My posts are usually optimistic, because when I have something to complain about, I usually just talk my mom’s ears off on Skype. But, in order to give a full picture of living and teaching abroad in Siberia, I should include some of the minuses, too! I’ll take this moment now to smear your computer screen with negativity. Hurray!
I’m very grumpy.
Fall (aka “Degenerate Gymnastics”) Count 2011-2012: 1, as of two days ago. Slipped on the icy stairs. Lost my balance on frozen steps, fell a bit, thought I caught my balance, but actually caught my heel on the edge of a step, then hit every step on the way down on my shins. Broke my heel(of shoe). Covered in shin-bruises. (Side note: when retelling story to Russian comrade, forgot word for “a fall” but knew root – пад – so formulated whatever came first – this being распад – this meaning collapse (ie of soviet union). vocabulary crisis).
Got sick, not terribly, but enough to make 12 hours/day at the university exhausting. These are not my regular hours, but I had to come in psychotically early to return the key I absentmindedly took home with me, before anyone could find out / freak out / flip out / kick me out.
Not enjoying finally finishing the day only to come home and spend the rest of my time making lesson plans.
Went to a Russian class for the first time, brimming with excitement. Only to be tragically disappointed when the professor told me she’s already given her lectures and it will only be student presentations for the rest of the semester. (“You should have signed up earlier!!!” she bellows. “I #@%$@#%@ TRIED!!!!” I whine inside.)
A student told me yesterday that my classes aren’t helping. That really hurt, actually. I guess I don’t mind working hard if I know there will be results, but I can’t stand working in vain, and to think I’m not doing anything for them is endlessly maddening.
My Norwegian students are doing very well, though, which I am overjoyed about.
I don’t have time to study Russian. Or, I suppose I do, but I spend that time reading in English, because I get frustrated with my days and want that respite where I don’t have to be responsible for anything but enjoying someone else’s hard work.
The snow is beautiful, absolutely divine, but -20 at the start of November is cold. Also, wind.
Crazy fact: there is a week off for “fall quarantine” – when school (not university, K-12 school) administrators decide that too many kids are getting sick, so they call an impromptu quarantine. Quarantine!! What a word!! This was on Monday. Doesn’t happen to university students, though… shucks.
I know as “Fulbrighters from Abroad” we’re expected to be these miracle teachers, who will come in and wipe away students’ rough-around-the-edges pronunciation, fix all those nagging grammar mistakes, and make them all into perfect Translaters-Businessmen-HollywoodActors-BBQMasters that make their country and city proud. I admit to having bought into all that at the start; I, too, envisioned myself as this hero teacher that just flew in from some other land to make everything better with a spoonful of Fair Trade Organic sugar. But shoot… I’m not succeeding!!