First snow, October 15th, I believe.
Today. It only stuck to a couple of branches, despite the fact that it was falling for hours.
I suppose there is some catching up to do. The highlight of my life since Canadian Thanksgiving was probably the company hosted booze cruise along the Moscow River last Saturday, in celebration of the company's 16 years in Russia. The food was delicious, the views were amazing, and the company (the people, not the entity of employment) was fantastic. Here are a few pictures documenting the event:
Coming up on Moscow State University!
Jon Tucker, Katie, and I
What building is this?!
Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Obviously, Stalin ordered it destroyed in 1931 and originally planned for the site to build a monument of socialism (because they didn't have enough) called Palace of the Soviets. Long after funds ran out for that, in 1958, Nikita Khrushchev decided to go in the opposite direction and built(/dug) the world's largest open air swimming pool, known as the Moskva Pool. In 1995 it turned back into the world's tallest Orthodox church.
Katie and I, happy to be alive.
This is potentially our engagement photo.
Me towering over LL Director, Rob Jensky
The totally untapped bottle of vodka we found in the coat room after the rest of the alcohol ran out!
Eating cake with our hands. Classy.
Katie and Hannah
What a wonderful way to spend a Saturday evening! Afterward I wandered around with some people for awhile, looking for a bar. Then we were sitting in one, and I looked out the window and my roommate and his boyfriend were strolling past! What a strange coincidence. Of course I ran out to say hi. Once the metro was about to shut down, this particular group of people decided they wanted to go home, but as I walked with them to the metro stop, in a magnificent stroke of luck and timing, Polly was just arriving to meet up with us. So she and I went to a packed club with loud music for a few hours, then took a cab back to my apartment around 3:30 am. I was surprised to discover that it's only about 1000 rubles (~$30) from the center to Mytishchi, and that was without trying to haggle with the driver. And he didn't even charge extra for the time he spent driving around trying to figure out how to cross the creek in Mytishchi to get to my building. I think I spent Sunday sleeping, and generally not getting out of bed. The boots I wore are comfortable for... oh, I dunno... 8 hours, max. 13 was pretty bad.
The week came and went, like they all do. I enjoy my job more and more as time goes on, as I learn more techniques and games and activities, as I get to know my students more. This is a great opportunity to learn about what I want and enjoy. Who knew I would enjoy teaching? Who knew I would enjoy teaching teenagers so much? It's very cool. It's also exhausting, but it gives me something to really look forward to on my days off. Like, Fridays I usually spend relaxing alone, and Saturdays doing something more social. I have a new addition to my Saturday schedule: an individual lesson with a beginning level 7 year old girl. I had my first meeting with her last weekend, and basically tried to determine where to begin in the book with her. And considering I just flipped through the book and asked if she knew what things were, or if she had certain things, it was a lot of fun, and she enjoyed it and that's what's important. She is adorable, and very sweet, and I think it's going to be great to have her as a student.
And on Sundays, I go to church? A few weeks ago, Katie told me she found a Catholic church in Moscow that has an English mass at 3 pm on Sundays. She asked if I wanted to go with her, and of course I said yes. So two Sundays ago, we set off for the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Immaculate Conception (that is quite a title!). We arrived a couple of minutes late and hurried in and sat down. Fortunately it hadn't started yet. A minute later, the priest walked to the front of the room and started speaking. Spanish. Katie and I exchanged the most baffled looks one could imagine, but decided that we had come all this way, and God would know our intentions. Fortunately I had Katie, a life-long Catholic, to model my actions after (stand up, sit down, kneel on some uncomfortable piece of wood, shake hands with people, etc), so I didn't come off as a complete buffoon. She was relieved that the service seemed to be identical to those in North America.
Oy. That's enough for now. Tomorrow I have my second lesson with the 7 year old, and then Katie and I are going to a giant shopping mall in hopes of finding her a winter coat. I'm just excited to get out of the house!