OK it has been a busy week so time for a few updates. Rather than try and pack in everything I have done into one entry, I’ll post a few over the next few days, so stay tuned!
Firstly, 23rd February is a holiday in Russia – a proper holiday, people don’t have to go to work. As it falls on a Thursday, the Friday is also taken as a holiday – but annoyingly, not the Saturday for those of us who work on Saturdays. For the previous several weeks I had been trying to secure Saturday 25th as a holiday so I could have 4 consecutive days, given my experience at New Year when I was only told when I would be needed the last working day before the holidays began. As it has turned out, by doing a couple of clubs the previous Sunday, I did not even have to take any of my vacation allocation to have the day off.
The clubs were fun – the first one was a Valentines themed club, with the same teacher who played the Grinch to my Santa Claus in our Christmas performances. There were 5 teenagers but they were happy to get into the spirit and it managed not to be embarrassing or twee. The second club was with some younger children on the theme of superheroes, including some I had never heard of called Winx (popular with the girls in the club). I felt on safer ground with Batman, Superman and Spider-Man.
Back to 23rd February, as I said in my last blog it is Men’s Day and traditionally women give men gifts. The women in the central office gave me a presentation bag containing a pen, a bookmark and a certificate, and the women in the Voroshilovskiy office bought the men a pie. I’m not big on pies, and frankly, this looked like a rather ordinary pie to me, but from the way everyone else reacted to it, this kind of pie is a big deal in Russia, a special luxury treat for very special occasions. I still think Greggs could knock one up for under a fiver, though.
All of this happened on 22nd February, because of course everyone is on holiday on 23rd. I had my own plans for the holiday with a guest arriving, so I would be spending the morning cleaning and tidying (long overdue!).