Thursday, April 28, 2011

I moved. Am Alive.

I moved earlier this week, then taught and taught some more. I'm exhausted, but alive. I'll update the blog with something more substantial later this weekend or early next week. Expect it to be my usual level of substantial, which is to say not really at all.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dear Foreigner on the Metro,

With the sullen expression and impromptu shining of the shoes, you almost had me fooled. You even had a shoe shine brush! That shows dedication, and for that I salute you. You put up a valiant effort, but it wasn't quite good enough. With your bearded face, curious eyes darting back and forth, and England flag proudly beaming from your tuque, you still stood out like a sore thumb. Better luck next week.

Yours truly,


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tired of Saying I Hadn't Been to Red Square, I Finally Went

A month after arriving, it started to be a bit embarrassing to admit that no, I hadn't bothered to go to Red Square yet. My excuses, that it was far from my apartment and would still be there next week, did translate to survival level English, nor did they impress my English speaking coworkers. So, almost a month after arriving, I went. The centre of Moscow is considerably more impressive looking than my neighborhood.

Bolshoi Theatre. From what I found on Google, it's more impressive inside. They're currently renovating it, so who knows.

GUM, a department store, because of course there is a massive structure full of overpriced goods framing one side of Red Square. Nice looking building, at least.
St. Basil's Cathedral. This is exactly how I used to imagine my dream home. When I was 5 years old. I'm pretty sure that the domes you see here taste like candy canes. At the very least, they are definitely edible.

Lenin's tomb and the wall of the Kremlin. If I so desire, I can wait until it's open, queue for hours, and view whatever it is that they've done with his body in there. I do not desire to do this.

This Pity Party is Over

As previously stated, I promised myself that I wouldn't bitch and moan too much until my first 30 days were over. Then, when I realized they were over, I had a totally cranky pants week full of bitching, moaning, and complaining. Also, I was menstruating, which didn't help. You're welcome.

Yesterday was probably my worst day here. I worked, and that was fine. I'm always fine when I'm teaching. It was after, when I realized I had nothing to do but go home and think about how far away from everything I live, how gross my apartment is, and how I haven't made many friends yet, that I had a full blown pity party. I napped three hours, ate chips and pizza, and watched terrible TV shows that I don't particularly enjoy. Yes, I'm talking about you, Big Bang Theory. I followed this up by sleeping in today, and then taking a nap shortly after waking up. All in all, it was a pretty pathetic 24 hours for me.

When I was younger, I used to throw temper tantrums. Serious temper tantrums. I have family members that still refer to me as "waaaah!" when they see me at weddings (Yes, "waaah!" is a real nickname that people have actually called me. No, I will not be using it as a future blog moniker). At some point I became an adult, and according to society it was no longer acceptable for me to throw tantrums. I had to learn a new way to vent.

In my early 20's, my coping method was to simply not cope at all, but to bottle everything up instead. I thought this was working out just great, until one of the greatest people I've ever met advised me otherwise. She said something that as true as it is face-slap-worthy: You have to let yourself feel your feelings. It's okay to be pissed off, frustrated, and be a bit negative from time to time. I'm not a terrible failure of a person for giving in to. The key is that after feeling negative, I move on rather than letting it own me.

Now, fast approaching 30, I neither deny problems which exist, nor do I throw temper tantrums. I wait until the appropriate time to feel like crap, allow myself the appropriate time to feel that way, and then move on. Depending on the magnitude of the issue, this is usually a 24 hour cycle. Thankfully, most of my issues are pretty trivial.

Today being a new day, negativity washed away, and all that, I've decided that I should try to get into Russian music. It will be good for my listening skills, and give me a conversation piece for when I finally make some Russian friends outside of work. Tomorrow, I'm planning on photo hunting decrepit looking buildings and absurd parking jobs; I will not have to leave my neighborhood for either of these things, but I will anyway.

Worry not, for it's all pretty much good.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

It's Been a Rough Month. I Deserve to Look Like a Hooker.

I recently passed the 30 day mark, which means that I'm due for a real complaint session. Now, I've hinted here and there, without even a touch of subtlety, that a number of things here really blow, but I think I've kept the whining to a minimum. Pointing out something negative is not the same as bitching about it, after all. I'm due for a quality bitching session. Unfortunately, I seem to have lost my edge over the years and consider whining about things I can't change to be an exercise in futility. Instead, I have decided to cope by giving my wardrobe a more Russian flavor. That is to say, I look more and more like a street walker with each passing day.

Now, a lot is said about the expense of buying clothes in Moscow, and most of it is correct. It is expensive to buy clothes here, especially if you're too lazy to find sales. If you are like me, and shop according to the price tag, it's not necessarily so bad. For example, when I purchased a spring coat (black, of course), a blouse, and a t-shirt from H&M, it only cost about $75. This is reasonable, and probably slightly less than I would have paid at home for the same items. Of course, I made up for that by buying $200 street walker boots, which was absurd. There were $70 hooking boots that would have done just fine, but they sadly did not come in size gargantuan. Also, the salesperson in that store was a bitch, so fuck her and her tiny shoes.

Yes, keeping things honest, my first month here pretty much stunk. Often literally. On the bright side, not only might I now be confused with the real prostitutes roaming around here, but I am probably moving in a couple of weeks. Should this happen, I might be able to use the 3 hours a day I spend commuting on making friends. That would be neat.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Dear People of the Moscow Metro System,

Blowing gum bubbles into your significant other's mouth is not cute. No, this is not a special moment that you two ought to be sharing with other people. Blowing gum bubbles in to each other's mouths? This is not a thing that real people do. This is most certainly not a thing that real people want to see. I say this with not a hint of jealousy, only concern for the well being of everybody who may have the gross misfortune of catching sight of your amazingly unattractive stupidity. I can not stress enough how totally fucking repugnant you look. Stop it.

Kind regards,


P.S. To the very thoughtful fellows that keep leaning over the arm rest into my face rather than taking one of the five empty seats beside me: For the love of all that is good, take a seat. There are five of them.