Sunday, September 30

Busy, busy, busy

I don't have time to post. It's Sunday at 7 and I still need to finish grading papers. However, I had an awesome weekend which included going to the director's apartment for a TGIF, great company and an awesome view of our school and looking out over Moscow from a 23rd floor (he only lives on 10, geez!)


Saturday morning I was up early to go mushroom foraging! I came home with 3 pounds of mushrooms. Stroganoff here I come!!!

Mushroom Harvest

There are some especially great photos in that set. Please go look at them all! And then come tell me that you love them ;)

Finally, last night was the big Gala that I won those tickets for.

On the way to the Gala

I really need to come back and write details so that I don't forget. But at the auction, the lowest item to go was a custom designed cocktail or evening gown for $8500 (yes, dollars, not rubles!) and the highest bid was an all expense paid trip for two to Beijing for the Olympics next summer for $28,500!

Tuesday, September 25


I'm in a vicious cycle of not sleeping well for a few nights and then sleeping for a long time the next. I think last night's sleep was aided by the g&t at Cyp. But last night's sleep was full of dreams. I don't remember much about the first one, other than I was in Atlanta running away from something. And then in a car, trying to get drive away from all these houses that were on fire. Then suddenly I was in the desert outside of Las Vegas with my family. There were huge cranes everywhere as they were removing tons of natural resources for construction. As we're running along, there were pieces of rock and big clumps of dirt falling on us. Then we turn a corner where people have parked and their cars have sunk into the ground, including my sister's jetta. Then she fell into a sink hole, but I was able to pull her out (must be all that swimming I've been doing).

Yes, the symbolism is not lost on me, but at least I slept.

Monday, September 24


That's "Soup" to all you non-Cyrillic readers ;) Tonight two other teachers and I went to this restaurant, Cyп. You guessed it they specialize in soup. For around $6, though that could be off due to the rapidly plummeting dollar you can get a trio of 3 different soups from an offering of around 20 choices and that's just the hot soups. They have around another 10 cold soups. M and I each tried 3 types while B just got 1 plus the quesadilla. M and I both preferred the Russian soups over the attempts at others. The quesadilla was actually quite good! And even with a gin and tonic - the first mixed drink I've had since being here, I walked out only $20 lighter.

Saturday, September 22


I've added lots of new photos from the past few days. Today several of us went to Moscow's honey festival. I never knew there were ~so~ many kinds of honey. Russians are very much into there honey and this festival goes on all month - every day! There were at least 100 stalls most with around 8 honeys to sample. I bought 2 varieties as well as some honey wine.

Honey, Bees are Dying for It.

I've also finally begun to sneak photos of women's shoes:


Also, it's full on fall here! We took a beautiful walk through Tsaryina Park on our way to the honey festival. It's tradition to get married on a Saturday early in the day and then spend most of the afternoon roaming the city with your wedding party having photos taken at all the land marks. The brides range from skanky to traditional to poufy. And I've got a few photos to share!

Mosckva Bride
Rainbow out my Window


create your own visited country map

I've visited only 8% of the world's countries. So many more to see! I wonder what percent of the area that is though, seeing as the USA, Russia and Canada take up so much of the map... And of course, I've only visited small parts of Russia and Canada.

Thursday, September 20

Written Therapy

I think writing last night's post helped. I finally slept through the night for the first time in two weeks. I even woke up 1 minute before the alarm. I was a bit sweaty as the weather has really warmed up, so under my down, even with the window open I was roasting. Yesterday it was 70! says it's currently 55 and the high will be 55??? However, it still feels nice and warm-ish.

Ok, off to Russian class. And then after school ultimate frisbee :)

Wednesday, September 19

Help me turn off my brain

Alternate Title: "Stupid head shut up and let me sleep, enjoy massages, watch Die Hard, teach my students without yelling at them and other every day tasks."

I'm feeling very much at a loss. I can't stop thinking about our break up; I still can't believe it really happened. He says he doesn't want to talk as it "just confuses us," which to me means it's confusing him because even though it took me two years, I finally made my mind up that he is the one I want. It just took breaking up for me to realize that. Clearly I'm not one who commits to things easily and the commitment I'm thinking about with him is the "death do us part" one.

And now I don't know quite what to do I: wait him out (in which case depending on how long it takes for him to decide to start talking to me I really might change my mind, ahem, again), continue to email and/or call him to try to change his mind (stalker). Clearly patience is not one of my virtues. I just wish I knew what was going on in his head, besides the fact that he still loves me but doesn't trust me not to change my mind again. Is he even thinking about me? It's these questions that keep me from concentrating on anything else.

This morning at 2 a.m. it was how would I get from Tokyo to the little village he's in. And when I got there, would he be happy to see me? Would he have another girlfriend?


And I don't know how to stop thinking about it. Any ideas? Maybe I should start producing Russian porn in my apartment.

Monday, September 17

Dance Class (and of course, a bit of food)

Alright, I've gone from no posts to 3 in one day

Our school has a kick ass wellness program. It seems like every day of the week there is some sort of activity. The swimming I've been doing (MWF mornings) is part of it as was last week's meditation. Today I took the dance class. The teacher was a Bolshoi ballerina. He's really good (looking) and a great dancer, in that very cocky way that only straight male ballerina's can be. I was hoping for ballet class, but instead we started with a belly dancing warm up and then did salsa, meringue, swing, the charleston, oh I forget the name, the one where you move your toes pointing in and out like in the 50s. We ended with a waltz. So peaceful and a bit of a work out. Yay!

Tonight I'm headed out to try an Ethiopian restaurant. And I got my order from the Mexican delivery. Unfortunately my cheese dip looks like a Velveta dip, but my corn tortillas look great!

I won?!

The PTO is hosting a Gala black-tie event on the 29th of September. We got an email indicating they would be raffling off a pair of tickets, so I entered, knowing I would never win. But then today in my inbox is this message:

Congratulation you won two tickets for the Gala the 29th of september!!!
I'll deliver the tickets during this week.
Please inform me of your guests full name asap!!
Thank you xxx xxxxx

Guest's full name? You mean like a date? I just broke up with my boyfriend, although even if we were still together, he wouldn't have been able to be my guest. But I don't know who I should ask...

Editting to Add: Ok, got it figured out. One of the lovely 3rd grade teachers, a British girl who spent the last 2 years in China and was just asking about whether she could wear a white ball gown to our x-mas party, will be joining me. I know I asked the perfect person, just read her response:

You won!!! are lucky. I would love to go! Fun!!!! Yipeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee..... you have made my morning!

The Girl who Cried Wolf

It's been a while since I posted as I haven't really been in the mood. I've been very in my own head. As I mentioned previously, I forced the boy into a corner. Throughout our whole relationship, I always had doubts as to whether he was "the one." And I always wondered how he could be so sure I was "the one" since I was his first love. I'd make comments out of my own insecurity about him needing to date other people, each comment hurting him :( But I still feel like you need to try everything before you decide.

However, this seems to long be my problem, that I love trying everything and even when I settle on an entree, I still think, "oh, yours looks better." Even when mine is better. (You knew it'd come to a food analogy, come on!)

However, in us actually breaking up, I have come to the realization that he is the one that I wanted. Of course, it's too late for that. All my indecision has led him to be unable to trust me. I don't blame him, I do change my mind ~a lot~. I mean this is my third career in 6 years and the, well, I've lost count, of city that I've lived in. However, I consider myself to be a trustworthy person. I've never cheated on him or any other boyfriend, never had an inclination too. However, I did emotionally cheat on him by never fully trusting "us" and never really getting to know the real him. And now he doesn't believe that I can committ. And I'm not sure if he wants me to prove that I can (I've got a plane ticket to Tokyo on hold right now) or if he wants me to just leave him alone with his own head and own life for a while.

Who knows, maybe he's right. Or maybe all the nagging in the back of my head telling me that he wasn't "the one" was right.

All I know is that it's really painful right now. And I can't spend the day crying (again). I'm going to the pool to swim off some nervous/anxious/mad at myself energy.

Thursday, September 13

Skype Rant

Skype has enabled me to talk with my mother for $0.02/minute and to the Boy, who's in Japan, for free. I like that, I like it a lot. Plus, the call quality is really good.

However, today, Skype is really pissing me off. Are my friends calling me off the hook? Noooo, it's berk353530 and ousous.said. They ask me to be their contact, they call me. I feel like I’m back on my parents AOL. Oh great! Andrew Sexy Man (for girls only) just asked me to be his contact.

So, friends, should you want to Skype me, make sure you notify me of what your user name is if it's something obscure, unlike my original firstname.lastname, otherwise I'm going to Deny&Block you. Oh, and if it appears that I'm "Unavailable" really I'm just avoiding the shparadises of the world.

"Skype - Take a Deep Breath" yeah, with which I will complain loudly to the whole world about you with.

Tuesday, September 11

My long term impact

A few days ago I wrote about the student who called me with homework questions and minnie commented:

its sort of sad and horrible to think about the reasons why your other school had such problems and the long term impact of that on everyone...

In addition to that the boy and I have been having long talks about our future. I can see myself doing this for a long time, traveling the globe going from international school to international school. However, the students at these schools are either rich and/or from parents with an education. They could (and do) have daily tutors to help them succeed. And if all else fails, their parents will just buy them a business - I have a student who already has her own line of clothing and another who is already a millionaire due to the unfortunate passing of his father.

The boy wants to go back to the states and public school, help the to fix the system. Contribute in a meaningful way. I've had nightmares the past few nights about being back in the system. Last night I was trying to protect my students from a gang shooting. My stress level was so high there, the teaching wasn't really teaching. But I definitely have the feeling of having sold out here. I'm certainly not experiencing the "real" Russia either.

Be the change you want to see in the world right...

Sunday, September 9


I've never been much into meditating. But a woman at school who has spent 17 years in India and will retire there is leading this meditation class on Monday's. I think I'm going to do it:

Kundalini Meditation Instructions

Stage 1: 15 minutes with music
Be loose and let you whole body shake, feeling the energies moving up from your feet . Let go everywhere and become the shaking. Your eyes may be open or closed.
|"Allow the shaking; don't do it. Stand silently, feel it coming and when you body starts trembling, help it but don't do it. Enjoy it, feel blissful about it, allow it, receive it, welcome it, but don't will it. If you force it will become an exercise, a bodily, physical exercise. Then the shaking will be there but just on the surface; it will not penetrate you. You will remain solid, stone-like, rock-like within. You will remain the manipulator, the doer, and the body will just be following. The body is not the question - you are the question."
"When I say shake, I mean your solidity, your rock-like being should shake to the very foundations so that it becomes liquid, fluid, melts, flows. And when the rock-like being becomes liquid, your body will follow. Then there is no shake, only shaking. Then nobody is doing it; it is simply happening. The the doer is not." Osho

Stage 2: 15 minutes with music
Dance...any way you feel, and the let the whole body move as it wishes.

Stage 3: 15 minutes with music
Close your eyes and be still, sitting or standing...witnessing whatever is happening inside and out.

Stage 4: 15 minutes in silence
Lay down, close your eyes and be whatsoever is happening, inside and out and beyond.

A Search for Asian Ingredients

Two teachers had told me about 2 Asian markets, so a group of 5 of us set out this morning to check them out. It was cold and rainy, ~ 8 C (46 F), but we still went on with it. I was wearing my rain coat, coupled with a sweater, scarf and hat and was fine, if a bit damp by my return. We found a fair number of Japanese ingredients, but these stores were nothing like the Asian markets of SF I'm used to. Where's my chili garlic sauce??? And why the hell does rice wine vinegar cost $12?!? And sesame oil was $8. Rice noodles, incredibly cheap back home and cheap to make I might add, $4 here. Holy shit! What am I going to do???

Looks like the cold and rain will be with us for tomorrow too. I might actually wear my snow pants for the walk to the shuttle since they're mostly water resistant and then I can change into dry clothes at school after my morning swim.

Thursday, September 6

Ring, ring


"Hi, Ms. S, it's me Margo. I just had a few question about the natural logarithm problems... I was doing fine until I got to those."

"Ok, I'm on the phone with my mom, let me cal you back."

Ten minutes later.

Ring, ring.


"Hi Margo, it's me Emily. Err, I mean Ms. S"

"Oh, hi. Ok, so on number 10..."

And we proceed to discuss her math homework for 10 minutes. Yes, I gave out my phone number to students, but only to my higher level class with strict instructions not to call past 9. But I love it, I'm so happy to have students who care enough to ask about problems that they don't understand. It's such a joy. And actually Margo and Ichi are both heading off on visa runs and have asked me for the assingments they'll be missing so maybe I should figure that out...

Monday, September 3

Pirates did not work!

Grumble. The other fake DVD I bought a few weeks ago is terrible. The quality is incredibly grainy and looks like it was made by a person holding a video camera in a theater. I guess that's what you get for $4. But I'm going to go through some serious movie watching withdraw if that's the best I get. I've seen other people's dvd's that have come out great. I guess I have to just keep trying.

Sigh. It'll be better once Wil is here with his laptop. Then we can just try before we buy. Then we won't know if it skips at the end, but at least we'll know quality.

You want a chicken?

On the walk from the metro station to my apartment building there are roughly 10 stalls that sell rotisserie chicken. Mind you, this is a walk that takes 5 minutes. Yes, that's right, I pass 2 a minute. So knowing I had left over taboulli to eat and wanting a fast dinner, I finally bought one. I went to the stand that had people at it and in my broken Russian said "I want that" while pointing. The guy says back to me in great English, "You want a chicken?" Ha. Yeah. So, I get a chicken and a piece of bread with cheese inside it. The chicken was moist and delicious and will feed me at least 4 times (same dinner tomorrow night, tortilla soup Wednesday night, hrm, but without tortillas...) The bread itself was good, but the cheese inside quite salty, so I think next time I'll just get the plain bread he offered me. All that for 160 r ~ $6.

Sunday, September 2

My First Borscht

I cooked a big pot of borscht tonight. So far, it's ok. I forgot to add yogurt (in place of sour cream) at the end. But it's healthy, full of veggies and made enough for lunch for the next two days, plus four more servings for the freezer, as well as a serving for my office mate.

I also made some tabouli. I shipped bulgar with me and there are loads of tomatoes at the rynoks (farmer's markets, of a sort, but they're there everyday and some are actually in buildings). I got 6 roma tomatoes for 9 rubles - roughly 40 cents - Friday! However, no mint to be seen. It was still delicous.

Yesterday, was "City Day." Basically the anniversary of the city. We were taken on a boat ride by the school and at the turn around point, near Red Square, some of us got off and walked home rather than enduring the traffic to be bussed back. Traffic was so horrendous because many streets were closed to auto traffic. We walked down the middle of Tveraskaya - a huge 9 lane street that leads to Red Square - on the way home. Tragically, I forgot my camera. Hopefully, I'll be able to get a few from one of the guys with us who was playing with his new camera. Here's a shot I took two weekends ago though:
Red Square from Tveraskaya