Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

...in both Russia and my apartment! There's snow everywhere and it's snowing almost everyday, which is a lot more pleasant than it sounds.  I actually enjoy it, due in no small part to the fact that it adds a bit of brightness to an otherwise dreary Moscow.  The apartment is decorated with garland and some ornaments, and while we don't have room for a full-sized tree, I'm planning on getting a mini tree for the kitchen soon.  There has also been a lot of Christmas music going on at home, and most of the stores have decorations up both inside and out.  We even have a tree decorated at work! This is all very exciting. While we work during real Christmas, I plan to educate my students by showing A Christmas Story in class.  Because Orthodox Christmas isn't until January, our vacation falls from December 30-January 9.  Not too shabby, eh?

Also exciting is the fact that at long last, we are moving to our new school location next week.  Even more cause for joy is the 4 day vacation this gives us while things are transported; as someone who normally has 1 day a week off, I'm truly thrilled. However, when I announced this to my Saturday class they sensed my excitement and asked with long faces whether this made me happy.  While I am happy to have a day off, I realized that I actually would miss them and told them as much, to which they replied that I should write on their class blog...if only they knew that they were occasionally featured in mine (to check out what they've written, follow this link.The theme is English in Our Lives, and I'm super proud of them)!  As for my upcoming mini vacation, I foresee a lot of sleeping, slumber partying, and perhaps a trip to St. Petersburg to visit Jackie.

And now for a few life tidbits. One of my favorite parts about post-grad life is that I actually have time to read things, stay current, and do research if I so please without the pressure of classes and deadlines and pending unemployment weighing down upon me.  I've read several books and generally kept up with the news.  I've also spent a lot of time thinking about what it means to be foreign in Russia, what some major differences are between Russia and the US, and whether every foreigner walks around thinking about how they're foreign and wondering whether other people notice (spoiler alert: they don't unless you open your mouth).  This has led me to realize that I've been studying Russia(n) for so long (language, history, politics, literature, film, food, art, culture...I damn well earned my degree) that I have absolutely no idea what is general knowledge and what isn't.  For example, I thought it was common knowledge that Russia is no longer communist (and hasn't been since 1991. Please, for the love of God, read a book or even newspaper once in a while, guys).  Nor did I realize that most people are aware of the word babushka and know what borshch is.  This makes selecting things to tell those of you back home a serious challenge, so know that I'm doing my best and that if you want info about specific things you should ask in no uncertain terms.  On a related note, Jackie showed me this article earlier today and it does a really good job at touching upon some of the small differences that come together to build the dichotomy between American/Russian life - check it out!  


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