Today was a really busy but super fun day!
In class, we learned about scheduling and budgets, and the students practiced adding a schedule and budget to their experimental plans from yesterday. We also learned how to apply thermodynamics and the ideal gas law to systems by exploring some cool science videos. I wanted to do the demos live in class, but they both involved substantial amounts of fire, so I decided that videos were a bit safer. I also really liked teaching the students about how rocket engines and nozzles work. It was a nice tie-in from the demos we watched, and the students were really good at engaging and participating. Plus, I've heard it said that a sign of understanding is being able to explain concepts to others... so this must be a good sign :)
After class, Nikhil and I accompanied some of our fellow teachers (Aidana, Alibek, and Askhat) to the opening ceremony of the Physics, Mathematics, and Informatics International Olympiad that our school is hosting. The ceremony was really cool, featuring students in traditional Kazakh dress, a beautiful student orchestra playing traditional Kazakh instruments (like dombra, kobyz, and others), and even a local singer. There were teams from all over Eastern Europe and Eurasia, and each team was escorted onto the stage for a professional picture with their national flag. The ceremony reminded me of so many of my happy memories from my visit to Russia for the 2012 Space Olympics. I know these students will have an equally amazing experience!
After the ceremony, Aidana, Nikhil, and I went to the Abai theater to see The Nutcracker ballet. It was my first time seeing a "feature length" ballet live, and I was very impressed! I was able to follow the plot line fairly well. It seemed to me that the first act was mostly the narrative about the girl and the Nutcracker, and their adventures. The second act was more focused on the skills of the ballerinas as dancers. We followed the show with dinner at a burger place nearby, to compare with American burgers! They were pretty similar, but the beet-like pickles and homemade mayo definitely gave the burger a Eurasian vibe.
We took the metro to get home, and I think it was the cleanest, prettiest metro I have ever seen. There were beautiful tile walls, stained glass, and mosaics in some places. The station architecture had arches and curved walls, and the train was tidy and neat. Nikhil and I couldn't believe it was a subway!
I am excited for the adventure to continue tomorrow!
Do svidaniya (good bye),
Beautiful snow this morning! It snowed a fresh layer of powder all day. Should be great for skiing tomorrow...
The traditional Kazakh orchestra. The instrument on the very left is the dombra, and the one to it's right is the kobyz. I loved the dombra!
Stained glass. In a metro station. Beautiful! The letters under the apple tree spell Almaty. (The symbol of the city is the apple because of the meaning of the city's name in Kazakh)
Kazakh train. Choo Choo!
I am a junior studying AeroAstro at MIT. I love rockets, airplanes, birds, and anything that flies! In my free time, I enjoy crocheting, solving sudoku puzzles, and reading. I have been learning Russian for about two years, and I'm so excited to visit Kazakhstan and learn about the beautiful country and culture!