Yup. No wi-fi. I’ve been here three weeks, and apart from a couple of email checks whenever I’ve managed to poach a signal, as well as some limited texting back and forth to Canada, my communication has been entirely face-to-face, perish the thought. Hopefully we will get it tomorrow, but I’m not holding my breath.
These days, my life has basically been work and nothing else. Apart from the Red Square visit, it’s basically been sleep and school (this is not helped by a massive cold that seems to be going around the teachers). I got tickets to Elton John for December – I’ve seen him before in my hometown, but due to some current political events I think this concert will be infinitely more interesting – and picking the tickets up gave me an excuse to explore the Taganskaya region, full of theatres and funky restaurants and opportunities for fun. I’m also heading to Kitay Gorod tonight, which should be fun.
Our kitchen got remodeled, turning it from something very basic into the best kitchen I’ve ever had. Still trying to learn Russian cooking instructions, but other than that I’m pretty much accustomed to Russian daily life. Like the nerd I am, I’ve been catching up with all my books and TV shows and movies. I’ve even been writing a bit, something I kind of forgot about in college. (Heh, present perfect continuous. I had to teach that yesterday.) Mostly it’s been recommendations from friends, stuff I heard about during my film study days, and whatever happens to be on my computer or e-reader. Father Ted, The Crying Game, Fritz the Cat and House of Cards have been some of my favourites, as well as the works of John Ajvide Lindqvist – you may know him from the great vampire novel/movie Let the Right One In (skip the American remake, the Swedish movie rocks). I especially recommend House of Cards, which is a fine American political drama with extraordinary talent both in front of and behind the camera. Kevin Spacey is utterly brilliant as the lead. Hopefully we’ll have Internet by the time the new TV seasons start.
Teaching is getting better, and I feel like I’m finding my feet. Sure, I still make mistakes, but the students seem to like me and I’m pretty much on track with the curriculum. We’ll see how it goes, but no matter how it turns out, I know that I have worked hard. The best part is definitely interacting with the students. I’ve had all age groups except the pre-teens, and there are advantages and disadvantages to each. The youngest kids are a lot of fun and really eager, the somewhat older children are just beginning to discover everything, and the teens are able to discuss more complex issues and, having learned much of the grammar, can do more fun activities in the curriculum. I’m especially enjoying my advanced teens, who are basically a group of class clowns and love to get into new topics. Their speaking exercises can turn quite hilarious. Furthermore, several of them are Beliebers, which marks the only time I will ever be cool for being Canadian. They were quite disappointed to learn that I didn’t know the Biebs, but when I told them I’d lived a short train ride from Stratford (Toronto), they were thrilled. Score one for Teacher.
The weather is starting to cool down as we settle into fall, and I’ve already put some gloves in my purse, just in case it gets that cold. Autumn is gorgeous in British Columbia, but I haven’t spent that season there since 2008. I have to admit I really am missing Canada. The limited contact with home hasn’t exactly been great. This week my cousin and his wife had a baby, and though I’m overjoyed for them, I do feel bad that I won’t get to meet him for months and months. Maybe this homesickness will dissipate once the Internet has returned. Either way, I don’t think I’m an ESL lifer. I’m going to make the most of this year, then re-evaluate. But right now, the hunch is more “adventure” than “career”. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to give it my all, of course. I really do enjoy it. And I love Russia. However – it took moving around the world to realize just how Canadian I am.