Thursday, May 23, 2013

enjoying football and vicariously watering trees

After our return from Scandinavia life has not returned to normal. That first Monday was really hard. It was beautiful weather and I was still in vacation mood and I just wanted to sit outside absorbing the sun and reading a book. Did I say that Monday? Let me rephrase. That first week. And actually the weekend and this week too. Ok, so we've had some rain, but it's come intermittently as the spectacular thunderstorms live fast and depart allowing the sunshine to return. In fact, today is the first day it's been gloomy all day, but the grey sky and cool weather only makes you want to curl up with a nice cup of tea and relax and continue to enjoy life. So pretty much since vacation I either want to sit outside and read or sit inside and read (the latter only today).

That's not to say that I haven't enjoyed work. Classes are still great and once I'm engaged with the class I have a blast. It really only speaks to the motivation to get started with work. My company class is winding down and will take their final test tomorrow and we will begin Pre-Intermediate soon (I will start and someone else will have to carry on from there). My intermediate class has had some great discussions about local markets versus supermarkets and immigration and racism and the like. My upper-indermediate class discussed the taboo topic of abortion, whether celebrities need privacy or if they chose the limelight forever, and we listened to Tool's song "Vicarious" discussing whether we get our fix for tragedy by living vicariously through the news. The classes have been wonderful, it's just finding the motivation amidst the revival of life as spring unfolds. I also taught a business workshop last Friday since my boss took off the last 6 weeks or so of her pregnancy (due in June) and cannot teach the workshops anymore. While I know little of business it was still fun to teach. Lastly, during a class discussion about movies we had "Silence of the small sheep" when some students couldn't remember the word "lamb." Somehow that makes it seem less terrifying even though the silencing is still happening.

On Sunday Daria and I joined one of my students in going to a Zenit (SPB football - that's soccer to all you Americans - club). It was a fantastic experience and all I could think about as they were warming up was how much I missed doing those drills too. Their play wasn't the best, but it wasn't bad either, but overall it was nice to have been there. Both teams got a red card (Zenit because a player has a tenuous relationship with the fan section and gave them the full arm version - not the finger version - of F U). This relationship is understandable considering the "fan section" causes lots of problems and may even make the Oakland Raiders' fans seem tame. However, we won 3-1 and it was a lot of fun to be at a Zenit game. The day started with hot sunny weather and ended with rain and thunder and lightening (but the game was not called).

I'd like to say that the White Nights are almost here. This morning the sun rose at 5.04 and will set at 10.48 with the actual light extending long before and long after sunrise/set. However this means that people who drink too much in public where a public bathroom might not be available do not have their dark, shadowy corner to relieve themselves in. Apparently a park near Kazanskii Cathedral has a tree that is well known as "the pee tree." Last Thursday some co-workers and I bought some beer at a local market and went to this park to enjoy the bright night and warm weather instead of going to a pub. Some people definitely were using the tree (and no not just guys, but women squatting too). This past Monday I saw two women squatting in a corner as best sheltered as they could be buy cars, but still visible enough for me to see while walking to the bus stop. Now honestly I will not hold judgment because I know the same could be seen in any city in the US if there was light enough to permit it. I do not so much mark it as a sign of being uncivilized (when ya gotta go ya gotta go and it can be seen near any college campus) as I do just laugh that what was once sheltered by the darkness of night is now revealed. And I also laughed that the two young women on Monday were yelled at by an older woman walking by.

Let us all feel rejuvenated by spring, perhaps get some good friends together and enjoy a light lager together, and celebrate life.

Gotta show off the Moomin tie. And while this is just half a face I actually think this is a cool picture.

One view of Tavricheskiy Sad from Wednesday, May 15th.

Another view of the park. Same day. Clearly it's no longer drying out and people can be in the park again. It's amazing what long house of sunlight and a little rain can do to turn grey to green.

Also the 15th. A view of Kazanskii and part of the park where "the pee tree" is.

I posted this on facebook. This was taken at exactly 10pm on May 15th. Look how much sunlight is still on Kazanskii.

The next day (Thursday) at roughly 11pm. This blue is actually darker than what it seems. Also there are little cards on the  tops of columns that say Христос Воскрес! (Christ is Risen).

Ella decided that messing up folded t-shirts and crawling into the clothes made a good bed. I can't fault her. She's too cute.

Before we entered the stadium when it's hot and sunny. And of course a proper Zenit scarf because scarfs are very important for proper football (I'm not joking). You can kind of see the symbol on the bottom and this scarf has the lyrics to the team song.

Daria and I in the stadium before the match began. The stadium was mostly full.

The four of us: my student's friend, my student Pavel, me, and Daria. It started to cool by now (maybe the first shower had even come and gone).

And the fireworks over in the crazy fan section.

The final score.

The stadium from the other side of the bridge.

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