Saturday, January 31

I'm so excited!

And I just can't hide it, I'm about to lose control... oh, wait, I'm too much of a control freak to do that. Nonetheless I am excited.

Today's picture of the day count: 304. That means 61 days until the big 3-0 (finally, I'll be the age I feel). This also happens to fall right at the beginning of spring break. And I'm going to celebrate it with great friends! My sister is coming from Atlanta, Sha and Minnie and maybe Joy! (fingers crossed) are coming from SF!!!, and Erin and I will be traveling from here. We'll start in Rome and then head off for a week to a house we've rented a house in Tuscany. A week of food, wine and wonderful women. Bring it on!

Also, I'm also excited that I'll likely be getting the mohawk I've been dreaming about since I was 18 ("that's been your lifelong dream? That's pretty pathetic, Ms. S" "No, it's only been my half-life dream :-P"). Over the last 2 days the students raised over $1,000. A third of the way to the goal. However, I've been told it's "really not fair to the other teachers, because we think you'll rock (or is it rawk!) a mohawk." Aww, thanks kids. Here's a student mock-up:

Tuesday, January 27

Hair today, gone tomorrow?

Well, my Thai Challenge group travels to Thailand in just over 2 weeks. We're still short of our fundraising goal. About $2,500 short. So the other 2 chaperones and I told the students: "You raise $3,000 over the next 2 weeks and Ms. S (that's me) will get a mohawk, Bree (remember her from February break last year) will shave her head, and Ms. T will dye her hair tutti-frutti."

I'll let you know how it progresses...

Ballet, again

It has been almost 10 years since my last ballet class. Correction, it HAD been ten years. Until today. I took a ballet class with someone who trained/danced with the Moscow State Conservatory! I got their early and Olga took the time to start early with me doing floor work. Sit-ups, stretching. My legs used to go out sideways from my hips, but not anymore.

Then, we had class with 4 other people, one of whom was a student from my school. It was great. It hurt, but was great. And they asked me to start learning a dance they've been working on for months, because they think I'm strong enough to pick it up! Go me.

Thursday, January 22

Winter Wonderland

Remember how last year, I went even further north for February break to have real winter. Remember? Here's me with snow crab to prove it:

Well, no need this year. As it's been cold and snowy ever since I returned. Heck, even before I left it was -10 C. It's been very pleasant as it hasn't actually been that cold, more like -3 ish, which is bad in a way because during the day it warms up, the snow starts to melt and then refreezes making it icy. But I'm loving the winter.

Sunday I went and saw the Nutcracker! Did you know they show it year-round here?? In the middle of the performance I actually turned around behind me, reached across my friend Bree to hit the man sitting next to her. That's right, I hit a stranger. And no, I don't mean hit on. He wouldn't stop talking. Even after being asked in Russian (by native speakers) to stop. So I smacked his leg and made the "sssshhhh" noise. Yep, that's me. Irritate me enough at the theater and I will hit you.

Here I am before the show (not yet irritated):

Saturday, January 17

A monolgue to the Grade 11s

"Raise your hand if you have a faceb00k page."

80% of hands raise including myself, the assistant principal and the principal. Horrified gasps from students are heard.

"Raise your hand if you have a friend with a faceb00k page."

100% of hands raised.

"Now as some of you noted, I have an account. And while I was on winter vacation I spent some time looking around, which is the only time that I really have to do such a thing. Unlike you, whom I see checking your wall and updating in between classes. Heck, some of you do it even during class... not my class of course, I'd kill you.

However, as I was looking around I saw several of you in photos. All it takes is for me to be a friend of one of your friends. And even if you have your account set to "only my friends can see" as soon as you tag one of my friends in a photo, I get to see all the photos in that album.

I've seen you at clubs, smoking, drinking, showing off champagne bottles covered in corsets. At these clubs there are often women dancing in their underwear and for some reason you take photos of these women and put it on your faceb00k account.

Now, I understand that we live in Russia, where the legal age for drinking and smoking is 18 and only rarely enforced. Fine. Do what you want in your own time! But don't put photos on faceb00k. And here's why. Those colleges that you're applying to, the ones with thousands of applicants. They need someway to make a final decision. And so they'll go to faceb00k or other such places. And if all they see is that you're a party kid, do you really think they want you representing their university?"

I think this was the first assembly that held all the students' attention. And I've gotten some great feed back such as:

"Ms. S, I never knew that stuff. I've updated my profile."

"Ms. S, you know you were right. I realized I had added these people that I met at a conference and then I was looking at their friends and one of them had MY FACE as their profile picture."

"Ms. S, some of us are getting together to take pictures of us studying for math to add to our profiles." That, obviously, was my favorite.

Tuesday, January 13

Yep, that's it

Most of the people who read this have already been updated in person, but for the other 4 of you out there, the relationship with Za German is now officially over. All done quite amicably. No tears were shed. In the end, really, if I can be honest or blunt, and when have I ever been one to put things delicately?! Our relationship was predominately a physical one. And while that's fun, a whole lot of orgasms, err fun, it's not really sustainable. Our phone conversations were an average of 6 minutes, our emails about the weather. I need discourse and dialogue.

So here I am single again. However as my mom said, "There are plenty of fish in the sea. Just not the sea you live in." Right, and I'm here one more year. Thanks for the reminder, mom.

In other news, I still love my job. I'm getting ready to go to Thailand in February with 9 students to build a dormitory. Ooh, email must be sent!

And speaking of sent emails, I just sent one off to Oregon State where I've just applied for their online masters program in Mathematics Education. Higher education, here I come... again.

Thursday, January 8

Happy New Year

Wow, so much has happened since my last post. So Natasha and I made it out on the Tuesday flight. My parents were waiting for us and the last 2 weeks flew by in a blur of food and travel.

And now I'm back. I reviewed my last few posts and it's funny looking down at "Our Last Day Together" I've returned and am thinking, was that really it? Seems like it could be. After returning home from the missed flight Za German and I talked on the phone. And then he said, "When you get back, we should talk." Uh-oh, that's never good. We couldn't just leave it there, so we talked a bit more. What will happen when he leaves in February? Do we really like each other enough to go for long distance? Or do we just get along so well because we're in Moscow? Even though it hurt at the time, I've been thinking about it a lot and decided he's right. I hadn't really considered how it would be outside of Moscow. Our conversations don't last very long on the phone or via email, so how could we possibly keep a long distance relationship going. Besides that, I honestly don't know how well we really would get along outside of Moscow. And there have been no tears through all of this consideration. Yet another reason I know he's right. But looks like the actual conversation won't get to happen until Saturday or Sunday. So, stay tuned and in the meantime I hope to be back with pictures from Natasha's and my (what is the grammatically correct way to say that?) US adventure.

And I'm almost 30 people, 84 days away. Time to find "the one," I can almost hear my marriage clock ticking.