30 January 2014

New Apartment Glimpses

I did it, you guys! I said I would:)

So that's a bit of our apartment, minus the parts that have yet to be cleaned from our rambunctious day off yesterday (and by rambunctious, I of course mean chili!). It's very white and clean and open. I love it and it felt like home after our first night. 

Also, how pathetic does our ficus look? Don't ever buy a ficus-or at least not one from Ikea. That thing looked cute for exactly one week and then has been trying to die ever since. Seriously, most dramatic little plant. I'm so frustrated with it and trying to keep it alive, I'm ready to throw in the towel, but Ben is attached to it because his Dad owns a ficus. So it stays, dying, dropping leaves, judging me for my poor treatment of it...

Ficuses, man. Ficuses. 

29 January 2014

Chinese Water Lily, Lately

I'm going to be honest with you, because I try to be honest here, I have avoided this blog like a friend I forgot to call on her birthday. I literally avoid looking at my bookmark bar because it has my little blog, right next to YouTube, just sitting there telling me to stop watching makeup tutorials and do some writing.

Also, I dropped my camera before Amsterdam (like, only 15 inches!) and effed up the lens and now my photos are kind of blurry and it's made me so depressed, I don't even want to touch it.

Okay, but onto everything that's happened. Because so many things have happened.

1. Ben and I quit our jobs. We gave a month's notice and began the process of essentially being self-employed and then... well, we were kinda needed for our new jobs and our administrator was being really nasty and we kinda just... dipped out. Which I'd like to say I feel badly about, but to be honest, we were so miserable, and so overworked, and so overwhelmed, that I've really pushed any feelings of guilt aside. Ben's mom said to us on skype on night that she'd never stay at a job she hated and it occurred to me that ever since we came back from summer, I've really disliked that job.

My class sizes doubled, my students were unruly, but most of all, we lost the support of our administrator. She used to be a very kind woman who really looked out for us, but she began to get a cut of the money new students brought in, so she really changed. She wanted the students to be happy, at the cost of our happiness and more importantly, at the cost of us being able to run classrooms in efficient ways. She said cruel things and wouldn't let us discipline our students, so as a result, we had students who were very badly behaved. We also just weren't making that much money. And we lived really far outside the center. Anytime we wanted to meet up with friends, we had to take a 30-45 minute train ride and then at midnight decide if we wanted to catch the last train home or stay out until 6 a.m. when the morning trains came. Which is a terrible position to be in.

2. So we moved. We found an apartment that was out of our price range, but it was in the center. Like, right in the center. And the neighborhood was so cool-it looks like Europe. Cafes, restaurants, bars-we loved it. It was everywhere we had always wanted to live.

And the apartment is great too! Everything is new and shiny and clean--which was not what we had been seeing in our hellish week of looking for apartments (is it that terrible all over the world-seriously tell me so I can avoid it forevveeeeer). We were actually hours away from signing an apartment that didn't have a bathtub, guys when we found this one. It really ended up being a no-brainer of, yeah this place is expensive, but it's just so beautiful and the location is so prime that how could we not? So we did.

But the moving of the stuff was utterly hellish. You ever drag everything you own in broken suitcases through the snowy streets of Moscow? No? Well I have and it's about as fun as dragging broken suitcases through the snow of Russia.

3. We started our new jobs and so far so good. Ben is teaching classes (privately) and I am working as a private tutor through an agency. We work half as much and make twice as much, which is about as great of a situation as I can think of.

So that's what's going on so far. I will take pictures. To-morrow. I promise. I really have no excuse because my morning lesson was cancelled so... I'm going to do it.

I also wanted to tell you guys about some current favorites and recommendations because I guess that's just what we do here.

1. I'm listening to Dark Places by Gillian Flynn on my Audible iPhone app. I didn't really read the fine print about it all, but it's kind of like a monthly subscription service to audiobooks? I actually have no idea, all I know is that your first book is free and I couldn't illegally download it, so I got the app. Haha...

But the book is pretty good so far! I really loved Gone Girl and a couple of you recommended Flynn's other books when I asked for some other suggestions, so I did it! It's about the now-adult sole-survivor of a horrific, Satanic-seeming, murder in rural Kansas who has lived her life in a deep state of melancholy. When she gets a call from murder "solvers"/conspiracy theorists that believe her brother (who was accused of killing his whole family and whom she testified against when she was a child) is innocent, she starts to look at the case in a whole new light.

That's about as far as I've gotten, but it's shaping up to be a pretty great mystery, also told from different view points. The only qualm I have is that the survivor-Libby- well, her view point is told from first person, while her mother and brother's (told in flashbacks) are written in third person. So it's kind of odd, but not really noticeable. I just wanted to tell ya guys.

2. My blog friend Sam and I are starting a blog series! I'm really excited about it, but I don't want to reveal anything until she and I have worked out all the kinks-but get ready for that:)

3. Ben and I started watching True Detective and we really like it. My mom-who has great taste- recommended it to us, but I had a hard time getting into it until this last episode. Oh my goodness. And of course it's on hiatus for a week and a half. WHAT WILL I DO UNTIL THEN?!

It's also about a satanic-seeming murder in rural America (I know, I have very sophisticated and diverse tastes), but it's also really about the detectives. Kind of good cop/bad cop dichotomy. But very chilling--and also really mysterious. Like I said, it took me a couple episodes to get into it (because they also kinda ripped off the main murder from this show Hannibal we also really like), but now the mystery is really starting to get going. Let me know if any of you are watching it and what you guys think.

4. And finally, Ben and I bought this Chinese Water Lily in Amsterdam and the thing just grew like nothing I've ever seen. I diligently took a picture of it everyday with my broken camera and the results are crazy. This is really a picture a day, everyday for 7 days:

So crazy. When we were moving, I left it out on a coffee table for a night and when we came back, it was stretched in half (it's about three feet now) towards the sun. Flowers!

Anyway, check back tomorrow to see if I've stopped watching reality TV long enough to post some pictures of our new place. Cheers!

16 January 2014

Amsterdam pt. 3

1. Craziest New Year's Eve of my effing life. Closest thing to a war (I hope) I will ever get.
2. Drinkin' and Uno'in with Mom and Dad
3. Freaking out about the fireworks going off all around us
4. Aftermath
5. Puppets
6. Sausages
7. Walking through the streets of Amsterdam
8. Tulip Museum (we bought a Chinese Water Lilly which is growing like crazy-I'll post pictures later)
9. Dutch hot chocolate 
10. Performers
11. Last dinner 

On a side note: Ben and I put down some money on a beautiful apartment right in the center of Moscow. It's kiiiinda out of our price range, but the location was amazing, the apartment itself was amazing, it was just too hard to say no. So we decided to go for it. 

I'm really nervous and excited about this new adventure in my life. I'm terrified because it's such a gamble and Ben and I have now used up all our savings, but I know that if it all works, we'll have a pretty amazing time. Our lives have just been so stressful these last four months and I'm really excited to leave all the negativity of our jobs behind and move forward. Thanks for all your kind words on this blog and on instagram-it really means a lot. 

And speaking of instagram- follow me along this weekend for some moving play-by-plays and if you don't have an instagram or understand how to work it (Mom), I'll take some pics of my cute new pad and put them up here as soon as possible. 

Have a warm weekend, everyone!

15 January 2014

Amsterdam pt. 2

See the hooker?! I snuck a picture in for you guys ; )

1. Eggs benedict 
2. Waffles
3. Weed lollies 
4. Tulips for sale. Everywhere. 
5. Foam Gallery: William Klein exhibit
6. Red light district. The first time we went was at night and it was just wild. The girls in the windows look absolutely surreal and terribly bored. Just smoking cigarettes and texting and blowing kisses. The whole street was packed too-with guys, which was really odd. At some point I just looked up and realized I was the only female in eye-sight. It wasn't creepy, just unusual. 
7. Dutch alcohol, given to us by one of Ben's friends from Japan
8. Traditional Dutch New Years treats

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