Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Like a giant holiday tree

Outside my window, there is a mountain. The mountain is lit up like a holiday tree, what with all of the housing that is on it.

I didn't post yesterday, sorry. Went around Kabul some with the administrator, tried to take in as much as I could from e-mails and instructions. There is enough going on here that I can't just absorb it all in a day or two.

I thought we were pretty fast and loose with the way we did some of the network infrastructure things at my old job. Here, we have CAT5 stretched between buildings that has to be at about 299.9 feet, excuse me, 99.9 meters. There are no managed switches in the place, and lots of CAT5 just pushed through holes in the wall. Definitely different.

I went shopping yesterday, a couple times, a couple places. Since we have to take care of our own breakfast, I got a slightly out of date box of Frosted Flakes. (It will probably be better than the in-date Bran Fiber Flakes would have been). The interesting thing about this is that the shopkeeper wiped the dust off with a wet rag before selling it to me. I found this definitely different.

Day two of life in Kabul. Woke up early again. One interesting thing about Kabul is that their days are basically about an hour or two ahead of the states as far as daylight goes. It gets light enough to work by 5:00 or so, but here at 7:45, it is pretty close to as dark as it will get. This further makes my internal sleep schedule a little unraveled, but I think tonight may get me back on track. At 7:45, I'm not sleepy or anything, so I'm hoping I can stay up and read or do something for another hour, hour and a half. I figure if I can swing that, then I'll be well on the way to getting a normal sleep schedule.

Today started off interesting. Power went out around 5:45, and when I got over to the office around 7:10, 7:20ish, I was kinda freaked because the server had been running on batteries (don't worry, there's lots) the whole time, and the battery time indicator was getting close to zero. Right as I went to shut it down, they turned the generators on, and we were back up and going.

The rest of the day was just spent in more figuring out what is going on, and what needs to happen. I think I'm starting to get some handle on it. Not sure yet. More teachers came today, as did some of the other administration. It felt like a ghost school here today and yesterday, though. At least that gives me plenty of time to try to get up to speed as fast as I can.

I was talking to one of the male teachers here tonight, and one of the things that I got around to commenting on (I don't remember how, exactly) was that I haven't ever worked for a school before, and that that was going to... not present a difficulty, precisely, but just be a different experience for me. The subtle interplay between teacher and student. The differing desires of the teachers. The different priorities. However, one thing that I find is that once again, I am in a support role. Don't get me wrong, that is certainly the way that I prefer it, but it just makes for some fun times, because what I am doing is not the priority. I have to remember that.

Anyway, I think I'm adjusting fairly OK. I didn't go anywhere today, but we had lunch and supper in the dining hall. Even though the food isn't what I'm used too, I'm very thrilled about not having to worry about cooking. I'm pretty sure they do lunch and supper doing the school year also. About this, I am happy.

As I am sure others can identify with in their situation, it is pretty interesting coming into a place where most of the people have been here for a year or two, and so know each other, the environment, the paradigms and the pressures, the times and the tint of the landscape in the same way. When I don't have any real reference points for a lot of the things they discuss (about people, students, locale events), it makes being around for their conversations interesting. Another interesting thing is that since these folks haven't seen each other for a couple months, and have all gone and done their own interesting and exciting things in the interim, they all want to hear about what the others have done. Nothing wrong with it, just means that it gives me a lot of opportunities to sit, listen, and try to understand who these people are, what drives them, and what they are consumed by.

OK, I said that at 7:45 it was as dark as it was going to be. It's now 8:08, and it's even darker. And instead of a holiday tree, it looks like a gigantic colony sleeper ship which has grown new modules over thousands of years, cruising just outside my window.

Well, it's probably time to close this blog entry down. When you feel the mess, it just takes the time away from the chances that you had to be the singular identification of the things that you always wanted to be. What that means, I don't rightly now, but everyone thinks it sounds pretty. And by everyone, I mean the lemurs.

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