Tuesday, October 30, 2012

So how's the weather?

The weather situation is crazy in all of my homes.  In my coastal CT home of Black Rock, there was a mandatory evacuation to prepare for the monster hurricane approaching.  In my mountainous MA home of Williams, there is flooding galore due to the aforementioned hurricane, and the college cancelled classes yesterday (though they're back on for today.  Ephs like to get down to business).  And, in my urban Moscow home, winter has arrived. Friday brought snow and rain, Saturday more snow, Sunday more snow, Monday snow (sensing a theme?), and today: hail.  Yes, it is still October here, but that doesn't mean anything to the weather.  It was a toasty 27F when I left my house at 1130am this morning, and it's only downhill from here.  Some of you may recall that I came to Moscow without a hat (and some of you undoubtedly rolled your eyes, thinking "Way to go, Witowski"); luckily, this situation was remedied the night before the first snow when Nicole lent me one of hers - the timing could not have been better.  However, I also left my big, "I bought these for St. Petersburg" winter boots behind (again, genius, right? It made sense at the time, they wouldn't fit in my luggage and the packing list lied saying that winter stuff would be cheap here!).  I do have boots, but I also discovered that they've sprung a few leaks and will need to be replaced.

Winter in Moscow is also starting to bring about some changes.  For one, my beloved fruit/vegetable stand is gone.  I'm still coping with this disaster.  The other random stands with clothes and food have started to disappear as well, except for the areas where you'll find five different stands run by independent babushki selling almost exactly the same things...the only reason any of us can think of for this is the fact that capitalism is still relatively new for them.  Another unfortunate change is that boots apparently get even more expensive than they already were as soon as the weather gets cold. Luckily our apartment is still toasty warm, though it no longer gets so hot that we need to open the windows.

Despite the cold, Moscow has continued to treat me well.  After spending all of Friday reading in my pjs as snow fell outside (Chien and I switched Monday/Friday classes this week, and it was lovely), I ventured out at night to meet some friends for karaoke.  I've never been to karaoke before, but it was super fun and I think a bit different than in the US: instead of chilling out at a bar with a bunch of random drunk strangers, you rent a small room with your friends and order snacks/drinks over a phone in the room.  Very classy and actually relaxing, in addition to being fun.  After work on Saturday I decided to go home and snuggle in bed after cooking and hanging out with Nicole at her apartment because Sunday, though a day off, was going to be busy.  Busy with what? Well calm down and wait for me to tell you, geez.  Sunday I woke up and found the ground covered in snow, so I made sure to dress warmly because I needed to venture out into it for: a brewery tour organized by EF for the native speakers (native English speakers who teach at EF, just to clarify)! I've always wanted to go on a brewery tour, and this definitely didn't disappoint. Beer, tour, beer. For free.  Dreams do come true.  Afterward a bunch of us went to play pool, then I cooked with Nicole and Rob (we like cooking. And eating.  It's a thing) before dragging myself home to fall into bed.

This week at school is also fun thanks to the fact that Halloween is tomorrow!! We're encouraged to dress in costume, the kids get candy, and my lessons have basically been centered around Halloween worksheets and movies (think It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! and Halloween - the Michael Myers version). I also enjoy getting to school the kids on Halloween traditions, as there is invariably 1 kid in each class who tells me that they go over holidays every year and know all of this.  Well, they didn't know about egging, toilet papering houses, checking candy because psychos like to poison it sometimes, or that you only go trick-or-treating to houses with the light on.  Take that, you smug adolescents.  Tell the American about Halloween I DON'T THINK SO.

I hope those of you in hurricane territory are staying safe, those of you in Russia are keeping warm, and those of you elsewhere are enjoying what you're doing.  Hugs and kisses!


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