23 October 2005

last pix for now

We're nearly to school now. After walking under and through this building (expensive furniture store on the left, Japanese restraunt on the right) you see this. Turn right, and you're nearly to school. Or, continue straight for a block to buy a Coke first. You can get a cold one for 20 R at the shop that looks like it's a florist. Acutally, the florist is in the front part. In the middle there is a shop that sells cleaning supplies, shampoo, lotions and nail polish remover (hard to find). At the back there is a small grocery shop. They have doughtnuts and salads and basic groceries. I thought I saw peanut brittle there one day! This shop sells beer, vodka, etc., too. There is often a queue at 8 am for alcohol. The shopkeepers sell it without batting an eye. But, my request for adeen bolshoi Coca Cola puzhalsta was greeted with an incredulous, "Coca Cola?" at that hour. The brick building is the fire station.

If you turn right, this is what you see. The yellow building is a newly remodeled kindergarten. It's vey smart! There are rumours of mafia money... Our school is next door to it, but in such a shady shpt that pictures are difficult to come by until the trees lose their leaves. Also seen in this picture is the less than lovely soviet contribution to the architecture of this city. The ugly, concrete boxes are quite a contrast to the rest of the city.

So, that's my walk to work! Thanks for coming along. It's takes 20 minutes to walk from the door of my flat to the door of the school. Now I'll reverse the journey and head home.


Troitsky Most

These are more pictures of my bridge. The one on the right is my favourite. They were taken on an early morning walk to school. Now, it's dark (or sometimes just in the morning twilight--"dawn" always seems to be a specific point in time. Dawn breaks. Twilight lingers. If "twilight" means between light and dark, can't we have twilight in the morning as well as in the evening? I choose to, no matter what anyone says.) on my way in to school.

And below we see the bridge from the Petrogradsky side of the river. The Neva looks so blue here! It's been black lately. You can see the Church of Spilled Blood spires rising like Dairy Queen ice cream behind. I live in the second block of flats to the right of the bridge (though not facing the river.)

and bobs

Here are some photos!

The building covered in scaffolding and green netting is mine--11 Milyonaya. My flat is on the top floor. I'm anxious to see what it looks like when it's unveiled. The dark green building at the end of the street is the Hermitage. Can you see it? The light green building in the foreground with "T-Albert" spray painted on it is where a Russian pop star lives.

If you come out of my flat and look right, you see the Hermitage. If you look left, this it what you see. The building on the right side of the street with the collums is T-Albert's. Just past that is the field of Mars. I turn left there to go across the bridge, Troitsky Most, to school (the Field of Mars is behind me as I cross the bridge).

Here is my bridge! It's my favourite part of my walk to school, and the most beautiful bridge in the city. It was designed by Mr. Eiffel, of towering fame. You can see the Aurora Crusier in this photo (sunk to avoid destruction by the Nazi's in WWII, just repainted yellow...). To the left of it is the mosque that looks like an evil spider. To the right is the MTC building. Our school is right behind MTC.


Our lovely indian summer is over. Last weekend it abruptly came to an end and autumn entered forcefully. Until that time, we'd been enjoying cool, sunny days. Last weekend it started raining and the temperature dropped. It was so cool on Tuesday that whomever is in charge of heating in this city turned on the heat at the school.

Most of the heating in the city is centrally controlled. The government--or the mininster in charge of climatic control or somesuch--turns it on after x number of days when the temperature is below y. X and Y are different for different categories of buildings--schools, public buildings, government offices, residences. My flat has its own heat...although the lowest setting is 39 C!! I've had heat on and windows open just like everyone else. I just had it sooner.

This week is fall break. Hooray! I got a flu shot on Friday (which seemed only sensible with the mobile, international student body we have) and am still feeling rotten. But, how WONDERFUL it is to know that I have the TIME to feel rotten. I've been lolling on the couch watching Joan of Arcadia (DVD)and last season's Strictly Come Dancing (BBC Prime). But, I pried myself off the couch and walked into school to say privet to all of you.

My computer has arrived!! Well, my Mac mini hard drive has arrived. It came over with a friend of another teacher. Now I have to get a monitor, keyboard and mouse. And, I have to have my broadband activated. This whole computer process started BEFORE I arrived. I was advised to sell my pc in England and wait until I got here to sort out a computer for here. (This was bad advice. Bring your computer with you if you move to Russia.) Then, when I arrived TWO AND A HALF MONTHS AGO, I asked about computers. I was told the IT guy would get me prices. The IT guy said he'd have prices for me the next day--with a school discount. I was asked about broadband (the last tenants had it) and I said to leave it turned on. Eight weeks later, I got the pc prices. The discount was only 4%. It was going to cost around $2000. I ordered a Mac from the US instead. I checked to be sure that my internet access was on and ready. It had been turned off. The estimates range from ten days to three months for having it turned back on.

This is my biggest frustration living in Russia. It was a similar frustration that I had in England, but it's much more pronounced here. Everything takes a LONG time. But, that's somewhat to be expected. What frustrates me is the resignation of the people around me. Everyone just shrugs and accepts inefficency. That drives me mad!

For now, though, I'm excited about having my computer at home. I'm looking forward to being able to chat with friends and browse through both information and shops online. I'm enjoying the time off and hoping to civilize my cat. I'm also planning a wander through the Hermitage. I'll let you know how I find it...


ps I've changed the settings regarding publishing comments. PLEASE don't let this discourage you. Knowing that these blogs are being read is the only thing that keeps me writing. Sometimes I feel like a falling tree in a Russian forest. I only changed the setting to stop the annoying spamentators--or whatever they're called. Please register and comment! I haven't received any spam from being registered here...


07 October 2005

worldly goods

My shipment arrived on Tuesday! The school shipped six cubic meters of my things to Russia for me. With all my culling (read: selling nearly everything I owned to go to drama school--and then being an actor without the means to buy it all back), ALL my worldly goods fit in that six cubic meters! (Okay, I DID ship many boxes from England...)

When they came to pack me up, I chatted to the movers. I said I thought it would be interesting to see what people chose to fill their allocated space. He said that most people ship food! I wonder what my things said about me?

When the boxes arrived, it was interesting to see how they have sorted and labelled my life. All the boxes said "books", "photos" or "linens". There were two boxes that said "dishes" (gotta love Pottery Barn...). And, that's pretty much what there was! I have lots of paper in my life...

While it's nice to have my things again, it makes me feel LESS at home in some ways. Now that the bookshelves are full of Jane and Charles and William, and MY bed is in the bedroom covered in periwinkle sheets, a charcoal tweed spread and Faith's purply-blue blanket, and the wardrobe has a bit of Emma & Maddie's artwork up it feels less like my place, somehow. Before, it was just a place I was living. I knew the, frankly, UGLY wallpaper wasn't mine. I knew the, frankly, ugly rug wasn't mine. They were just there. It was like living in a hotel. Now, the wallpaper and the rug look even LESS kateish when compared to genuine kateish things...

It's time to hit eBay and IKEA for kateish bits...