My blog posts seem to generally follow 3 templates. There are the “Isn’t life weird in Russia” posts, there are the “Being a teacher is cool” posts, and there are the “this is what I did today” posts. My intention is to have more of the first two and try to limit the third, but ultimately if you want to know what life is really like as a foreigner in Volgograd, you need to know a bit about my day to day life, the boring stuff.
Anyway, today I finally moved into Jorge’s old room. It is smaller, it doesn’t have the balcony with the view of the Volga, it lacks desk space and shelf space, and I can’t find the remote control for the A/C, but it has a bed, an actual bed.
Earlier I went shopping at SuperMan with Ale, he is just getting round to purchasing some essentials for his own flat, now we have both had our Russian bank accounts set up and received our mid-month advance (my first substantial wage in 10 months!). He said I was a great person to go shopping with, I was making suggestions of things I had found useful to buy and reminding him that he needed them! He came away with a chopping board, a new pan, a pillow and some Tupperware. I think I may be tempted to get myself an extra pillow too.
I also finally found my pop-up toaster in a small electrical goods shop. This isn’t like a spacious mall shop, this is the kind of shop you might find in a back street in Brixton, with boxed products all stacked on top of each other and mixed together and barely room for 2 people in the shop at a time. But I spotted some toasters, high on the shelves and got one for the equivalent of £16. Now I can get in some bread and marmalade and I’m sorted.
I bought some peppers too – again, the Dacha-people as I call them, the old people in the outdoor market, had bigger, more colourful and shinier peppers than the supermarket, which only had shrivelled yellowy green ones, with the odd shrunken red pepper which was actually half-purple.
I made fajitas in my new pan – the only difference from the way I cook them at home is that I used pre-cooked chicken pieces from Sainsburys which aren’t available here, so I had to pre-cook the chicken myself in a tray in the oven. This time, they tasted exactly like they taste at home, and I was using Russian-bought tortillas. They smelled a bit vinegary when I heated them, but tasted fine. I might try the corn ones next time, and I’ve run out of the salsa I brought with me so I will need to try the Russian version. My real problems will start when I run out of the Old El Paso flavour sachets I brought with me!
Oh, I also found some genuine original Tabasco Sauce in the aisles of the supermarket in SuperMan. I was very excited about that, it is a vital part of my spicy chicken casserole recipe! Unfortunately at the checkout, the scanner didn’t recognise the barcode, and the woman at the checkout decided she couldn’t sell it to me if it wasn’t in the system. I had to wistfully watch her put it to one side beside her cash register as she scanned through my other purchases.
It looks like my washing machine isn’t working, I’ve been trying to run a cycle for days now without success, it just drains the powder tray, dumps the soapy water on my clothes, then stops. With clothes rapidly running out I resorted to hand-washing my socks in the bathtub last night! They still aren’t dry but at least they don’t smell of feet any more. When I set off into the unknown one of the visions I had was hand-washing my laundry every weekend so I was at least mentally prepared for this eventuality, but hopefully the school will fix up my washing machine and get it to do its job again before long.
So here I am eatng fajitas, drinking Pepsi with ice, watching Ray Donovan on my computer and keeping an eye on the Newcastle score (oh dear, losing again…). It’s like I never left Bromley.