29 January 2013

We moved into a castle/worst week ever

Oh my gosh. I don't even know where to start. My life has become far less magical and much more "real world"-ish in the last week. I guess it must have slipped my mind why I came to Moscow- to work.

So, for the last week and a half, Ben and I have been in an intensive week long program to crash course us in teaching English as a second language and a massive grammar review (which, unfortunately, was incredibly overwhelming and stressing). Having not even been in Russia for more than two and a half days, we were thrust into 12-hour work days filled with review and mock lessons and it was just awful. So stressful. It's tiring just typing this. We left at 9 in the morning and arrived home at 11 p. m. at night. Every day. I've never been more exhausted or more confused or more overwhelmed in my life.

Ugh. I can't even talk about it.

But now I'm on my third day of teaching and it's... okay. Russian culture is vastly different than Americans and there are some aspects of it that make it difficult to teach them. For instance, Russian children don't start school until they are seven, so their social skills are a little bit off. Russian culture also doesn't see any problems with cheating (another aspect left over from the Soviet Union days when the only way to get ahead was to cheat), so your students will do it right in front of you and there's no explaining to them why it's wrong.

My students are all very sweet for the most part, but like I said before-- all we received was a crash course in training (it was supposed to be spread out through a month, but since we are coming in mid-term to take over for teachers who couldn't finish, we got the entire treatment in a week), so I do feel a bit unprepared.

But there's just nothing you can do it situations like this but to do it. A lot of times I felt like hiding under a rock or giving up, but I just can't. I have to go in and teach a bunch of children how to speak English and I have to do it the best way I can.

That sounds like a really obnoxious and cherry post, but I'm more of encouraging myself than anything else.

Well, I have some pictures from this park Ben's friend Grigor and his lovely girlfriend took us to last weekend. It's only two stops away from us on the metro and was absolutely amazing. I feel like everything about Moscow is grossly understated when you read about it and the parks are no exception. I had heard Moscow had some nice ones, but they are EPIC. And there was a CASTLE! Just hanging out! It was built in 1775 by Catherine the Badass and it was just the most awesome thing ever. We even went on a tour (it was free the day we went--and foreigners were supposed to pay no matter what, but Ben and I passed the Russian test!) and that was quite lovely.

Afterwards, we went to this tiny Russian restaurant that was very charming and so Russian, but I unfortunately didn't take any pictures because the waitress was scaring me.

Enjoy. Hopefully I'll have more cheerful posts after this.

Oh. I haven't looked that excited in awhile. Sad, sad. 

That's a little bellini stand. Bellinis are awesome little pancakes that Russians eat all the time and actually, Ben is making some for breakfast right now. 

The snow was pilled so high, I couldn't believe it. It was like a magical little wonderland through those beautiful castle windows. 

This little guy's picture was every where and it was just cracking me up. I had to share, though looking back now it doesn't seem so humorous. 

There were so many ceilings like this, but I wasn't allowed to take pictures of them. I snuck this one though!


  1. Sorry to hear you had such a crummy start. I'm sure everything will work out in the end, especially since you're doing it in beautiful Moscow. I can relate to finding that little guy funny. I mean, he is silly looking! I always think stuff like that is funny, but no one else laughs! My boyfriend usually laughs just because I think its so funny.

    Keep your chin up!



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