Because I’m working next Sunday, running the English Club, I have been allocated Tuesday as my day off. So today I didn’t have to worry about anything. Except an impromptu appointment arranged yesterday with Mikhail, the methodologist. I think he said 2.30… I did ask him to confirm it by email but nothing came. So I’d better go in just in case. No grand plans for today, then.
I took the strawberry-croissant-doughnut-thing with me and ate it on the way – it was actually really nice!
Mikhail was expecting me at the time I thought, and we had a full blown consultation. He was surprised I did not have my notebook and pen with me – I reminded him I just popped in on my day off! He asked about my problems settling in and offered to help with some of them – I explained the saga with our malfunctioning fridge was ongoing, but all they can do at the moment is try and find a technician who can sort it out quickly, which is taking time. I learned a bit more about what I will and won’t be able to get once I have access to the school network – it does not have all the lesson plans on, I still have to collect them from the library (ideally on a flash drive). And I explained the difficulty I was having getting lessons thrown on me with very short notice – for example tomorrow I have two classes which may or may not happen, but if they do I don’t know which lessons I’m meant to prepare for them. Mikhail helped me shake a few trees to get resolution on that one, and I walked out of the office with the books and lesson plans I (might) need.
We also went through a lesson plan with some advice and methodological techniques, most of which I would probably be at least trying to do anyway if I had proper preparation time. When I was training my biggest problem was time management, and it has already been a problem for me here. He suggested I observe a few more lessons from more experienced Russian teachers – the only ones I have seen so far were with the American, John, who has only been teaching here a year.
I also got my passport back, so that means I will feel a little less uncomfortable every time a Russian policeman looks at me!
I stopped in at the specialist food shop on my way home and stocked up on some things I have given up on finding in regular Russian supermarkets, like pepper, chopped tomatoes and oregano. I also returned to the market – a couple of days ago I explored a household goods store that had so many bits of plastic bric-a-brac I was sure they should have an ice cube mould somewhere. I hunted around again without joy, then the woman in the shop asked me… well I don’t know what she asked me because I don’t speak Russian. I tried to mime ice cube – dropping ice in a glass – she directed me to the mugs. I shook my head and mimed opening a freezer door and shivering… lo and behold she pointed at something behind her counter, which was exactly what I was looking for! Only 90 roubles! I bought two. Having just finished my first iced drink while typing this blog, I can confirm it was worth every rouble!
I also took a picture of a fountain, because people keep asking me for pictures.
And then I saw a man carrying 3 kittens in a small cage. They were the most beautiful little kittens. I think he was trying to sell them. He let me take a photograph.
Later on I went to the supermarket again and started getting more ambitious with my purchases. Fabric softener. Olive oil. Beef mince. In my mind I was already preparing a delicious Penne Ragu in my new home! Ice cream. I even found actual bagged ice! The main thing I went for was water, and I decided to get a large 5l bottle that I could use for cooking (I’m still well after the pasta but why take chances?). Then when I was at the checkout I realised I had come out without my wallet…
This is not something that is easy to mime when you are in front of a queue of people at a supermarket that is close to closing. The best I could manage was “nyet roubles.” The guy behind me in the queue saw the funny side and I think he understood better than the young checkout lady, because he said something explanatory in Russian. Unsure what to do I mumbled “I’ll put it back,” sheepishly pushed past the people behind me in the queue, and started loading my shopping back into the basket, before taking them all back to their places on the shelves.
Checking my pockets for loose change I found about 30 roubles in small coins, just enough to get the large bottle of water. I deliberately went back to the same till and tried to look as apologetic as I could for the checkout woman. I needn’t have worried, she was all smiles.