I will try and keep this short because I have lessons to prepare.
I had my Russian lesson today with Vladimir, a silver-haired bearded Russian teacher. He advised us that the name “Vladimir” means “possessor of the world” – that explains a lot Mr Putin! There were four of us in the class but only two of us participated because it was a very basic lesson, just covering Russian sounds (and even my curtailed attempts at learning Russian got that far).
After the lesson I tried to chase up my schedule. I was told next week’s schedule would be emailed to us this afternoon, but we had no more lessons scheduled before Monday when the new one takes effect. I was quite happy with this – it was still only 11am so I had the bulk of 3 days off. I returned home to rest, intending to make plans with Alessandro to explore the city over the weekend.
Then I got a phone call from one of the satellite offices to remind me of the two lessons I am teaching there tomorrow! I suspect having to change all my plans in an instant may be a repeating feature of my time here…
My immediate worry was how do I get to this office on a Saturday morning? A little bit of internet research revealed it was right on the main street, about the same distance from my apartment as the main school office (a 20 minute walk) but in the opposite direction. As I was going out and about to grab some household kit anyway, I decided to reconnoitre the location to save time wandering around in the morning (I did a little bit of wandering trying to find the main office for my Russian lesson; I had the right area but could not remember the specific location!).
It was an interesting walk, there was a high bridge over what appeared to be an empty valley, more statues and malls, and I passed my first MacDonalds. Happily my Maps app was working on my tablet (for some reason it never worked in London when I was not online) so I was able to zero in on the location, I walked round the block twice before I found it, the office is in rooms on the 2nd floor of an office block so there was no school branding outside the building – at least not at ground level!
I returned home to deal with the twin challenges of making a meal and preparing my lessons. A simple pasta sauce sounds simple enough but the cooking instructions were all in Russian and I had to seek help. We have been advised not to drink the water in Volgograd unfiltered – I don’t know if that includes boiling and rinsing pasta but I took the risk. I hope I am still alive to write this blog tomorrow!