Happy birthday Tolyatti! Thanks for convincing me for a few seconds that the city was blowing up! You know, in most places they postpone fireworks when the weather is stormy.

Have any of you ever wondered why sometimes there's that car alarm that just keeps going off time and time again? Well, today I learned that it might be because the angry person whose car you parked behind is kicking it. I always wondered how Russians managed to get out of chaotic parking situations (the "parking lot" as we Americans know it is a rare concept here), and now I know.

It's June! Do you know what this means? It means that I get to change my calendar! I haven't actually done this in about 2 months, because somewhere in the middle of April I started feeling depressed looking at a grey picture full of slushy melty snow. I don't care if that's what April actually looks like, I didn't need to see that both on the street and on my wall. So, it's been on sunny, green, flowery May for quite a while now. I was skeptical that May would live up to its picture, but you know what? It really has. You would be amazed how fast plants can grow. In the past 2 months my dvor has literally gone from a wasteland to a jungle. Ok, not literally..but almost.

Another pretty crazy thing about June is that it means I'm going home soon. I'm here in Tol'yatti until June 19th, and then I'll be in Moscow until the 29th. I still have quite a lot to do though, so it hasn't sunk in yet. The university organized a summer camp for about 40 children whose parents either work at the university or are otherwise connected. It's supposed to last for 4 weeks, but I'm skipping town after 2.5...which I have to admit that I'm not particularly disappointed by. The camp was started last year, so it wasn't quite my idea. Today was the first day, and so far the kids are nice. This was the oldest group though, and I already knew about half of the group from the weekly lessons that I've been having with them, so that was helpful..particularly since those that I already know pretty well are the loud and easily sidetracked teenage boys. I know from experience that under no circumstances are D. and A. to sit next to each other, and I did have to confiscate a drawing. I also know from experience though that they're not bad kids, and they've gotten to be pretty talkative around me (which is really my main goal -- making people comfortable speaking English). Now to work on the remaining 6 scaredy cats.

Tomorrow will be my first day with the middle and youngest groups. The middle will be a big handful (I expect) -- fifteen 11-13 year-olds. Woohoo! I still haven't figured out what to do with them yet. Maybe we'll draw monsters or something. That could be fun.

Today I had my last class with the group of teachers that I've been working with this semester. It's sort of surprising, but my greatest hit as far as topics go was "rednecks". We devoted 3 lessons to it since everyone was so interested and today finished up by watching The Beverly Hillbillies. In case anyone's wondering, the closest translation in Russian would be деревенщина -- I know because that was our mission during one of our classes. I was kind of nervous about the teachers when I first started, but they've turned out to be some of the most fun.

Apart from all of the good that's happening, there has been a rather tragic development in the last week. My body has decided, without my permission, that it no longer has any desire to cook. This forces me to either scrounge or eat out quite a lot. I guess it hung in there for quite a while though; 9 months is respectable. On a somewhat related note, I had a dream involving Spaghetti O's yesterday. I was trying to explain the word "trashcan", and somehow in my mind holding up a can of Spaghetti O's and then adding муссор (trash) to it was a logical explanation. Trash...can....sort of? Apart from the obvious sign that I've been teaching too long, it made me miss one of my favorite easy meals. Yet another thing on the long list of items that they don't have in Russia.

Also, it's really hot here now. It's great.

About this blog

Good news: no more required disclaimer!
Bad news: I'm really lazy about posting when I'm not in Russia