Well, today is April Fool's Day, and while I hope to avoid making a fool of myself today, I haven't been so lucky in the last few weeks.

Here's one interesting encounter that I had with the cafeteria lady earlier this week. I haven't been in the best of moods lately, and it makes me a bit distracted. Unfortunately, when I'm distracted my Russian skills seem to do the most suffering. I have this juice addiction that I've developed, and sometimes during the day I just gotta have my fix. Well, this was one such day.

When I went into the little school cafe (it sounds more picturesque than it is), I was the only person there. That's probably because it was closing, but someone left the door open, so a poor foreigner who doesn't always read signs came in anyway. The cash register lady was nice enough not to say anything and just gave me a wary look. She knew that I was after juice though, I go there almost every day. Anyway, today my typical boxed juice was out of stock, so I had to settle for a bottle. While trying to specify this to her, I completely forgot the word "bottle" and replaced it in my mind with "wine glass". Now, I'd just used this word correctly and without any special thought the day before. She looked confused, so I reminded her that I wanted the "Apple juice in the wine glass." She lifted her eyebrow and picked up a small box of apple juice and asked if that was what I wanted. Usually she gets my order right, so I wasn't sure what had gotten into her this day. I repeated "No, the apple juice in the wine glass! There, below that." To this she dryly asked "You mean the one in the bottle?" I sheepishly realized the errors of my way, said yes, paid, and mentally beat myself up over forgetting such an easy word for the rest of the day. БУТЫЛКА not БОКАЛ!

Also, just a random side note, the marshrutka driver the other day called this old woman crossing the street a "Kamikaze babushka." It made me smile.

Lately I've been losing things like crazy. I lost my eraser last week, and looked through all of the rooms on the  7th floor trying to find it, only to discover the next day that it had been in my purse the whole time. Then, on Friday (right in the middle of movie time) I realized that I had lost my key to the teacher's room. Or at least figured out that it wasn't in my pocket where it should have been. I left in the middle of the movie to tear apart my purse in hopes that it, like my eraser, was just hiding out there. No such luck. I figured that it had fallen out at home, and I managed to convince myself that I'd heard something that sounded a lot like a key falling out of my pocket, so I didn't stress too much...but I did take my coat just in case someone locked the door. At home I casually searched the floor around the couch that I use as my second dresser. Then I not so casually searched the floor everywhere in my apartment. I looked in the cracks in the couch, I shook out my blanket...nothing. Beyond those places, there just weren't many other logical places for a key to hide. I began to resign myself to the fact that it had probably fallen out on the marshrutka, and I was never going to see it again, and on Monday I was going to have to grovel in front of the supervisor and beg to be trusted with a new key (that I would even offer to pay for!). Russians are sort of weird about security. They really like it, and they really enforce certain things, but overall the system isn't generally very secure. I half expected that because I'd lost a key they'd change the locks on the teacher's lounge, and everyone would have to get new keys. Then they wouldn't give me a new one because I'd just lose it too. Or, on the other hand, I thought maybe she'd just whip open a drawer and give me a spare that she'd had lying around and like it was no big deal. I was hoping for the latter...but thought it would probably actually be more like the former. Then, later, after I'd completely given up, I was talking to a friend on Skype, when I happened to look at the foot of my bed. Sheets aren't fitted here, so things tend to get messed up pretty quickly. Do you know where that stupid key had been? It had managed to get tucked in between my sheet and my mattress. Sometimes I seriously think that there's some sort of little spirit that steals all of my things and puts them in ridiculous places.

My trip to Moscow couldn't come at a better time. Everything is muddy and nasty in Tolyatti (although I don't expect any better in Moscow), I've been struggling to come up with lesson topics, and I haven't been the best company ever. Luckily the sun is shining more, and Kendra and Ryan have promised to help cheer me up and get in some quality friend time, and I'm already feeling much better myself. Somewhere in there I'll have to take the GRE and do my final Russian interview for the CLEA, but those are minor details. 


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