Monday, 16 December 2013

A rather Russian weekend actually...getting in the spirit and all that!

It feels very surreal to be writing about my very last weekend in Russia. Just a few months ago I was taking my first few tentative steps on to Russian soil and now here we are...

Thursday (weekends can start on Thursday right?!...that's where our party begins even if you disagree :P)

This was the dreaded sight that greeted us on Monday morning but...

After a dreaded four day 'finals' period, all our exams were finally over! We decided that celebrations were most definitely in order (a last hurrah if you will)...especially because we were going to be three men down as of Friday night. Yes, our forces are depleting as people go home for Christmas. A few of us went to a favourite restaurant, named Bistrot (yes with t on the end) to fill up on Italian food. It is a hard thing to explain to people that have not been to Russia but a lot of the time international food served in Russian restaurants just tastes like Russia...maybe its the way they cook it, or maybe they sneakily add some dill (Russians have a disturbing love affair with dill)?? Who knows! Luckily, Bistrot isn't one of these places and Italian food actually tastes like Italy. Christmassy decor, brushcetta, pizza and wine...what more could one wish for? Needless to say it was lush!

Our lovely adorned chandelier...
Precursor to a great night...imported wine that doesn't taste like nail varnish remover (WIN!)
Gorgonzola and Fragrant Pear Pizza!


As soon as we saw the advert for this baby back in October, we knew we had to see it. Disney's Frozen or Cold Heart as it is translated in Russian is the best we have to work with this year when it comes to Christmas films. Having seen a few dubbed films, I held the highest hopes for this one - mainly because with a target age of around 6 or 7 I thought I stood a good chance of understanding! Turns out I was right...I loved it! Isobel and I fell in love with the cheeky reindeer Sven (don't know if he has a different name in English?). I would love to see it in English as well, mainly because Idina Menzel plays the voice of Elsa - musical fans will know what I mean!! A nice, chilled last night for Isobel before she jetted home on Saturday morning!


Definitely the most Russian of all nights! Aware of a looming leaving date, I've become very suddenly aware of all the things that I intended to do in Russia that I just haven't quite got round to...Ice Skating was one such thing. So I took the plunge and invited some of my 5th year English students along to the local rink...we were escorted by two perfect gentlemen - Max (Russian) and Brandon (American) - who held us up for the remainder of the night. Considering I only fell on my bum once and the only injury to speak of was the massive blisters I got from my rented figure skates, I deem the adventure a success. Followed by a round of vodka in the local cafe, it was definitely a night to remember!
Kira, Svetlana and I.
My lovelies!
Nataliya, Svetlana and I

As you guys know, on Sundays I teach English to kids in an Immersion Club at Linguist. It was our last club and we completed the Christmas project we had started the week before. Sam and I told the kids of British club all about how we celebrate Christmas. The more we told them about all our traditions, the weirder we realised British Christmas sounds when its explained to foreigners! Neither the Russians nor the Americans knew about Christmas Crackers (no silly hats, toys and jokes for them on Christmas!. They were horrified by the idea of gravy and bread sauce. One thing they did love, however, was the idea of setting Christmas pudding on fire. They made a mini presentation about all they had learnt to show to the American Club, whilst American club performed a rather lovely waltz rendition of the Jingle Bell Rock - much classier than the Mean Girls one we all know and love! We then shared Secret Santa presents from under the tree and played a few rounds of was sad to say goodbye to the kids but it was a pleasure to meet and teach them.
British Club, Sam and I
American Club, Dominique and Brandon
Staff (left to right) Dominique, Sam, Me, Brandon, Max, Rada and Gleb.

After club, the lovely Gleb invited us to his place for pizza, youtube surfing and general merriment as a little staff goodbye - he is the best host (would definitely recommend popping round if you're ever in Voronezh ;) )!

Cold related anecdotes of the week:
I was running late for work so I had to brave the -9 temperatures with wet hair. In the 10 minutes it took me to walk to work, my hair froze solid.  Don't tell my Babushka - if the cough I got as punishment doesn't kill me, she will!

All in all, my last weekend in Voronezh was one to remember - simple pleasures and time spent with new found friends.
С Рождеством (Merry Christmas) from Ploshad Lenina!

With love from the Motherland xXx

Don't worry - this won't be my last post from Voronezh. Look out for a couple of quick ones before I depart on Friday...

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