On Wednesday (last week) I was back at work and on Thursday I had a rare early morning trip to the Dzherzhinsky office. I arrived shortly before 9am and the office was still locked – fortunately the weather was a little warmer than at the weekend so I was not freezing outside the door. One of the managers did arrive soon after me but she was also surprised that the door was locked and after making a couple of phone calls, a little old lady with a key appeared from the other side of the street to let us in.
The lesson was straightforward and I had lots of time before my afternoon lessons back at Voroshilovskiy, so I decided to take a look in some of the buildings that I pass on the bus on the way to this office. The first one I checked out was a big store called OBI (Ovi) which turned out to be Russia’s version of B&Q or Homebase – you could buy tools, power tools, doors, bits of wood, building materials, screws, electric components, and even plants and garden equipment.
My next stop was the big mall, which had adverts on the side for both MacDonalds and KFC. There was a KFC inside but it was too early in the morning and I was able to resist. I was more interested by the big electronics shop, I was able to scope out the prices for microwaves and vacuum cleaners (both of which my home lacks) and see what other sort of gadgets were available – it had it all, tvs, radios, fridges, washing machines, kettles, toasters, air conditioning, heaters, phones, cameras and many other things. There wasn’t anything I felt like I needed immediately, but it is good to know that if I ever need something around the flat, I know where to get it.
On Friday I had another Russian lesson. Because I was in Volzhsky on Monday, I had missed the previous lesson (in fact the school called me to ask if I would be coming, 30 minutes after it was supposed to start). Keen not to fall behind in my studies, I went through the material I guessed would be covered in the missed lesson with my Russian-speaking friend. However it turned out that none of my fellow students had attended the lesson either – because no-one showed up it was cancelled! And on Friday, I was the only person to attend. With the advantage of having already looked through and worked on the material, I impressed the Russian teacher so much that he felt compelled to tell me I was his best student. I looked around the room at all the empty chairs and agreed. “Well, I am today…”