Monday, October 13, 2008

My Hood

Above: this is the dirt path that leads to my buidling. Mine is the brown one.

Above: this is the street behind my house that leads to church.
Above: this is the street behind my building. I sometimes walk down it at night because it is dark and there are no street lights around my building. This path is easiest because it's paved.
Above: this is the path leaving my building going toward the bus stop.
Above: once I get out of the alley, this is the dirt path to my apartment. I live in the third building which isn't visible from this photo =(
Above: once I walk through the park this is the little alley I pass behind to get to my house.

Above: after the alley, I walk through this park. The trees are pretty during the day. I caught it on a good day- normally there are lots of people here drinking and hanging out. It's strange to see in the day but at night it's somewhat comforting knowing that people are around. Otherwise it's dark and scary.

A Good Weekend & A New Job

T'was a good weekend indeed. Not fabulous but good. No matter what, life as a Russian intrigues me daily.

Saturday I met new Russian friends- well, they are more like employers. Well no, my clients really- Olya and Nikolai. They are such a handsome couple, they are the Russian version of Brangelina! Well saying that doesn't do them justice because I think Brad Pitt looks like a woman. I can't very well call them TomKat because Katie Holmes is not all that. Well just imagine the best looking Russian man married a gorgeous Russian woman. Yeah, that's them.

And now you're thinking- can you imagine their child? Yes, he's a precious doll. His name is Arseniy and he's my new student. He is 5 years old and just super cute. We will start our private lessons on Wednesday.

How I met them is the real story. They are the business partners of a dear friend of mine's friends. Yeah. So we agreed to do a preliminary meeting on Saturday. I was running 5 minutes late. I called Olya to let her know I’d be a few minutes late but her husband was already waiting for me. He called me and told me he was at the store across the street and would come by soon. I thought, gee, sounds like he has a car. I’ve only been fortunate enough to know two Russians with wheels.

Let me just clarify- he doesn’t just have wheels. This dude ROLLS HARD! I saw a killer midnight blue Mercedes pull-up near me. Just then my phone rang and it was Nikolai. He said I am in the blue car in front of you. I said, “The Mercedes?” as in ‘hell yes’. He said yes. Damn! I haven’t been in a car that nice in a hell of a long time. I felt like a bad ass again. And that feeling is not easy to come by for me, especially out here. We literally fly down the street and around the corner. I had to hold onto the OS bar and he laughed and told me not to be scared. I tried to assure him that I wasn’t- God forbid I lose my chance to ride in his fly ride again.

I half expect to pull up alongside an American suburban house or an Uptown high-rise. Nyet- it was a normal apartment building. Then I was certain we’d walk to the penthouse- wrong again. We went up the stairs and right around the corner- one of the first apartments. The inside was glorious- literally. There was lots of light and it was bright and airy. The floor had a tile mosaic in the center, it was beautiful. It was so modern and stylish that it reminded me of Aungy’s place in el D.F. Olya came to meet me and she was Demi Moore gorgeous. I was so surprised by how young and handsome this couple is! I was half expecting an older man and his wife. Nope- they are probably my peers. Sure enough around the corner came the cutest Russian version of the boy from Jerry Maguire. Seriously! The difference is that Arseniy is by far and away more precious!

I enjoyed 3 hours at their house. I had delicious tea and expensive candies. Yum! I definitely overate today- all day, except the nasty breakfast. I compensated for too long, hahaha. Fortunately we didn’t talk about price until nearly the end of my visit. I was worried that they would think it was too high and so I hoped that Nikolai would be gone when that part of the talk came. Ironically, he came home just in time for it. Neither he nor Olya flinched. I told them if they required no lesson plans of me then I would consider a lower price, otherwise I would charge per academic hour which is 45 minutes. Olya then said that she wanted me to come 3 times a week- yikes! That’s a lot! I will be so much closer to owning that killer fur!

I told her I had to go at 3pm because it was friend’s birthday party. They were gracious and let me go. She then said, “Nikolai will drive you wherever you need to go.” Too bad it wasn’t Globus =) I told them that I was going to the AH to get my bags first. They were fine with it.

I can’t lie; it was pretty surreal to be in Russia, with a hot Russian man driving me around in his Benzo. HAHA It was a good afternoon!

Sunday was the Thanksgiving holiday at church. Not Amerian Thanksgiving but a day of giving thanks to God. It was very cool to see all the children perform and adults too =)

I then meet up with Anya and Dasha for lunch. It was a fiasco getting there. I will start from the beginning. After church I walked to the bus stop with Natasha, Dima, Natasha and this lady who always sits with Natasha. Dima left us at the corner and said he was going with his brother in their car. The brother drove up to us and Dima jumped out of the car insisting that we come with them. They were going to drive us. I was like “hell yeah” until I saw that his mother got out of the backseat of the car and said that we should ride with her sons while she took the trolleybus. HELLO! Yeah right, there is no way that I’d bounce the mom from her seat just so I could chat with her hot son. Nope. I said no, in English hoping that they would just realize that we could all three ride in the backseat. That realization never came and I told Natasha to go with them and that I’d be fine on my own. I was kicking myself the whole way to the bus stop and while on the bus because I forgot my iPod. Talk about co-dependency, the way I need that iPod is ridiculous! Thanks again Dad, I love it!!!

Then I got to the grocery store and basically had a mini-meltdown. I put 90 rubles on my phone and it didn’t work. Then I got assaulted by some rude ass woman who literally with all four of her stomachs shoved me out of the way in line. I swear, one day I might just lose it and deck someone. Either in a line or on a bus- I’m telling you folks, pray that I keep my sanity. The colder it gets I get closer to the edge. I am SICK AND TIRED of being shoved around. I am not proud to say that I have shoved back and got some of my space back but it sucks!

Anyway I was pissed about that then some stupid worker took two cases of Red Bull out of my arms and yelled something about only buying one. Damn psycho chick! Don’t ‘F’ with me and my Red Bull- everyone in America knows that. Guess these crazy Russians are going hafta learn soon. There were 4-packs of Red bull on sale!!!!! The fact that they even made it to Vladimir blew my mind I was willing to pay $10 USD for four! Thank God that wasn’t necessary; the four packs were $2 USD. Andrew was going to flip- he and I walked around for an hour looking for them! We’ll use ‘em Tuesday and it’s going be a great day =)

That combined with my phone not working, getting thrashed in line really flipped my switch. Then I crossed the street to Anya’s house. I needed to call her to get into her building, but no- my phone still didn’t work. I hoofed back to the store and added 100 more rubles. Nothing. I was going to lose it. I was saying how I was sick of the mud, no sidewalks, and filth and not having anything convenient and how I missed my damn car. Yeah out loud in English- not yelling but definitely talking to myself. Thank God that just when I rounded the corner, I saw a teenage girl going into Anya’s building. Thank God she let me in. of course I went to the wrong apartment and rang the doorbell but no one answered. I was just going to turn around in a huff and leave when I thought I’d try my phone one more time. Sure enough- success, I got Anya. She even made lunch!!!

She had my absolute favorite eggplant with garlic and tomatoes. She makes a tomato sauce that I could drink it’s so delicious. It reminds me of the mild salsa at ChaCho’s. I would kill a small animal for ANYTHING from ChaCho’s!!! What was funnier is when Andrew and I were on the prowl for Red Bull, he said I would kill a person for a Red Bull. It was funny. Highly inappropriate but damn funny. That’s something only he, Tiez and I would laugh at. He and I shared some good laughs on our search and settled for Adrenaline. Anyway- back to lunch, Anya made delicious borscht!!! Then the to-die-for eggplant and her mom made meat pies. Then she also had the most delicious meat, potato and mushroom crock-pot dish. YUM!!! I stayed chatting and playing with Dasha for five hours! Her brother Igor also came by for a visit. He’s on his way to the Russian army. He’ll most likely end up in the Moscow area and be working with rockets. I jokingly told him not to point any toward America. We all laughed.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Return from Hiatus

Hey Folks. So I have been on hiatus, not self-imposed I assure you. Our internet use is closely monitored here at our school. We are only allow to use so many MB per month. Last month, we overused our internet so much so that we also tapped into our allottment for the month of October. This means that we were without internet for a few days. It is frustrating, trust me- as the internet is literally my only connection to you, my beloved family and friends in the U.S.

I am currently working on getting internet at my home, which has become like a part-time job. HA! Fortunately, I asked my friend's husband and he is currently helping me. I really and truly hope to post a real blog some day soon =)

For now, I will give you a abbreviated version. This week, Russia celebrated "Teacher's Day". My fabulous students decorated the board for me in class. It was super cute. I was running into class just 5 minutes before the lesson that I didn't even notice the board, HA!