Blogs from Yaroslavl, Centre, Russia, Europe - page 3


Europe » Russia » Centre » Yaroslavl December 10th 2005

As impossible as it seemed, I wasn't tired when we left Yartek so I went for a walk with Chiara. We walked in the snow alongside the river Kotorosl near where we live. It was minus 14 at midnight - the Kotorosl had frozen over so we even walked on it, as far into the middle as we dared. There was more than a foot of snow on top of the ice so we couldn't tell we were walking across a river, it felt the same as walking on the path. We're both confused at the idea of leaving Yaroslavl in two weeks, just as there seems to be more to do. I got up late and walked to the factory with a large bag of my laundry. It is hard to talk in Russian when ... read more

Europe » Russia » Centre » Yaroslavl December 9th 2005

For some reason the bang on my bedroom door came an hour and a half earlier today. I did everything as usual but went back to bed at 8. It was still dark outside and I was tired after last night. I woke up at 11.20 and hurried two hours late to Yartek, forgetting to put on my woolly hat. As I walked past the thermometer on ulitsa Svobody it read minus 11, and the wind in my face made it feel even colder. When I looked at myself in the full length mirror next to Valentina Ivanovna's desk I had literally turned purple, with deep bruises over my cheekbones. I deserved my telling off from Lena. Her grammar class was better. It isn't just me who isn't feeling good, all of us are run down ... read more

Europe » Russia » Centre » Yaroslavl December 8th 2005

I have had enough of Marina Ivanovna. Like Tamara Aleksandrovna before her she has no idea how to talk to me, and because I am not Russian I am entitled to less respect. The way she has constructed my mornings makes me feel very uncomfortable. My routine is: Trams start rumbling at 6 in the morning so I wake up with a headache. I have to get out of bed at 8.20 when the loud banging on my door starts: "Dz-on-a-TAN, Dz-on-a-TAN. Get up." I go to the bathroom and have a shower under yellow water with no shower curtain (or a bath if she has told me to.) I get dressed and pack my bag, while three cats climb over my things. I go to the kitchen at 8.50, and whatever she makes for breakfast ... read more

Europe » Russia » Centre » Yaroslavl December 7th 2005

I correctly guessed minus 7 today. It is so cold that my face turns purple from the minute I step outside, and my hands sting painfully if I don't keep them in my pockets. My day at the language school was tiring. Lena taught us in the morning; we have finished our workbook so we moved on to grammar excercises from another one. Her classes have been a huge help to my Russian by topping up the basics in an organised way. Her teaching is still good but I think that my grammar has improved as it can for one semester. The topics are getting easier but I'm finding it much harder to concentrate. In Olga's lessons in the afternoon we read part of a novel by Ilf and Petrov. I took Katya to Yartek at ... read more

Europe » Russia » Centre » Yaroslavl December 6th 2005

I had a bad night's sleep. The noisy clattering of the trams woke me up at 6 this morning as usual, by which time my throat was hurting from the cold weather. A breakfast of greasy vegetables and a sausage didn't help but I had an excuse for not eating it. The temperature is minus 7, and I took a 2-0 lead in our game. When it gets to minus 10 I'll put another pair of trousers on underneath my jeans. The air hurts my face and hands. It was snowing to make up for the cold, but only slightly. Viktor still doesn't know the difference between feminism and gender roles, but at least we could have a conversation. I sometimes speak better Russian when I'm feeling sleepy; I can audibly mumble my sentences instead of ... read more

Europe » Russia » Centre » Yaroslavl December 5th 2005

Neither myself nor Chiara imagined that it could be minus 8 this morning, but my guess of minus 5 was closest. It was a very cold walk to school! Yulia's class was good. We finished the story about the plumber - his two house calls are to a lonely old man and a young boy with no parents, so he arranges for them to live together - and talked a bit about it. I slept well last night so I felt awake and willing to talk more than usual. In the lunch break I walked to the nearest shop with Chris W and it still felt exceptionally cold. I was shivering even wearing two thermal vests, my warmest jumper, a thick scarf and my overcoat. It feels like I'm really in Russia again, after the shake-up ... read more

Europe » Russia » Centre » Yaroslavl December 4th 2005

There wasn't much to do today. I was in my scarf and overcoat ready to go out at 7, fighting with another useless flimsy Russian key and chasing escaping cats down flights of stairs. They seem as desperate to break out of the flat as I do. At 7.02 I got a message from Katya to say she couldn't come bowling, so I also had to send charmingly grumpy texts at the same time. It wasn't how I'd planned my sunday night. Knowing that if I left the flat with only one thick iron door locked I would get back to find my bags packed again I had to stay indoors for two more hours, perched in the big chair in the narrow hall with the lights off. When Marina Ivanovna finally got home I went ... read more

Europe » Russia » Centre » Yaroslavl December 3rd 2005

I slept in until 10, then woke up for a breakfast of cold tea, warm brocolli and a greasy cutlet. The plan for the daytime was to relax. Katya invited me to dinner with her parents in the evening and I was understandably stressed about it... And so 5 o'clock arrived. I always yawn when I'm nervous so by quarter to I was almost asleep! I managed to transport a bottle of wine from ulitsa Bolshaya Oktyabr'skaya to ulitsa Schedrina where she lives, even though my hands were trembling and my feet were slipping on the ice. I met Katya outside, we went up the stairs to her flat and very timidly stepped into the hall. I put my overcoat on the coat stand, then shook hands with her mum and dad and said my politest ... read more

Europe » Russia » Centre » Yaroslavl December 2nd 2005

I woke up early to see my friends off at Yartek. I didn't have time for a shower and Marina Ivanovna said that I was not allowed to have one when I got back. I may not wash when she is not in the flat. And I must shave today. Another tie in the temperature game, we guessed a degree either side of minus 2. The week finished 2-1 to me, hopefully we will be guessing real winter numbers on monday! I said my own goodbyes on ulitsa Nekrasova, not in a mass of hugs at Domidedovo airport. All the teachers were moved to watch their pupils walk onto the coach. Olga, Lena, Viktor, Larissa and Natasha are the kindest people, with the warmest hearts. Jamie will be in Moscow next semester so I hope I'll ... read more

Europe » Russia » Centre » Yaroslavl December 1st 2005

The official first day of winter, and the last day in Yaroslavl for the 13 week students. Fittingly we woke up to an inch of snow, which always makes the town even more attractive. Today's temperature game was a tie. I guessed minus 3 and Chiara minus 1. It was a bit of a mumbled conversation on the way to the language school, we had only slept for four hours each! Today's topic in Viktor's class was feminism. He didn't seem to understand what he was teaching and just spoke about Russian families. And he didn't appreciate the ideas we had because of the differences in gender roles between Britain and Russia; women don't pay for things for example, men don't cook. Viktor is a good teacher but, with hindsight, the material he has been given ... read more

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