18.07.2009 - 24.05.2010
Since I last wrote things have well and truly taken off here. I have much less hours as it is July and have started taking Russian classes (which I get for working here) in the mornings instead. I have also met some nice new people, as well as the people from the school, including the first year students from Birmingham. In frequenting Café FM with Natalie and co. I have also met a couple of nice Swedes and Natalie's Khoz (a very young one) Masha who is really nice!
As this is the first years first time here they have done a few trips and I decided to go along on the rafting one, which was the same as the one we had done three years previously. However, this time we had no group leaders to translate the instructions. Natalie was group leader and interpreter and together we managed, little by little, to wing the interpreting. It miiiiggghhhtt have been a good idea to look up the vocabulary beforehand.
Along with the first years, some Russians and the Swedes we made our own beach party in Peski. It was a warm night with lots of alcohol and high spirits! We all learnt a bit of Swedish, squeezed in a quick dance in a bar, made a bonfire and had some food. Some of us also managed to fall off the log several times too. No comment.
I have also, in the last few weeks, noticed some disturbing changes in my eating habits: I've started buying radish, eating dill, going overboard on gherkins and actually liking Smetana (sour cream) in my soup. I think I might be going native.
In an attempt to stave off the inevitable weight gain that always gets one in Russia I have (when I have the time) been going for the odd run. However, although I am usually a huge advocate of running, sometimes it can be frustrating in Russia (see the aforementioned reasons in my previous post) and this has frustration taken on a whole new level. About a week ago I was following my usual route and coming back up the incline from the lake when I saw a dog. Now, this is something that happens to me on most runs and while I'm quite afraid of random dogs I have learnt the best way to deal with the strays is slowing down and passing calmly. This dog, however, was not a stray but had an owner and as I was about to jog past he was quite a few feet away. As I was approaching this dog shot out right in front of me and I froze. It was a muscular bull terrier with incredibly sharp teeth (I knew this because he was baring them at me through his growl). Well, I had NO idea what to do so moved very very slowly to the left and this was when I began to get very scared since the dog began mimicking my movements, effectively not letting me past.
The worst thing was that I was stuck there, on the point of bursting into terrified tears, for five whole minutes while his owner and 3 of her friends sat by 300 metres and stared at me. And after these longest five minutes of my life (which I spent imagining what exactly it would feel like to have a chunk of your leg mauled by an ugly pug faced dog) the owner took one final look and yelled "Idi sjuda"! And, just like that the dog turned on his heels and left.
That was my last run.
As I mentioned in my last post my Khoz has got increasingly bizarre. She seems to hear most things when it suits her which was why I was very, very surprised when I fell while showering the other day and she appeared not to notice. Bearing in mind that this is the woman who has, on several occasions, just walked straight in (without knocking) while I was showering to ask me a series of rather pointless questions. There is (or should I say was) no shower mat and while I was washing my hear I had clearly lathered to much and I just fell flat on my back with an almighty thump and a loud yell which shook me up quite a bit.
I got out of the shower and Tatiana just gave me a weird sort of smile and mentioned nothing.
The next day there was a mat in the shower.
What a coincidence!
I have seen a new type of trolleybus circulating the streets of Petrozavodsk. It appears to be some sort of "new modern trolley bus" which is evident by the words "new modern trolley bus" plastered on the side.
However, it looks an awful lot like a repainted version of the "old, soviet trolleybus".
“new modern trolley bus”
I also went to the cinema to see the new Harry Potter film which I quite enjoyed (the Russian dubbing meant no irritating accents) aside from the immense heat inside the screen. It must have been at least 30-35 degrees and while Cicilia, Olle and I were fanning ourselves frantically with my lesson plans the Russians seemed to be perfectly at ease.