3, 2009

My Apartment

Dear Students,

Thank you so much for writing! I was very happy to read your letters. You asked very good questions! I think about you every day and remember all of you. Sometimes I feel lonely, but I am meeting new people and I am happy. I will come back to Minnesota at the end of June next year. After that, I may come back to Tajikistan for another year. I don’t know yet.

You asked why I came to Tajikistan. Tajikistan is a very poor country and some students don’t have a good education. I wanted to come help teachers learn more English so the education can be better. I also like to see new places and learn languages. Russian is very difficult, so I think I will try to learn Tajik this year. There is a Tajik woman who may be my teacher.

You asked about my students. I will start teaching next Monday. Today I had a meeting at the university and they told me which class I will teach. I will teach grammar and practice to students in their 3rd year. I will have 15 students in my class. I saw the students today, but didn’t have time to talk to them. Yes, most people in Tajikistan are Muslim. They don’t eat pork because the Koran, their book, says it’s not OK to eat pork. I will write more about Muslim culture later. Teacher Jonna: the white stuff on the food in Turkey was sour cream on a veggie patty.

Here are some pictures of my apartment and of my street. It is very nice, and I am happy here. My neighbors are very friendly. Some of them speak a little English. I do not have a washing machine, so I will wash clothes by hand. I have washed clothes by hand only a few times, when I was on traveling. Can you give me some good ideas for washing clothes by hand? Will you go to the State Fair this year?

I miss you a lot!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Dear Students,

Thank you for your messages! You went many places during the break--Alaska, Wisconsin, to weddings, shopping and parties. It sounds like fun! I don't know about washing clothes in Tajikistan. I am in Turkey now, but I will tell you when I get to Tajikistan. I think I will wash clothes by hand.

I came to the city of Istanbul in Turkey on Saturday. I saw many mosques, places where Muslim people pray. There are many old buildings here. This is a picture an old church called Aya Sofia. First it was a church, then a mosque, and now it is a museum.

I really like the food in Turkey. This was my lunch yesterday. What foods do you see? In Turkey I have also eaten lamb, beef meatballs, and a pancake with potato and cheese inside.

Most of the people in Turkey are Muslims. For one month, called Ramadan, they do not eat during the day. At night they have a big dinner with their families. Many families go to the park at night and have a picnic.

On Monday I went to the Black Sea. I went swimming. It was very beautiful.

I love you too, and I miss you a lot!