The phrase "nothing special" seems to be ingrained in Russians very early on in their English learning careers, right along side always responding with "fine, thanks" to the query "how are you?" It's kind of cute, but I work hard to elicit different answers out of them so they don't sound so much like robots.
I guess they can't be blamed, as my college Russian professor trained us in a similar fashion. Every day, regardless of whether she had already been in the classroom for 15 minutes or 15 seconds, she would walk out of the room, pause, then burst in yelling "доброе утро! как вы поживаете?" (good morning! how are you?) to which the entire class would uniformly respond with "спасибо, хорошо, а как вы?" (thanks, good, and you?). Then she would say "ооооочень хорошо, какие у вас вопросы сегодня?" (very good, what kind of questions do you have today?). This went on for two years (and I can only assume she continues doing it in the third year-- why stop a good thing?). She was a most excellent professor.
But I digress. Here are some of the highlights from my weekend:
- Dunkin' Donuts with Polly (although she appears to have absconded with the remaining donuts from our box of 6...)
- Normal shenanigans with Polly (walking around Moscow, sitting around Korolyov, sleeping in her bed and keeping her awake all night with my snoring/highly refined methods of anchoring myself against the wall and pushing her off the bed)
- A hilarious Sunday afternoon with beer and friends
- The Izmailovo open air market
Polly, Matt and I appear to have started a tradition of going out for a late lunch/early dinner on Sunday afternoons and eating American food. First it was TGI Fridays (which Matt and I have, to Polly's horror, referred to simply as "Fridays"), then the Starlite Diner (a chain of American-style diners here in Moscow-- not bad, but not altogether convincing. The oreo milkshake was worth it), and now we have christened the recently opened Chili's (they have Baltika 8 on tap, which is one beer the Russians did right) situated on новый арбат (new arbat). The main struggle for me at all of these places is to not get a hamburger every single time. I managed to get a salad yesterday, which made me proud (not because it's "healthy," but because it's variety), but it was a hard decision to make. I freaking love hamburgers.
One of my students (16 year old Ilya, previously photographed and in this blog a few posts back) started his very own blog. Mostly it's in Russian, but I did manage to persuade him to post at least once in English. It makes me laugh every time I read it (and I even get a nice little shout out. I tried to keep my editing to an absolute minimum, so as not to take away from the pure awesome of this kid's writing):
Speaking of teenagers, all of the kids are on a kind of "spring break" right now (this is a month before their 10 days of May holidays), so I am pretty jealous of them. It also means my classes are smaller than usual, which does, effectively, give me a little bit of a break.
Also, it's the end of March and we're still having mini blizzards here. I walked to work in the exact 15 minutes one occurred just last week. At least the Russians are also confused by this weather. It's nice to have some validation.