Wednesday, October 3, 2012

It's about time!

...for what?! What is it about time for?? Many things, actually.  For one, it's about time for me to write another post! For another, it was about time for another native speaker to arrive at EF Mayakovskaya (where I work, remember? I shouldn't have to keep reminding you of these things!), so we'll start there.  This Sunday, we had an Irishman named Martin arrive in Moscow to start teaching with us at EF.  Like me, he had a weird start: after he arrived at Sheremetevo airport he was dropped off at my place to leave his luggage, and then I walked him to the metro and told him how many stops to wait before he got off to meet our director, Sarah.  Why all of this chaos? On Friday, Sarah was freaking out because the main office was being difficult about real estate agents and rent and things like that.  The end result was that Martin couldn't get into his apartment until Monday morning and needed to spend a night on Sarah's floor...but he left his luggage with me & Chien because his flat is in our neighborhood, and what sense did it make to lug it around Moscow? Everything went fine, we all helped to get him settled, and he started teaching on Tuesday (I was super jealous, they made me start teaching immediately. Humph). 

All of the other It's about time!s relate to teaching as well.  One is that I finally completed the 40hr online component of my TEFL/TESL/TESOL certification course! This means that I'm even MORE qualified to teach, and that I get a fancy, upgraded 100hr certificate (up until now, I only had a 60hr one.  Lame).  Another is that I realized that I am overworked and underpaid.  6 days a week?! Madness.  Paid only for the time I teach and not for the time I have to spend at the office while I wait for classes to start and end etc? Not cool.  But, alas, I didn't expect my first job to be glamorous; I'm just happy to have found full-time employment in my country of choice and within 2 months of graduating.  Thank you, Williams, for your great education and even greater network. 

By far the most interesting It's about time!, though,  is that my difficult teens finally figured out that I know Russian.  This must've taken some research on their part, because one girl asked me toward the beginning of class whether I'd studied in St. Petersburg.  I decided to go with the truth and said yes, I had. A little later they started trying (amongst themselves, in Russian) to put the pieces together: first they asked how long I'd been here.  3 weeks, I answered.  This threw them off a little, as some decided there was no way I could know Russian after 3 weeks...but one remembered that I had studied in Petersburg, so another asked "3 weeks in Russia, or 3 weeks in Moscow?" When I told him 3 weeks in Moscow, he asked how long in Russia? I added the 3 weeks to my previous 5 months, and to sound even more intimidating said 7 months altogether.  Again, in Russian to one another, "Yeah, but that's only 7 months.  How much could she possibly understand after 7 months?" After a little deliberation, they decided to flat out ask me whether I know Russian.  I looked at each of them for a moment and then, with a mischievous look, revealed that I'd studied Russian for 4 years.  "What words do you know?" "All of the words." This left my 5 rowdy Russian teenagers in silence (which you'd know is quite miraculous if you've ever worked with teens).  Once they slowly came out of their stupor they realized that, oh shit, she's understood everything we've said all semester. "Oh my God, I wonder if she understood when I called her a bitch earlier." "Shh don't say that word, she understands you!!" I originally told them I didn't speak Russian in order to get them to use only English, and so that they wouldn't try to get me to explain things in Russian (this is forbidden at EF.  English only!).  However, this just caused them to speak in Russian to each other and basically ignore me (the result is different with every group; it works really well with some).  I'm surprised they didn't figure it out sooner, as I would occasionally slip up and respond when they asked me something in Russian.  But, there it is: they figured it out, and proceeded to act like they should have all semester. 

It was also about time for me to do something other than work, eat, and sleep, so I decided to go out with some friends to see the super cool laser show they had on Red Square one night and in Gorky Park on another.  We missed the Gorky Park one since we work so late, but it was still nice to walk and talk and socialize outside of the office.  It may not be much, but its a start! And now it's about time for me to wrap this up.  As always, thank you for reading! Also, leave comments or Facebook or Skype or email me! As great as this adventure is, I do still miss everyone and would love to hear about your adventures as well...whether they're big or small :)

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