Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Catch Up/Vyborg

So life itself has gone pretty normal since the last post. First, I'd like to mention the weather which is something that usually happens when one has nothing else to talk about. However, the weather has been great, and by that I mean cool and cold, which suit me wonderfully. Apparently one of my coworkers has found a winter coat from a sale kiosk that is going to be excellent for him. It's a great leather coat with an extra lining and while it probably regularly runs about $700 or so (exchanging the rubles) he paid about $80, no joke. Ok, it's used (hence the discount) and he should repair the pockets, but for that kind of discount, I'm down. Well, I'm still on the lookout for my coat, but I'll admit I'm a little more picky for what I'm looking for. Still though, great deal. And that original price is probably what it would cost here in Russia, not the US.

As for work, well we've settled in nicely, and by that I mean that I'm working a lot of hours now as classes are running a regular schedule. Overall they're good, but I'd be happy to change the discipline of a few of my teenagers. And yes that means that while 7 years ago while I dreamt of teaching highschool, after my year of substituting, I still prefer the adults. This was a conclusion I came to last time I was here, even though I didn't have teens, but is completely reinforced this time around. I enjoyed my teens while I subbed, but I'm not entirely sure I can deal with them all the time (God save the students who were like me b/c we all know I was probably like those I'm dealing with now and I'm currently being punished for my own sins). It's like when you're a terrible child and your parents say, "I hope you have a kid just like you one day so that you understand." Well, it's not parenting, but I was a terrible 7th grader, so my teens are terrible to me. The adults are so much more manageable. Another reason to teach college and not high school, so whenever I return to the US, it's college education I feel like I'm seeking. Seriously God bless those who can handle otherwise. And sadly it's really only about 3 of them, really 1 of them, but together . . .

The rest are great, even my other teen class is great. I love them and they love their co-teacher Laurence, a teddy-bear who was given by a colleague of the same name when he left. I enjoyed Laurence the person, and the teddy-bear has been a great help to the class. Overall, the classes are going well and I can't complain. I do feel bad for the teens who have the distracting students though b/c many of them are smart and deserve the ability to learn, but a few are currently ruining it for them.

Non class: So we went to Tavrichesky Sad a couple weeks ago walking Karma through the park and it was great. The water was a little low in the pond/moat and thus people went onto the island to play with the yellow leaves. We watched a group of teens try for about 15 minutes to get their soccer ball out of the water once they lost it and we had a wonderful stroll through the park just enjoying the weather and the frosty company.

In our room Daria and I have laid a layer of non-carpet carpet (it's not nailed down and the wall-wall isn't perfect, but kovralene isn't the same as kovar or something like that so it isn't meant to be perfect). It's been good for keeping the dust down and it's been soft on the feet and Karma has enjoyed it. We've also done a lot of rearranging of the furniture, and it looks great. I enjoy the space and the rearrangement.

A few weeks ago I had lunch with a few former clients and it was a delicious lunch. The walk itself toward their company (and thus lunch) was like walking to teach their class. However, the company was great and I was happy to see them again. Perhaps I can teach them again. I had to start my first Russian lesson after lunch that day, and that was also great. It feels good to be studying Russian again. So far it's more revision, but it's still good. And this time at least I have a book, so I think it is better than last time where she had to construct everything from scratch (God bless her for that). I'm back with my same teacher, but with a book and back to learning. However, as I posted on facebook, I'm afraid of losing my Greek and Latin, so I also feel the need to study those a little more again.

Last weekend we went to Vyborg, which we went to a couple years ago. Since I wasn't so savvy on blogging last time I don't have the pictures to share about that experience which means while I took a bunch, they aren't here for the "repeat" so I have to share a bunch of those this time around. Vyborg is a small city a few hours north of SPB, but had a great medieval militarily strategic defense: water, a castle, a tower, and flat land that it could see in miles in every direction. Unfortunately when the surrounding areas fell so did it b/c it couldn't defend the rest even though it was strategically placed, so between Sweden and Russia this fortress went. We walked through the park, ate some pies and pickles and recalled 2 years ago eating chicken salad and our walk. It is a beautiful day excursion recommended to anyone.

Last week, I was supposed to preach and lead the service, but our senior warden had a mixup in his calendar. I don't hold him at fault given how crazy our situation is, but we gave it to the guy who was scheduled a couple months ago instead of me scheduled the previous week. So I wrote a sermon that wasn't preached and was ready to lead, but it's ok. I'm writing that fact more for 20 years from now for my memory than anything. I did however preach today. It was a mediocre sermon, but we had a large attendance today thanks to a touring group; about 64 adults and 7 children I believe was the count. Whatever happens, the last 3 weeks have been good to be back at the Anglican Chaplaincy.

And overall it's been wonderful to be back in SPB: the Chaplaincy, Language Link, the Weather, have all been great. No complaints and yay for the snow.

Photo note: blogger was misbehaving last Sunday when I wrote this (I changed some times to reflect today so when I say I was meant to preach last Sunday, that was the 19th when I wrote most of this, and I preached this morning on the 26th, so some amendments have been made). I wanted to include many more photos, but I'm just going to publish this and I'll tack some photos meant for this post into the next.

So I just wanted to include photos of different stages of the construction happening near our house. This is across the street from the Georgian Church on our street corner and it was an auto-repair place, however, it's been torn down (in this picture still in process, but as you'll see later, it's gone now) and rumors have it that it'll be the new residence for the American Consulate.

Dear US: Is this what you looking for? This was quickly taken trying to avoid getting busted for it, but those are police vehicles and behind the bus are fully armored trucks. Not military, just police. And the two guys standing in the middle of the road next to the car are police, not military, and across their backs are fully-automatic guns (hence why I took a quick, not a very good photo). Police do not need this kind of weaponry, or armored vehicles.

This is Laurence. Laurence is named after a former colleague (he worked with me last time I was here, but he left this summer to return to the UK) and he is named such because the teacher Laurence gave the bear to Language Link. Laurence helps to teach my elementary teen class (and they love him). This particular day was hilarious though b/c Laurence confiscated 2 cell phones. However, after two, the other 4 students offered up their phones and other things. He collected 6 cellphones, 8 rubles (I don't know why the money), a paper airplane, and Beats by Dre headphones. We had to get a picture.

Just one of the pictures from the botanical gardens for the Mushroom and Berry festival. I wanted to show some of the beautiful flowers from the gardens.

There are more mushrooms from the Mushroom festival we went to and I wanted to include more. This is part of what needs to get adjusted.

Great fall colors at Tavrichesky Sad.

More great colors.

The building from above completely torn down. We'll see what becomes of this lot across from the Georgian Church.

In Vyborg, standing on some ice. Had to document the first instance of the year. About 1 or so in the afternoon. October 18th. Frozen. Fantastic!!!!!

Frost on the grass and leaves in the middle of the afternoon not too far from where my feet were in the above picture.

Transitioning back a week to October 12 in Tavrichesky Sad. Blogger you suck for now with the photograph stuff.

I like this picture a lot. Karma is still attached to me, but cannot be seen as she's 180 degrees from the camera on the other side of me.

More of the park.

And more.

Of course we couldn't only take pictures of me. Daria too.

Still the park.




Back to Vyborg on Oct. 18th. Still near the center of the city, walking around the inlet to get to market and eventually on the way to the park.

Frostiness up close.

Out of the trees, overlooking the inlet toward the tower we climbed that sees over everything.

Not sure if I can say Poseidon or if there's a Norse/Karelian god who was ruler of the sea, but there's a trident so . . . 

From atop the tower.

Finger making the mark.

Discovered a panoramic feature on the camera. First attempt at using it.

A little better.

More panorama.

Back down on the ground on cobblestone. I'm sure the stone is newer, but the street (still within the fortress) is about 800+ years old.

I gave my hand at catching the reflection in the still water.

Entering . . . nothing special. A vast empty space on the way to the park.

Ashberry. They survive all winter long on the branches after the leaves have fallen. They also make great additions to applesauce when making it or for flavoring vodka.

First picture within Monrepo Park. A cat was pouncing all over this field and a dog was just enjoying the show. 

A close-up of said cat.

So you can kinda see the frost on the grass here. Seriously, this was a field of frost that had not thawed despite the afternoon sun. A full field of frost.

Another hand at the panoramic shot. This one I liked a lot. I think this covers about 220 degrees around me.

Despite the ordering that I'm not going to try and fix, the field of frost should be right above this one, and this is another angle of it.

Standing on the field of frost.

This tree was just really cool. Look at that that shape. This was panoramic in the vertical form.

Enchanting! :)

Cattails!!! In bloom and fuzz flying everywhere.

Don't be fooled, that "castle" is rather small and relatively close. Perhaps about twice the size of our bedroom for the overall square footage.

The joy of throwing leaves in the air.

The following pictures (below) are of some cool designs throughout the city of Vyborg.

And snow on Sunday in the city!!!! What :)