Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Laguna Hills Mall

Today I walked down to Laguna Hills Mall for the third time since I have been here. The mall has suffered from the US economic downtown since I was last in Southern California two years ago. The book store has closed along with most of the outlets in the food court. The two Japanese restaurants that used to be in the mall are also closed or gone. Laguna Hills Mall did not get looted like the Vefa Center, but it is not looking a whole lot better.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Conspiracy Theory

It has been a couple of years since I have seen any American television programs. So I have been doing some catch up recently. A lot of US television programs remain rather insipid, but some are quite good. My current favorite television show is Jesse "The Body" Ventura's Conspiracy Theory. Today I watched him cover global warming, water theft, Wall Street, and of course the assassination of JFK.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

This Christmas I am back in the US for the first time in two years. Southern Orange County now seems very different from Kyrgyzstan, much more so than it did during the winter of 2008-2009. It is sometimes hard to believe that Bishkek is on the same planet as Southern California.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Now for some very good news

This is not exactly fresh news, but I have held off on blogging about it until now. I have been appointed as a Visiting Scholar in the History Department of the University of Ghana in Legon. I start teaching classes on 31 January 2011. I am very excited about this opportunity. It will be my first time in Africa.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Weather in Southern California

The weather in Southern California has been rainy and windy since I got here. I hope it gets sunny soon. Day after day of cloudy, cold and wet weather is not what I expected here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

In the US for the Holidays

Yesterday I flew Turkish Airlines from Bishkek to Istanbul and then to Chicago. I then flew to Los Angeles by American Airlines. The trip is extremely long and security in Istanbul is very tight. I had six passport checks during transit in Istanbul. But, some people only have to do five. If anybody in Southern California wants to see me between now and late January let me know.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Another Visit to the Volksrat

Yesterday I went with a research assistant to the Volksrat der Deutschen der Kyrgysischen Republik to return some books and let them know how our interviews in Kant and Ivanovka went. They were happy to see us and told me they wanted a copy of the book I was writing when it was finished. As always they were very friendly and their assistance is greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Interviews of Russian-Germans in Ivanovka

On Sunday I went with two research assistants to the village of Ivanovka (formerly Johannesdorf) to interview elderly Russian-Germans. We talked to two women and one man. Despite being founded as a German settlement by Mennonites from the Talas Valley, Ivanovka has almost no Germans or German influence left. We had to actively seek out the few remaining elderly Russian-Germans there. The town is now mostly Kyrgyz and Dungan.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Winter has arrived

The other day we had a massive snow storm here and the temperature dropped significantly. It has now stopped snowing, but it is still quite cold. The city is now covered in snow.