07 June 2008

Post Number 169

Yes, I give myself an F for the getting-to-two-hundred-posts experiment. Four days with no posts is not a good way to start out, especially since I've got less than two months left here.

So, here is a post that's just about what's going on in my life, in case you were interested:
1. Teaching. Our semester goes until FOREVER. Russian schools and (it seems) almost every other university in the entire Russian Federation have finished their school years, but we haven't. I teach, technically, until June 21.
2. Why 'technically?' Partly because my students are all writing their term papers and studying for exams, so they show up to class, shall we say, intermittently. And also because I'm supposed to start working at an Embassy-sponsored summer camp in nearby Novocherkassk on June 16th. Technically.
3. Again with the 'technically?' Yes. Because a) I haven't heard anything at all from this camp so far, which leads me to suspect that it might not be happening. And b) on June 16th I'll be in Moscow.
4. I'm going on a(nother) trip! It's a trip to Pskov to see Amara/help her move to Moscow. She landed a great job there, which is awesome. But also sad, because it means she won't be in DC to goof off with me.
5. DC, right. Georgetown starts in late August. I'll be there for my birthday, probably doing fun things like choosing classes, moving into an apartment, maybe obtaining furniture. Perhaps I'll celebrate the same way I celebrated my third birthday, which is by going to IKEA and playing in the ball pit.
6. All the rigamarole of moving to DC is going to have to happen quickly, because I'm not coming home until early August. Why? The Great Baikal Trail. I've dreamed of working on it for as long as I've known about it, and now I'm going to! Baikal is pretty much my favorite place on earth, and in the process of getting there I might get to go back to Ulan-Ude, where I worked last summer. So I'm pretty excited!
7. That's in the second half of July, so the first half is wide open. Haven't really figured out what I'll be doing, but hopefully it'll involve some traveling, since I won't have an apartment in Taganrog anymore. Possibilities: Elista, Trans-Siberian out to Baikal, Petersburg (for the sixth time... unlike Moscow, it's a city I can't really get enough of). Moldova was a possibility, but now that I've promised not to leave the country again, I guess it's not.
8. Balalaika. In case anyone was worried, the lessons are still going strong. I was forced to perform last night at our institute's Russian Language Party (yes, again with the language-themed parties), which was well received despite my less-than-perfect performance of "Play, My Bagpipes" and "Hey, Get Home, All You Gossipy Women!" (Russian folk songs... no, I didn't know Russians had bagpipes, either). I guess foreign-girl-playing-Russian-folk-instrument is pretty much always going to be well received. Anyway, Mikhail Semyonovich has deemed my folk repertoire sufficiently large, and we've moved on to balalaika transcriptions of classical repertoire (a sonata by Paganini and a minuet by Boccherini that I guarantee you'd recognize if you heard it). Much harder than folk music, but also a lot of fun.

I guess that's all for now. Note to self: write about Yalta, and Taganrog's street names.


Anna-Martha said...

Hi Leslie!
Those are some awesome song titles! and I'm impressed that you're moving on to classical on the balalaika. I hope I get to hear you play again someday! (that is, I hope you take a road trip with your balalaika to California!)

And I've probably told you this 20 times by now but HURRAH for GBT!!!!! You will love it so much. You have to tell the leaders hi from me - especially Lena and Anna (haha, opps, I don't remember their patronymics, and probably everyone is named Lena or Anna, on one trail project I went on there were 3 other Annas). And say hello to Baikal from me while you're at it .... come to think of it, my Russian visa is still valid, too bad Baikal is halfway around the world- its been three years and Im still in siberian taiga withdrawal. :)

Anonymous said...

Leslie, hi, weare making final preparations(visa) for our trip. There are 12 of us and we will be visiting Vlad and then spending the rest of our time in Partizansk.
Looking forward to everything we see and live. We will arrive the end of June and stay until mid July. Come see the "crazy Americans". Sharon