So here I am at Moscow Domodedovo International Airport, taking advantage of the free wifi to say hello to you guys. I never thought that leaving would come around so quickly! It’s one of those surreal situations where I feel like I've not been here any time at all, but, at the same time, like I've been here forever. Voronezh most certainly has become like home to me - four months is more than enough time to make friends, to get in to a routine and to know then real ins and outs of a place. It was sad to say goodbye to the lovely Galina (with whom I've been living all this time) and even sadder watching the city roll away through the train window.
Our journey was pretty uneventful. Плацкарт is not an enjoyable place in which to cram an overweight suitcase (26 kilos I'll have you know). Hoards of Russians had to help hoist it far above our heads and we all spent most of the night fearing the shelf would collapse underneath it and kill us all. Apart from the one snorer and the unbearable heat, it was as good as a 12 hour night train could be.
I kept waking up at random times throughout the night and, what with the snorer to keep us all awake, I had quite a bit of thinking time. I think I can speak for everyone when I say that Russia has taught us a lot. It can often be a weird and wonderful place but I can safely say that I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. What has made it the most special are the people I have met along the way and I want to thank every single one of them for helping me to have such an amazing time. Goodbyes have been hard and heartfelt!
Just wanted to give shout outs to a few special people:
My lovely students from VGY
I don’t even know what to say – you guys have been so friendly and welcoming to me and I have thoroughly enjoyed being your teacher. You are all so talented and I have no doubt that in the future you will go far! Keep practising and keep in touch – if you’re ever in England (or Spain) you know you’ll always have a friend to call. I will miss you!
Fifth year: thank you for all the champagne filled evenings, falling on your bums with me at ice-skating and also for all my lovely presents (I’ve been so spoilt!). I’m grateful for the guy who let off a pepper spray bomb on the second floor on Monday night – our café send-off was much better than a boring lesson ;)
Nataliya's wonderful baking skills (Bird's Milk Cake!)
'This is how you wear it like a Russian!'
You have been the most amazing teacher. We have left your class feeling so much more confident in our abilities to speak Russian. I will miss our customary чаепитие before every lesson and the whole class laughing together about our mistakes (‘я предпочитаю злоупотреблять белым вином’). Thank you for all you have taught us and I hope to see you again soon!
My wonderful хозяйка! Thank you so much for looking after me so well, for putting up with my mostly questionable Russian and for explaining the ways of the world to me. I will especially miss our morning chats over porridge and I hope I will come and visit soon!
I may be leaving the motherland on a 7.30pm flight but don’t worry it certainly won’t be the last post about the land of snow and vodka.
For the last time on the soil of Mother Russia...
With Love from the Motherland