Thursday, October 26, 2006

Fighting And 'Snot Giving Up

Thursday - reminds me of that Morphine song... The weather is a mild 8c and not windy, which is quite good, but I don't really care.
Today I got unsolicited and unwelcome advice from 2 people at work that I respect but know nothing about teaching... they have complaints or whinges from students...
"He doesnt give us home work from the work book" - Yes he does but not all the time because people work
"He doesn't teach from the book all the time." - I can't always teach from the book if you gits just dont get the point of the lesson after 90 minutes - we need extra material to review the point of the lesson or even the LAST lesson.
"He talks too fast." - I talk at a normal to slow pace with vocabulary and sentence structure expected from the level in the class. If you are tired or can't be bothers concentrating in the lesson as you usually do, well don't blame me...
Now this gets back to reception as you would expect it should, but do they relay info to the Senior Teacher so they can tell you about what has been said and or suggest what recourse to take (because they are experienced and know). No!!
It goes from reception all through the school then the people that know you but don't know your job wanna tell you how to do your job via the evil SHOULD word,,, Now anyone that knows me - knows that they can press my buttons in seconds by starting into a chat with SHOULD. Best intentions and all, but you know what they say about the road to hell...
So I started the day with lethargy and sniffles from my cold and then after 2 internet chats 30 minutes after I got outta bed I have 2 people give me unwelcome advice from the kindness of their heart and ruined my - "...get thru the day" mood and turn it into "you aren't teaching well enough to be a teacher and you need to do 300%" mood.
So I had a crap day, I got to work late afternoon, as I was supposed to, andtold the senior teacher - an advocate for the right channels as I am, and he went off like a volcano at the people involved even tho I asked him repeatedly not to. Coz sometimes you just have to vent and then you are okay... nooo. He went right upstairs and took chunks outta the well meaning but incorrect people. So I looked like a dickhead or spineless or both...
God I need a holiday...
Obi Sniffling but not dead...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sniffle Off To Buffalo!

Well the Coldrex worked with moderate success - I am still sniffling but at least i can function and not get snowed under by this worsening cold...

I am worried about my Bendy friend in Korea... she is approaching the get out of jail free card and will be going home to Canada in the next few weeks. i hope she is prepared for it, I worry for her. But she can always talk to me any time...
Well I must get back to the grind stone. I got my chin up and smiling - the chin up stops the runny nose - hahahaaa!
Obi can ya spare me a tissue...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Change In The Weather

A mild front had enveloped Moscow and as a result the weather is a cool 14c and almost t-shirt weather. My mood has passed and I will get some cold and flu tablets to cope with the runny nose.
New classes abound as old ones end. The opportunity that comes from a new class is a new bunch of students all keen to learn and the opportunity of hindsight. The fact that I have not taken too many classes means that the ends are good and I am sure my next students will gain more from better teaching.
Seem to be eating a heap of Japanese lately... No - not the people, tho I have seen a few tours here. I mean the food, quite the fad here in Moscow actually and I have a nice restaurant close to home whose name translates to "Just Sushi", but the menu is vast. I have been going there with the Skipper and Delboy a lot lately and had a few meals there with new friends.
I am loving the cable internet, I don't watch TV or buy DVD's because of the possibility that contain no English, so much of my video entertainment is off the net, The skipper absolutely loves silent movies of any kind. Also a wide variety from the 30's - 50's. I must say I had a dallience with classic cinema when I was young and I do like an old time romance or comedy, it's true, they don't make em like they used to...
We need new teachers here badly, since the abrupt exit of a man I will refer to as le Pounce, we have been cut short. So I will have new classes and old classes.
I know my way around Moscow pretty much now and Delboy and the Skipper LOVE the symphony and all that - Del has a past in professional national symphonies of one sort of another, so he is pleased by the abundance and the sheer quality of the place.
My goal is to get to know the people. Understand the Russian Mind... It may take my sanity to do... But I must try... Also thinking about Kiev for Christmas and Vilnius for Easter! Eastern Europe at my fingertips...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sundaze With A Cherry On Top

It's Sunday again and thankfully I have the house to myself. I now know why I have such bad sinus headaches here, it is because the heating in this apartment building is centrally controlled and radiates from the water pipes in the living room and bathroom. Now this may be normal to some of my readers but for me it is a new thing. The saw dust (cleaned up) from last weekends window replacement is still lingering in the air and the dry heat inside the apartment is an odd combination that causes my sinuses to ache like crazy = Solution, go out more often.
I have an exam to write for tomorrow evening's class, Sadly, I am not allowed to take the text books home with me, company policy I think. Weighing it up, I have come to the conclusion that some of these students are my favourite, a joy to teach. But after next Friday this class will be finished and a new on will begin - (well I ain't holding my breath, they are SO disorganised here, I could be waiting 2 weeks.)
I was sick last Friday, now if anyone out there knows me, they know I am quite proud of the fact that I shun sick days and get on with getting on. But Friday's illness found me sitting across the expensive dining table in the tastefully decorated apartment of one quite famous student. As we were revising adverbs and tenses in sentences I suddenly had the strong urge to vomit, you know - the immediate projectile type that surprises you. Controlling that and rushing to the bathroom I composed myself but after several minutes I declared defeat against the fever the dizziness and the weakness and bid my student good bye. I called my boss, the priestess of compassion (sarcasm) and I made my way slowly home, thinking about the other 3 classes I had that day and wondering if they could be covered by other teachers or students called and cancelled on. I felt more guilty about that than anything else.
The weather is changing here and I need to pay more attention to what is happening around me rather then focusing on teaching.
Good news tho! The American teacher that came after me has quit. This spineless and prissy portrayal of a seasoned professor of English has been undone. He quit because the temporary accommodation, (a tiny room in an apartment of a baboshka who locked in out daily until 9pm) close to work was to be replaced at the end of the month with a warm and cosy apartment to share with another teacher 4 minutes walk from my house. He believed he had been through the ringer and the fact he had to move, not the fact that it was supremely better than his current situation was the excuse he used. I hated that pathetic excuse for a man, though I hide it for professional reasons of course. Well he didn't like me or anyone for that matter and because I was sick Friday he was asked to cover one of my classes, which he refused far too quickly, because as the contract states, if you refuse work when you are under you contracted quota you forfeit a weeks pay... So the fact that I wanted to break every bone in his body for the betrayal I felt was sated in a way by imagining the look on his face when he discovered the result of his arrogance.
A fellow teacher that Obi was in training with may be in need of a job as his contract and situation in a country close by is decaying at an alarming rate. So I put 2 and 2 together and suggested he apply quickly for the role recently vacated by that vacious vain professor.
Obi welcomes you to the Thunder Dome - two men enter, one man leaves.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Down and out in Beverley Hills

It has been a while since my last entry, to be honest life has been a handful, my workload has increased to its maximum and I have to go all over Moscow some days to students by the Metro, which at its best times is crowded, at its worse, impossible to traverse.
The weather here has changed for the colder, and my mood seems to have followed it. I find that so many things frustrate me, so many thing confuse me and I am no closer to understanding many of the ways of things here than I was sitting in a recliner at home in Melbourne.
Perhaps, as I 'lead' myself to believe, it is all part of the adjustment process.
  1. The wonder and excitement of being in a new country - city - career.
  2. The acceptance that this is now my home and as I grow familiar with the many daily oddities. This stage I am discovering is fraught with tests and disappointments. The betrayal and the blithe apathy of the people around me, namely my employers and the staggering lack on basic information communicated. The misunderstandings and the incomprehensions of the need for logic and processes.
  3. The final stage, as I envision it, is to accept what is around me and see the perfection in the folly. This I can say and write but cannot yet concieve of. Wish me luck readers.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Long legs and bad hair

Russian women - an observation...
What is it about Russian women? I mean they have lovely figures and on the whole at least 50% thinner than their western counterparts but the thing that lets them down the their hair...
The water here has a heavy mineral content and to that end, and I have seen it in my hair, it feels like wire half the time... I need hair mousse STAT! Siiiigh but I digress...
So many Russian women dye their hair and it is the platinum blonde type - done atrociously to my eyes - maybe being the son of 2 hairdressers I have powers and abilities beyond those of mortal men...
The hairstyles and colour jobs are painful to look at sometimes. I mean - is this a form of punishment in this country? I dunno...
Russian women in general like to be treated like the traditional lady you'd find in your mother and father time... That is nice but in the last 2 decades I have been used to the slow shift toward the centre in Australia, women in australia I find don't want the door opened so much, dont like seats given up for them or doors opened. It infringes on their equality - hey it ain't a bad thing just the way society changes... but here it is 1940 all over again.
Obi - viva the retro-lution

Sunday, October 08, 2006


Today was introduced to me through a bad nights sleep. I dunno why I fight to sleep - if I can't I shouldn't. I have been very dehydrated in the last few weeks, I think it is the heating in the places I live and work, water radiators and alike. Maybe I haven't got a clue, but made the effort over the last few weeks to drink more water. Seems to have helped.
A lazy lunch and then off to the metro to a station in the far north. To see my old friend Lena finally. So with Teddy bear in hand for her daughter and the traditionally gift of flowers I set off for parts unknown.
A lovely afternoon in a real Russian family home and a real Russian family! Lena had her mother and father and niece there for lunch. They all recalled that I had sent Lena a video of me and when I was younger - mostly 16 years younger, I was embarrassed and had forgotten about the video, but I was thought well of by her parents and her niece. We had a good chat and talked like old friends even though we had never met. We had written to each other for many years and then lost contact of each other.
The main reason I took the job in Russia was that I got a job offer the same day that I got a letter out of the blue from her and I thought that it was sign to come here. It has taken me 5 weeks to finally meet her and it was worth the wait.
A good weekend after a week of frustration. Now I am home to cleaning and cooking a little - The skipper is away for a few days and I am decompressing and chillin' in my Domie...
Obi is relaxing a little bit.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


Was ich kann und was ich könnte

Weiss ich gar nicht mehr

Gib mir wieder etwas schönes

Zieh mich aus dem Meer

Ich höre dich rufen…

Kannst du mich schreien hören

Ich bin hier allein

Ich höre dich rufen…

Ohne deine hilfe verliere ich mich in diesem Ort

four steps forward ninety steps back

The immense frustration the day-to-day stuff in this country causes me could power a small city. But there are times that it is all worth it…

Take today for example. I met some lovely people, Ginger and her husband and we went for a great game of bowling (and I won!) and then a walk in the autumn sunshine to a park surrounding Catherine The Great’s Summer Palace. We had lunch in a restaurant in the park and laughed and chatted and had a few beers. Finished off with a lot of great photographs around sunset.

That sorta makes up for the few shitty students I have, most are great, and the allergies the pathetic service and general difficulty in find anything you need.

Russia, as I am discovering, is a land of compromise. You just have to cope. The subway rush hour is like dealing with Melbourne Cup day transit EVERYDAY. Rush hour is actually the wrong term, coz it lasts for more than an hour. Normally 5 hours.

It is a beautiful city if you can see it in the right light. Lucky I have The Skipper to vent to and the several people who read this page. It seems require a month payment to have photos posted. So I will consider membership and then post my 1000 odd pics online for you all…
...did meet some TV celeb the other day - she is actually quite nice and personable... Her English is good too...

Thinking of visiting Kiev – actually pronounced keeev here… go figure…

Listening to Lily Allen’s album and various Whitlam's tracks…

Obi – Feeling the vibe and laying it down the line….

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Animation I LIKE!

I - Obi...