From the beginning:
I arrived in the afternoon on Friday, August 6th. Finding the LL-sent driver was seamless. Two others in the program had been on the same flight as me, so we all piled into the car with our luggage. Lucky me, being the only female, got to sit up front. He dropped us off one at a time (as if there is another way to do it), starting with the guy living in the south of Moscow (Domededovo is south of the city). That leg of the trip probably took a solid hour. One down, and I was able to throw my over-sized backpack into the backseat, and the driver stopped making fun of me for not having enough leg room. My understanding of Russian in minimal, but I caught that. Then we dropped off the next guy... I want to say that took another hour. By then our two bottles of water (between four people) had run out, and it was coming up 2.5 hours in the car in the extreme heat, extreme smoke, and extreme traffic of Friday afternoon. The traffic is a whole other beast. Another hour and a half later, with a stop at a money exchange place, I made it to my apartment.
Those ~4 hours I spent with the driver constituted the most Russian I've spoken since arriving here 16 days ago. Because of the pretty intense training (between 7 and 10 hours a day are spent at the central school in Moscow, add the two and a half hour commute and I'm gone almost the entire day), I've been in an English bubble. I'm often very frustrated with the training, and occasionally it's even made me regret coming here... but, I do try to keep a positive outlook and remind myself that it's almost over and is doing its job of preparing me well for the teaching I'll be doing in two weeks. It's also a relief to know that everything in my life will just be a lot more chill once my teaching starts. I don't remember the exact numbers, but I think I'll only be teaching 22 hours a week, and I won't have to commute into Moscow regularly. Score 1 for Rhea.
That's it for my initial backtracking. There's a lot more but I wouldn't know where to begin. I'll try to field questions as they come. And I'll try to throw in bits and pieces of my earlier experiences as I move forward.