23 October 2005


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...


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