For Pete's sake, I should have taken up the domra... What is it with people wanting English lessons in exchange for balalaika lessons?
Not my teacher, Mikhail Semyonovich, of course. I can't imagine he'd have any use for English. But he seems to have told a colleague of his that I'd tutor her grown son, who works with computers and wants to "perfect his spoken English."
I did my best to politely explain that according to the terms of my grant, I'm not allowed to earn money. Why did I say that? It's true, but what I should have said was that I am not interested in spending my free time doing the same thing I do with my non-free time, which is also the truth. Of course, when faced with the money problem, he came up with the solution that this colleague will pay for my balalaika lessons in exchange for the English lessons. Déjà vu, anyone? At least I wouldn't have to teach him Spiderman vocabulary and play endless games with his Scooby Doo trading cards like my last balalaika-exchange student (God willing).
Right now I'm just mad, because his reaction to my refusal seemed to indicate that he has indeed already told this colleague that I'll do it. (Well, your problem is not my problem, Mikhail Semyonovich!) And I'm determined that when I meet this woman at a balalaika concert next Wednesday, I'll say no. No more letting people co-opt my free time because I don't know how to say no.
Anyway, off to drown my anger in Moldovan wine at the home of one of my students, who is half Moldovan and half Turkmen.