This post really ought to begin with an apology for taking so long to update but anybody who knows me will know I'm late for everything. Plus, if I keep apologising then every post will look exactly the same, and also I'm not really sorry (especially when I don't get any updates from anyone else about important events like, say for example, moving in with your girlfriend Joseph Alan Harry Drewry!). So there will be no apology. Deal with it.
I have now been living in Moscow for almost 5 months and all is going swimmingly (apart from my Russian, which is still at the arm-bands and floats stage). Rita, my landlady, left for Germany in May and is still not back, so I have had the flat to myself all summer. I've decided that I enjoy living alone; it's very peaceful. Although I have started talking to myself a lot more. Is that weird? No it's fine, don't worry about it.
The summer has been pretty quiet work-wise; my timetable has been under hours for the last few months. That means I've had a lot of time to explore the city and try to improve my Russian. A few weeks ago my mum and sister came to visit, so I got to behave like a real tourist for a week. I finally went inside St Basils Cathedral (it's better on the outside), though we didn’t get into the Kremlin armoury and I still haven’t seen pickled Lenin.
One of the places we visited was the Museum of Modern Russian History, which is almost as interesting for the events it leaves out as for the stuff it covers; the annexing of Germany and the Cuban missile crisis are both conspicuous by their absence, and it may just be coincidence but most of the English descriptions disappeared from WW2 onwards.
We also went to St Petersburg for a few days, which was the first time I'd been outside Moscow. I was surprised by how different the two cities are. St Pete feels much more European, a lot more of the old town, with its winding streets and canals, has been preserved. The Hermitage was pretty awesome, especially the state rooms; what self-respecting tsar could do without a solid gold mechanical clock in the form of a life-size peacock? It puts the Vicky centre to shame. I also didn't realise that they have their own version of St Basils; the more impressively named Church of the Saviour on Spilled blood (it's better on the inside). It rained a lot and two days isn't enough to see everything, so I'm already planning a second trip before the end of the year.
Church of the Saviour on Spilled blood
What else has happened? Well I've spent too long talking to Americans and my accent is slipping; I keep catching myself saying things like 'store' and 'movie' - eugh! I started having Russian lessons with a private tutor, and then stopped, but I'm planning on starting up again this week. I'm still not very good, I can cope in everyday situations but I can't have a conversation yet. I may also have inadvertently become a fan of ice hockey after going to see the Mayors cup at the weekend. This means I'll have to adopt a Moscow team, but there are too many to choose from.
The new school year began for us today so things will be getting busier again at work, and I was slightly surprised to find that I'm actually looking forward to seeing my kids class again (we'll see how long that lasts).
Things I have learnt recently.
- A lot about Russian history thanks to Martin Sixsmith's Russia: the Wild East on Radio 4
- Bulgakov is brilliantly bonkers. The Master and Margarita is awesome.
- That the voice on the metro changes from male to female depending on which direction you're travelling - handy that.
- How to make spiced tea.
- How to use the intercom in my flat, finally.
- That the genitive case is evil.
I can't remember anything else that would be of any interest, so I'll leave it there.
Until next time (and I make no promises as to when that might be)...
пока пока! x