Monday, November 5, 2012


So the month of October has seen things more settled down. Daria was (and still is) busy with internship applications, so we haven't had any big excursions which we still want/need to do. As I mentioned in the previous post, we did have a few day trips out to Lisiy Nos.

The cool weather has definitely come settling in and mid-late October we saw the first snows, although much of that has melted away again. While it was getting cool in September, the apartment was also cool because the city controls when the heat is turned on. So late nights in September I'd walk around with a sweater. In October the heat was turned on, through radiators which we have some control over but not much, and so I am able to walk around with shorts and a t-shirt inside. It's a little unsettling, but that's the way it is. Don't put the coat on until you're ready to go outside b/c otherwise you'll roast.

My Russian is certainly improving, but not at the speed I had hoped. However, when we went to visit Olya and Vova and Nadia on Friday night I was able to converse minimally and they noticed and appreciated my improvement. We have seen them a couple times throughout the month. Daria meets with Olya about once a week and then Olya's birthday was the last week of Oct, so we went there for a party and played a little poker with the chips, but without the cash.

Daria has also actively gotten involved volunteering her clinical skills once a week at a local center. Additionally, her supervisor invited her to participate at a national conference for LGBT rights that was held here in SPB. Whether you agree or not with the right for LGBT people to marry, Russia does a pretty good job completely suppressing the LGBT community from society on all fronts. The idea of someone who does not fall completely into a hetero-normative category isn't just shunned or mocked, they're ignored and not spoken about as though they don't even exist. In addition to the one center, Daria is trying to get involved at another crisis support center, but that one is a little slower in the uptake.

While we haven't gone anywhere, at the beginning of October we went to a rock club where 4 bands played covers of 90s Russian rock songs. Each group played about 7 or 8 songs, and while I didn't understand the lyrics, the music was fantastic. Russian groups like ддт, корол и шут, алиса, and сплин and others that I cannot remember. I have since updated my music library.

To bookend the beginning with rock, near the end of October we went to the philharmonic. Olya's brother Philip was one of the cellos, which was part of the reason we went that night, but we want to attend such things anyway. This was at the "small hall" of the two philharmonics here. Wonderful performances of one of Mozart's pieces, and then Tchaikovsky's "Florence," which is tumultuous b/c it is allegro, but in a minor key. I'm glad we were able to experience that.

As for Halloween, well it's really not a thing here like it is in the US. However, Language Link decided to decorate the office and we did Halloween themed lessons anyway. My intermediate class loved it, but my pre-intermediate class was indifferent. I wonder how much that is b/c of vocabulary or just class temperament.

As the temperature was cooling Ella loved to crawl into the wardrobe and curl into a ball near the shoes. Apparently cats like dark, enclosed spaces prior to drastic temperature drops. Well she predicted it well. Then she comes out and as we enter November we've seen warmer weather and autumnal rains.  From days of -1C we are now back up to 5 or 6C. Although the forecast puts us back to -1 for Saturday.

Well I'm off to go grade some short writing assignments, but that should catch us up to the current state of things. I'll try not to let it slide by 2 months.

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