bloom and grow forever

I'm sure the Baroness will be able to make things fine for you. If not, a year in Russia sure will.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Real Estate

I'm sad about leaving my apartment. It has three rooms, which is big for here. One is for the owner's dusty, pre-revolutionary junk, but the other two are clean and large and bright. We don't have the standard, oppressively large wooden shelf/cabinet/display case combo that dominates most homes. The windows are big, and the cream-colored wallpaper is new. My ceiling has nifty glow-in-the-dark stars, and a door leads out to a spacious balcony. The kitchen has nice cabinets and a working stove and fridge. The floor is swept clean and the counters are uncluttered. The dishes mostly match and the curtains have jolly elephants on them. The bathroom has been recently remodeled, and the water pressure is excellent.

I'm a ten-minute walk from a bus stop on the main circle line in Vladimir, so transportation is reliable. But that walk can be very long and dark. And (if you imagine a clock face), if the city center and the American Home are at 12, I live at 6. It takes me 30 minutes to get to work.

I'm going to live alone next year, and see how it goes. We'll see if I can cook and clean and entertain myself and my guests. I had a chance to rent an acquaintance's (continuing a theme: her name is Tanya) one-room place over on Verkhnaya Dubrova street, but it's not on the main but route and has no furniture. As exciting as redecorating might sound, it's not something I can embark upon with my current salary. Local real estate listings are known to be somewhat less than honest, and they don't list prices.

And so I'm going to live in Joanna's current one-roomer. I know it well, from much tea-drinking, tv-watching, game-playing, and post-banya snoozing. I'm not thrilled about the pathetic shower or the 1000-year-old stove. And I know I sound privileged when I say I don't want to have to light a fire in some mysterious box when I want hot water, but there it is. I don't want to have to light fires.

It's the third stop from the center on the circle line, and from the stop to my door it's about 2 minutes. On a speedy marshrutka, I can get to work in about 12 minutes, or walk in 25. And being lead teacher, and being so conveniently located, I intend to have the coolest apartment around. We'll see how the landlord and neighbors feel about that.

politics outside Joanna's apartment

Busy Work

I need to give my student Nastya a little more classwork. Somehow during a lesson she managed to procure this yellow balloon and draw a not-half-bad portrait of me.


I spent Easter in Bogolyubovo with Lena and Sasha, and ate amazing cabbage pies and drank wine while waiting for the procession around the monastery at 1 am. The place was packed, and we didn't even make it inside the church for the service that followed. But we were able to cry out, joyfully and exhaustedly, and at least ten times before the little tank-babushki trampled us, "Voistine Voskrese!"

Here's their adorable little wooden house, and Sasha in front of the monastery.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Sunset in Bogolyubovo

I spent an awesome Sunday in Bogolyubovo with my ZI student Tanya. I met her 5-year-old daughter (who peed on me when I was tickling her) and had dinner with her friend Lena. Lena's fabulous and funny, and her little wooden house is full of art by her French artist husband. Her daughter Sasha is an instant-kindred-spirit kind of person with dreams of hitchhiking to Austria.

I've also been to our favorite cafe, Coffee Bean, with my AII students Tanya and Lena to talk about ex-husbands, boyfriends, and cheating.

And life without Irina (who's happily settled in China) is going well. My new roommates Tanya and Lena are fun, even though I only see them after 11 pm and before 9 am.

Tanya and Lena, Tanya and Lena, Tanya and Lena. So it goes.