i have decided to leave a trail of song titles as my headers as i seem to be devoid of imagination when it comes to things like that. any trainspotters out there can try and work out where they came from...if you fancy, that is.
it's been a hectic week. lots happening and, thankfully, not all of it relating to my lack of prowess as an english-language-teacher-in-the-making. thursday was when it all kicked off - i was pickpocketed. which i dont feel was the biggest drama in the world. it seems, however, that everyone around me ís far more upset and shaken by it. go figure. they got my purse (with only one card and the equivalent of $40) and my ipod (ok that stung a little....) but i was so relieved that they didn't take my beloved fountain pens (which amusingly are worth multiples of what they actually took - oh the irony) that the rest didn't really matter all that much. i cancelled the card pretty easily and arranged for a new one to be issued. and the ipod. well it seems they are cheaper here than they were in duty free...so it all works out well. but the scary thing was how good the pickpockets were! they managed to get this stuff out my black-hole-of-calcutta bag. even i can't find stuff in there on a good day. i've become a little paranoid as a result, which is no bad thing.
i have finished with my elementary students. i was sad to see them go and scared shitless about my imcoming intermediate students who i start teaching tomorrow. i had my first progress report tutorial and the years at fsa put me in amazing stead - all that practice of writing self appraisals and having reviews. it wasn't bad at all. the good news is that i haven't flunked out.
so friday night was going out with some students and the rest of my classmates. it was a balmy evening so we sat outside at tables at some random "bistro" (in the russian sense of the word) and ate and drank and joked about. many toasts and much vodka before we all crawled home. it was fun. the students are so friendly and generous - sometimes it is a little overwhelming - it totally puts londoners to shame. but it really feels like summer is ending here and people are just trying to eek out the most from the last of it.
saturday was about shopping. the window sort. a few of us girls realised that we needed to start scoping out where we could get winter boots etc (every man and his dog are gearing up for the cold). i tell you, one wants for nothing here - except maybe for decent toilet paper and H&M - it's a little overpriced but not enough to scare you away. and they often have cooler/more directional stuff in the shops than you can find elsewhere. i actually think shopping here could be a very dangerous thing. but i was good. very good. we walked across the red square a few times getting from a-b and goosebumbs got me every time. i still have to pinch myself from time to time and remind myself that i am here. twee i know. i shall get over it when the snow starts no doubt.
and i did manage to fit in some sightseeing of sorts. we headed to the All-Russia exhibition centre in the afternoon and walked about for hours. it is this massive park jam packed with stunning fountains and knockout soviet architecture in the shape of pavillions. and in amongst it anything goes. it was established between the thirties and the fifties when it has a few incarnations as an exposition centre celebrating the USSR in various aspects. the pavillions commemorate the republics ans regions within what was the USSR (georgia , karalia etc) and guilds of sorts - gold, oil, cosmonauts, butchers ,fisheries etc. it now functions as an exhibition centre and some of the pavillions have become makeshift shopping centres/market-type places. the park is huge, but heaving with people meeting, walking, talking, skating, blading, bmxing, making out, selling things (from kittens to clothes) and eating and drinking (food stalls were everywhere). and although the pavillions were a little rundown and sad (often derelict) the place was totally alive and it was being used - maybe not in the way that stalin had intended...but it was being used. they even had a shop selling shisha's - from turkey though and incredibly overpriced, but still... (i know i am a little obsessed). the person who took us there was an ex student. a total doll. but so proud of being a russian and everything that was russian. it was an amazing thing to see, especially as so many of his contemporaries are desperate to leave.
i am having trouble with uploading pics and hyperlinks on this...so for now here are some websites which will require a little copy-and-paste action.
so, that's it for now. i have homework to get cracking with and sneak in a quick trip to the market for supplies for the week.
keep well and keep in touch.