Monday, December 3, 2012

All Russia, all the time

After my mishap the other day, I finally made it to the post office to buy stamps for my postcards (for those of you who provided addresses: get excited) and have successfully sent mail! I feel that you'd be missing out on some serious Russian culture if I didn't share my experience with you, so here it is: going to Pochta Rossii, the Russian Post Office, is like being in an American DMV (most of you will understand exactly what that means).  I got there and took my place in line, which turned into a 40min wait. To buy stamps.  During this lovely wait, I got to sit next to a guy who looked like he wanted to shoot everyone, listen to a babushka arguing with the woman helping her ("Girl, can't you move any faster? I have things to do. This is taking forever. Blah blah." "Calm down." "Blah blah some service!" "That's right, what service!" etc etc), and have more people come in and ask who was last in line.  Then some jerk and his wife came in, looked at all of us waiting, and cut right to the front. I WAS NEXT, so I said excuse me sir you aren't next. He tried to tell me he only needed an envelope, to which I replied "That's nice," and then he ignored me, repeated himself, and ignored my "Yeah? And what? I only need stamps!" I wanted to say rude things to him, but the next window opened up so I just got my stupid stamps and left.

Since this blog has been more about my inane thoughts than about the culture here, I'll give you some more Russianess in this one.  This weekend, a friend of mine threw a get together to celebrate her birthday.  A big difference between Russians and Americans is that while Americans expect to just get things from people on their birthdays, Russians give things to people (ex. Americans expect to get cake on their bdays, Russians expect to give cake on their bdays).  So for her birthday, Nina had a few of us to her apartment and fed us a bunch of food as we enjoyed each others' company and played games.  For the party, we prepared 3 different salads (1 with lettuce/tomatoes/peppers/cucumbers etc, 1 mayonaise-y kind with fish/eggs/onions/cucumbers, and 1 less mayonaise-y kind with fish/avocado/I forget what else), chicken, mashed potatoes, sandwiches, oranges, grapes, peanuts, and 3 cakes. And sparkling wine and juice and tea.  In general, if a Russian invites you to his/her house, he/she will feed you.  I love this tradition and definitely plan to participate/already have snacks in my house specifically for if guests come over.

I'm so used to living here that I forget I'm still a tourist and haven't seen most things yet. I remembered this when someone brought a visiting Brit to Nina's, and so I decided to join him for sightseeing on Sunday (after finally buying some winter boots. Significant life improvement).  After passing it 3 times and seeing a monkey wearing a fur coat sitting on a motorcycle (I can't make these things up), we made it to the Cosmonaut museum! This was super cool and reminded me that I need to get to more museums while I have the opportunity to live in this amazing city. 

Aside from my new-found touristness, I still happen to be a teacher and had the most rewarding moment of my very short career the other day.  At the beginning of our session, my student told me she'd had to write a letter at work to a company her office deals with.  She read it to me and asked about several things she wasn't sure about, but in each case she made the right choice. The last thing she asked about had to do with articles: "Should I have said 'We received the Invoice #12345, or we received an Invoice #12345, or we received Invoice #12345?" I said no article, she exclaimed "I AM A GENIUS!!" because that's what she'd done.  Everything we've been working on over the last month was at play in that letter, and she got it all right! It's clicking! We high-fived, and I finally felt like a good teacher. Also, sidenote, the twins with the pigheaded father who detests drawing from the last post had them switched to a male teacher, and they are a nightmare for him as well. So it wasn't just me, which is nice to have validated.  Th-th-that's all, folks!

No comments:

Post a Comment