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!


  1. Congrats on all the awesome things going on in your life, and congrats on the most awesome house plant, that I now want to go find one of for myself.

    1. Get a tulip or water lily! They are really great winter plants because they grow near cold windows and they are so pretty!

  2. Well done for quitting your jobs! If you were that unhappy, it's completely understandable and now you are earning more money, it seems like it was a no brainer!

  3. Life sounds awesome right about now! Glad to hear about your jobs, apartment, and water lily! Those pictures are neat and I look forward to seeing more.

  4. Congratulations on your big changes, love your blog, I have always dreamed of living in Russia. One day... until then, living vicariously though your adventures!

    1. Awe, well I'm glad I could provide that for you, ha!

  5. So this is really weird but here it is: I follow Sam en Croute and she at some point mentioned you. I checked out your blog and only just made the connection reading back a few posts that you and Ben are Beloiters! I don't think I ever met you, but Ben and I were on a BUFF team together and hung out a few times in Moscow. Small world!

    Anyway, really enjoying your blog and congrats on dumping Language Link. I remember being there. (And, if I may be very nosy, what visas are you all current on? Still under LL or have you reapplied?)

    1. Hey! I totally know who you are, Ben told me about you back when we moved here. SUPER small world! And thanks-I know you're an ex-LLer too, so you can relate with the insanity that is that job.

      But yeah, about the visas, you can totally email me about that (liveinsunshinee@gmail.com) and I can tell you about what we did:) Also, we should all get together at some point?! So glad you found my blog:)

  6. i am so terribly sorry to hear about your camera?! i would be so upset too. cheer up! because you have what sounds like an amazing apartment and two great new jobs! i'm so happy to hear these changes!

  7. I wrote this ridiculously long comment the other day and then the internet decided it didn't like me and stole it away. Anyway. I'm in such admiration of how you and Ben just took the plunge and sought out the next exciting chapter in your adventures. Such exciting times for you!

    I'll have to hunt down a Chinese Water Lily because yours looks just so incredible. Our Peace Lily likes to throw tantrums - it will look really happy one minute and then half an hour later it'll be drooping all over the table. If you give it even just a splash of water you can watch it steadily raise it's leaves and it will look as healthy as ever within the hour. Plants. Craziness.


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