This past week has had many ups and downs. Mushroom picking was great. I came home with a basket of false morels and made another delicious stroganoff:
It was a short week, but full of long days. I had softball two of the days and stayed to invigilate an IB exam until 6:30. On Wednesday, I had the terrible news that more of the students in my higher level class were part of the cheating that occurred when the substitute was there. In the end, the majority of the class will probably end up suspended. Future exams were taken and copied - on the photocopier no less - and distributed to most of the class. As these were the students that I had put the must blind trust in, I'm feeling especially betrayed.
However, there has been plenty of distraction on my two days off to help take my mind off of them. I went for a really long walk across the city to pick up my summer plane tickets. Into Bangkok July 1st, flying out August 8th. Perhaps a trip to Bali, Cambodia, Loas and Vietnam mixed in there.
Yesterday, May 9th, is celebrated as Victory Day, the day the Germans capitulated to the Allied Forces. Russia lost more troops than any other country, half of the total number of casualties, including those who died in the concentration camps. Moscow is home to the largest Victory Day celebrations across Europe.
I started the day with some friends. We headed out early to try and see the tanks parading down Tverskaya. We just missed them, but stuck around long enough to see them on their return. It was awe inspiring and simultaneously terrifying.
First marching soldiers (there were soldiers and police everywhere!)
Then there was an air show:
Finally the tank parade. These could have spelled disaster to any number of US cities during the cold war:
So many young men (boys) out marching or driving tanks:
And so much of my favorite, air pollution:
Following the show, I went down to Victory Park with my friend Nat. She brought carnations to give to Veterans. The whole experience there was a mixture of somber and moving to wholly inappropriate. Seeing the veterans, all quite old, or the widows walking around with their medals and arms full of flowers was incredible. But you're having to look past all the wig, angel wings and cotton candy stands.
We walked from Victory Park back to Kievskaya where we got on a boat to that my school arranged so that we could watch the fireworks from the Moscow River. That was great too. It's been a long time since I've seen fireworks. Gorgeous.