There will be no more Saturday night dinners with Brianna and Janelle, on Wednesday they left. According to the school, this was completely unexpected, has left them in all sorts of difficulties and they have had to spend a lot of time dealing with the fall-out, including trips to the police. This makes their escape sound like an international version of Thelma and Louise. I haven’t heard the full story but I suspect they were just fed up, with the weather, with the work requirements, with the city. They headed for the airport while Peter, Ale and I were in our final methodology seminar on Wednesday morning.
This leaves the school 2 teachers short, and I was worried that my stable schedule would disappear out the window as I was once more called to travel from office to office, an itinerant educator. But my schedule for next week is pretty much the same as it has been for recent weeks, with just a couple of additions, I need to travel to the central office before my other lessons on Thursday and Friday.
I have also inherited a new group on Saturdays, again in the central office during the 3-hour period which I have been using to prepare my later lessons. I now need to have all my Saturday lessons prepared by the end of Friday, then on Saturday I need to travel to the centre for this new lesson, then back to Voroshilovskiy for my later lessons, which is a logistical headache for me! There’s no time to have lunch, to file the reports on my completed lesson, and I have 3 back-to-back lessons and when I come out of my third one, I am ushered out the door and the office immediately closes. I have to file my reports online at home, which is fine if my internet is working, problematic if it is not.
The result is that Tuesday is now the only day left where I can get any kind of lie-in, with no lessons or seminars until the afternoon. But I have 6 back-to-back lessons on Tuesday so the earlier I can get to Sovetskiy to prepare them, the better. Fortunately I am still owed a day off, the problem is when I take it, someone else is going to have to cover my lessons! There have been a few instances of confusion this week where I’ve been given incorrect information or not updated about something, but for the most part I’m keeping myself prepared and planning all my lessons as best I can, though it’s starting to involve thinking three or even four days ahead.
I was beat on Saturday night. Ale and Peter wanted to go out again with gangster Dima, but I cried off, and had an early night catching up on some much needed sleep (I’m told they went to the Alaska bar).
My Russian lessons continue on a one-to-one basis which is helping me improve – my problem is finding the time to do the homework exercises. On Friday I was shown numbers – I had learnt them before I came to Russia but had no idea with the pronunciation. In theory I can count up to anything – once you know hundred, thousand and million it’s just putting the pieces together. In practice I will probably forget little things, like putting the extra “dye-” syllable in 50, 60, 70, 80, or changing the ending of “one” and “two” for one hundred, two hundred, three hundred, one thousand etc.
We also looked at adjectives – they must agree with the noun, but I am familiar with that from German and French. So I can say something is old, new, native, dark blue, small, big, good or bad. Finally we practiced transcription – my spelling hasn’t been great but I am starting to remember the most common mistakes and sound changes.
So no, I don’t have the urge to break my contract and flee the country, not yet anyway. I fully intend to see out my year here, learn as much Russian as I can, get as much experience as I can, maybe save a bit of money while I’m doing so, and then think about what I’m going to do come next September.