Friday, February 29, 2008

All kinds of new

So I think this is officially the first day in almost 2 weeks that I feel well! I still have 0 appetite but I can eat! Dacey and I decided to try Mexican food in Moscow! I know you are thinking this is crazy right. No, it was so good! Not quite like our TexMex of course but good. I liked the salsa, for those who know me, this is huge! Dacey and I split fajitas. I know these are hard to mess up but they were great. Also I saw on the menu chilli and cheese. I thought this was a typical not so good translation of chilli con queso. Um, not so much! It was chilli with some shredded cheese on top! It was actually really good. I think what i liked most about tonights dinner, except for the company of course, was all the flavor! It was all spicey! It was so wonderful. So here is a pic to commemorate our first Mexcian food encounter while in Russia!
I also had a mom really make my day today. I was helping with the third grade Energy Conference, as they called it. In third grade inquiry class we have been studying energy and today the did a big project presentation for their parents to come see. Part of it was me asking them questions and them answering in English of course. So after a mom came up to me to ask me about her sons level of English, which is not so good actually. But he is a sweet boy. He just wont speak in class, and it is conversation class and all. But anyway, Sashas little brother is my student in the 1st grade, Koila (short for Nicoli). Their mom told me that Kolia said that my class is his favorite! He was sick the other day and remembered that he had English that day and was begging his mom to let him go to school just for English class. Yea!! I was so excited to hear that. And I was loving seeing an involved parent! I think she may be the first I have seen. She is speaking with her sons teachers almost everyday! Its great. And she wants to put Sasha in private lessons with me next year to help improve his English. So that will be fun too!
I am trying to upload some videos for you too!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Travel Plans

So Dacey and I are making our travel plans for spring break and we have several options. Greece (top choice but about $1200 or morebut it is to tour Greece top to bottom), Prague (price the same also very high on list), Goa, India (about $1400 all enclusive resort) or Dubai, UAE ($450). Yea so I'm not sure If you guessed yet but it looks like we may be going to Dubai! Nothing is set in stone yet, we are still getting details. But it sounds exciting! I can't wait to see. Really Dubi is the only one I can afford so if we don't do it then we are gonna have to look into somewhere else more affordable. Yea!

Weather in Moscow=crazy!
So yesterday I wake up, slowly as I'm still not feeling well, and I jump out of bed at the sound of thunder. I look out the window and it starts pouring down rain! I yell to Dacey, we're gonna have a thunderstorm!! Its been so long! It was so wonderful and beautiful! 5 minutes later it was over! During those 5 minutes we had decided to stay home because it was raining and I wasn't feeling good. It was also like 6*C so we were like, its so warm today!! Our park looked like a lake. All the ice/snow melted with the rain. Then this morning I get out for church and it is snowing and about -3*C. By the time we left church it had dropped to like -12*C! And it was still snowing and even harder! So tonight everything will turn to ice! We'll see what tomrrow looks like!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Winter Wonderland

So last week it was so warm. All the snow melted away and I got so excited thinking that Spring was just around the corner. Then last weekend it got down to about -20C. And the snow has been pouring! Actually it is really beautiful. But the funny thing is, now that its snowing again its back to about -1C.

Dacey and I are looking into making our spring break plans as it is quickly approaching. Greece is on the top of our list but it may not be as warm as we would like. But there are amazing sites to see but we wont be laying on the beach as hoped. But there is and island in India as an option. So if anyone has any suggestions let me know. Warm and near the beach is preferable. Prices and weather play into the decision. So we will see where we go! I can't wait!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A day in the life of Dana

I had quite the day. In the end I conclude that it was a good day. But I thought I would share the details with you. So bear with me it may be long but, I think some may get a good laugh out of my details.

8am: wake up, sore muscles from excercising the day before and not wanting to move, literally

8-9:15: breakfast, make lunch, shower, make bed, do hair, do make up, gather all my things (including the 2 dozens cupcakes and 2 dozens cookies made the night before), put on my boots, ear warmers, hat, gloves, scarf, coat and hood (its snowing) and head out the door

9:35: get on the bus to go to Zaitsevo

10:20: arrive at Zaitsevo, delayer in my office, head to the teachers office, set up table with cookies and cupcakes. Several teachers eat them and tell me how much they love them

10.50-12.20: inquiry class with 3rd grade. it goes great. we talk about photosyntheses and the food chain

12.20: tea with Jamie and the kindergarten

12.30-1: lunch with Jamie

1pm: I go to the office to get things ready for the rest of my lessons

1.50: head down the hallway to go to my 1st grade lesson
There are some middle school boys in the hallway listening to music from a phone of something. It is so loud I can hear it in my office when the door was shut. I won't say the exact words (especially because my litle sis reads this) but the music was more than inappropriate and vulgar. I listen to rap music and this was ridiculous. So I decided I would take care of the situation. Remember these are not my students but I am still a teacher in the school. So here was our conversation. If you can picture me not so happy, using my mad teacher, this is inappropriate voice.

Me: Excuse, me do you know what that song is saying?
Rude Middle School Boy: What?
Me: repeat ?
boy: oh um no I don't speak English I don't know what its saying
me: actually I know you speak english becuas you just spoke to me perfectly. but that was a nice try. now you need to turn off that music. it is extremely innappropriate
boy: laughs and walks away
me: excuse me, I am talking to you so you need to walk back over here
boy: walks back still laughing, what
me: now, as I was saying, you need to turn off that music and return to class.
boy: again walks away laughing
me: get back over here i am not finished talking to you, now as a girl and as a native english speaker that music really offends me so turn it off and get to class
boy: whatever
me: oh really, what is you name and what class are you in
boy: Artem blah blah blah, 8th class
me: now really are you in the 6th or 7th class
boy: no I'm in the 8th, laughing
me: I'll be speaking with you teacher
boy: okay he is the bald one with white hair
me: oh I won't be speaking with that teacher
boy: laughs walking away

So as you can imagine I want to ring his neck and call his parents but instead I walk very nicely to the teachers office where I find my supervisor Irina sitting at her desk. She ask me how my day is. I tell her its great but I have a little situation I could use her help with. So I explain what happened to her. We walk down the hall the where the boys are. They see us and dart. But she has already seen them both. Needless to say we didn't find them. But she saw them and said that she would be speaking to Magdelena, their english teacher and hers/my supervisor. So I am hoping she did.

2:05: I arrive in 1st grade now 5 minutes late to my lesson. There are no 1st graders around. The TA in first grade speaks english. He tells me that they are having a dance competition and invites me to be on the jury.

I spend the next 45 minutes judging the first graders dance. It was so cute and so funny. As you probably know, 5 and 6 year olds are not so cooridnated. So most of them were everywhere and literally tripping over their two right feet. I loved it. It was so fun.

Too bad there was no clock in there because I would have seen that I was now late to my lesson with 2nd grade that started at 2.40. oops

2.55pm: arrive into 2nd grade. I explain to them where I was. They didn't really care. They just wanted to make Valentines cards. So we made our cards and did our crossword for VDay. It went very well.

3.35: take Katia from 2nd grade to go have our private lesson in the library

3: 40: we are walking to the library and all the 4th graders are in the hallway. They happen to be standing in front of the bulletin board I made on Tuesday with all their Valentines poems on it. But somehow there are only 3 left. So here is this conversation.

Me: look at this wall, do you see a problem
kids: a lot of blank faces
me: where did all of your poems go, why are they not on the wall
Nastya & Alouna: we took them down becuase we wanted them
Me: didn't I tell you that they would stay on the wall for one week and then you could take them home.
Nastya: but its my valentine and I wanted it
Me: but I am you teacher and I said to leave it up for one week
Nastya: interrupting but today is valentines day and I wanted it
Me: interrupting, I don't care what day today is. I am your teacher and I said they will stay up for one week. Does anyone not understand what that means?
kids: shaking their heads saying no we understand
Me: then why can you not do what I ask, for once just do what I ask
Nastya: because its mine and I wanted it!
Me: well I am very disappointed. I tried to make something nice for everyone to see what you did and you ruined it. I am very unhappy with you (i walk away)
Polina: (stops me) Miss Dana, are we gonna make those tomorrow?
Me: yes we are
Polina: I am very excited, I'll leave mine on the wall when you put it there
Me: Thank you

So I don't know if I would say that went well but now it was time to begin my lesson with Katia

3.40: Jamie comes in the library not looking so happy. I ask her where is Phillip. She tells me taht he has run off again. (this has been happening for several weeks). So I ask Jamie if she has talked to his teacher yet. She says no and then Phillip runs in and hides behind a bookshelf. I stop me lesson and go over there. Jamie is just too nice. Phillip is my student in class and I will not tolerate this kind of behavior. So here I go, again.

Me: Phillip, what are you doing
Phillip: I dont' know
Me: Well where should you be
P: I don't know
Me: I think you do know you are 10 minutes late to you lesson with Jamie. Would you like to tell me why?
P: no response
Me: You need to stop hiding from you teacher like a 4 yearold and come to your lesson. you are acting worse than my preschoolers. Jamie is doing a favor for you by helping you learn English and this is how you thank her. You are being rude and wasting her time. I think you need to to tell you that your sorry.
P: mumbles sorry
Me: why are you sorry
P: I dunno
Me well you need to think about it and tell Jamie before the end of the lesson

So I think that one went over pretty well. I didn't want to overstep my boundaries since it was Jamies lesson. But he is one of my students and I know how he is. He was walking all over her.

I don't really like to yell at students and make them feel bad. But I guess sometimes you have to do it. It this was being a grown up is like?

That only took a couple of minutes and then Katia and I finished our lesson.

4.10pm: Jamie and I got on the bus to head back to the city

5pm arrive at Presnya, Jamie and I have tea in the cafe in the basement

5.45-6.45: Massage with Lena. It was so great but so painful. This is our 3rd time together. I think my back is getting better but in the process it hurts so bad. I think it is bruised actually.

6.45-7: Dacey joins us and we chat with Lena for a little while.

7ish: we walk down the street a little and decide to go into OGGI. This is my favorite store here. We all end up buying stuff. I got a cute brown wrap dress shirt for $8 and 2 pair of printed socks. Very cute stuff.

7.45ish: Jamie and i go across the street to Sun City to tan. We had never been to this place before but I loved it. It cost us about $3.50 more but it was so much nicer. They had different level beds and they were the lay down kind. They had real towels, not dissposable ones, face toner and lotion to clean you face before and after you tan, eye goggles, a little hair wrap thing, little dissposable flip flops, and tanning goggles. I felt like I was in America! It was so great. Plus the fan in the tanning bed was actually cool so I wasn't dying of a heat stroke coming out. It was a really great experience.

8.30pm: Jamie and I decide to get a Sharma for dinner. It is shaved meat of some kind in a big tortillia like thing with cucumbers, tomatoes, cabbage, and sauce (or whichever you like) all for about $2. And very filing. Well the Sharma boys kinda like it when we come by. They are Georgian so they are very friendly. Kind of like the Mexicans in America. So they said hello and all of that. Then a new, young one, asked our names. Then the one making it for us said I love you. And I said thank you. I didn't know what to say. He said it in English so I'm not really sure he knew what he was saying. But I think it was his way of saying Happy Valentines Day. At least that is what I like to think but I'm not really sure. It was my first 'I love you, thank you' moment in my life.

9pm: Jamie and I walk home. Now we need to diagonally cross the street. So there are pedestrian crosswalks under the street because it is about 8 lanes accross this intersection. So we are walking up the stairs on the other side back to ground level and we see a lady yelling at a young man with a guitar on. We see people yelling all the time on the street so we think nothing of it. It was kind of weird becuase it was in the middle on the side of the staircase. There are about 6 other people there too. They look like they may be drunk so we keep to ourselves and stop talking. Then I look over and there is a man slouched on the stairs, cleary passed out, loosing a lot of blood from his head. So I tell Jamie we need to go fast. She says okay, not seeing what I had seen, and we quickly go up the rest of the stairs and keep walking down the side walk.

So who knows what that was all about. But unfortunately we could not help. It would have put us in a bad situation. And unfortunately, there was probably not 1 Russian who stopped by to help either.

9.15: Jamie and I stop at the fruit stand so I can get some apples. It has been a long day and I have clearly lost my brain for a brief moment.

Me: Morshna chittirri yablaka fuji pushousta (may I have 4 fuji apples please)
Fruit stand lady: da (yes), gets my apples, weighs them, fsio (is that all)
Me: da heartasho (yes thats good)
lady: 99 rubles
me: I give her 100 rubles
lady: she gives me a 1 ruble coin
me: (taking my change) is that all, I mean fsio
Lady: giggling because the crazy american girl is speaking English to her and we have already established previously that she knows no English and I know a little Russian.

So Jamie thought the whole situation was very funny because I didn't even think twice about speaking to her in English even though the whole conversation had been in Russian.

9.35: arrive at home at last!!

So that is my day. If you have made it this far THANK YOU! And you should leave me a comment and tell me that you read the whole thing and anything you would like to comment about my day.

I hope you enjoyed a day in the life of me. Some are more boring but some have been more exciting.

Until next time...all my love...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

just some recent pics

This was my first Russian snowangel experience!
Sadorsha and I were having a snowball fight.

We were singing the classic Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes. Its their favorite. We have to do it every single day!

I love little Eva. She just looks so interested in whatever it is that I'm saying. It really is great for the ego. haha.

So this is some of my preschoolers. I just love the look on their faces. I was reading to them. Misha is the the little boy, Eva is the blonde and Masha is the brunette. They are cuties!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Dry snow + high winds on highway = car wrecks

So we went to the orphanage yesterday. It was a great trip. We had been delayed since December because of a chicken pox epidemic. So we were finally able to go. The children all go their new years gift plus we had a birthday party as usuall with a clown. They loved it.

This is me and little Elena. She is the runt of the group. She just had her 8th birthday but she is about the size of an average 4 or 5 year old.
So when we were driving home it was so scary. We were on this 2 lane highway in the middle of no where Russia with no civilization around for hours. If you can picture a desert, the wind is blowing so hard that is completly changes the scenery in front of you. So this is what it looked like on the highway but with snow. The road was not really anywhere to be found. Then we come up over a hill to see one of our vehicles, a small car, turned almost all the way around into a pile of snow about 5 feet tall. Thankfully there happened to be no traffic coming the opposite way at the time. After that we saw about 4 other vehicle that had just lost control and driven off the side of the road. But the side of the road was kind of like a field of snow. But with some small trees sticking out of it. So who really knows what is under that 5 or 6 feet of snow. So end of the story is, everyone is okay, but Dana is completely stressed out and decides it is better to put on the headphones and try to go to sleep than to begin developing an ulcer.