This week we started our actual lessons with a proper timetable and everything! I have SO MUCH grammar. I hate grammar; in fact I couldn’t spell it for the whole of first year (grammEr) as I hated it so much – although maybe this shows how much I need it. I admit my Russian grammar is terrible… but so is my English! I know it’s going to do so much good but at the moment I wish we didn’t have so much! We’ve also started translating from English to Russian. It’s a lot harder than from Russian to English as you have to know every word and the grammar for it. It’s really difficult but I can tell I’m being pushed so it will probably do me good!
In one of our lessons this week we went to a café with some Russian students from a university nearby and had to ‘get to know them’. It felt like we were being sent on a blind date by our teachers. But it ended up being really fun and we managed to have a conversation with them for over an hour. We’re meeting up with them again tomorrow so hopefully this will give us our longed for Russian friends!
Yesterday we had to go to the British embassy for a ‘Health and Security Briefing’. Two weeks into our time here. Surely if this is so necessary we needed this when we arrived? As we expected it was completely ridiculous and they basically told us everything we already knew, ie. ‘Don’t get into an unlicensed taxi that already has people in it. Don’t get drunk and talk to the police. Don’t walk alone at night in dodgy places.’ Who would be stupid enough to do these? Sometimes I feel like we’re being treated like we’re idiots. We had a health talk about things like the safety of drinking tap water and stuff. Hilariously after all these talks the biggest information we found out was DON’T GO NEAR DOGS. Apparently dogs are our biggest enemy because if they bite us we will surely die. Well. They didn’t exactly say that but they did keep going on and on about rabies. I keep seeing stray dogs now and fearing for my life.
Some of the people in my group loved the British embassy a bit too much! I know lots of people are missing Britain but I feel like we should be trying to enjoy our time here as much as possible and enjoying what an amazing privilege we have to live in Russia for a whole year, not think about everything that we miss from Britain! I have to admit right now I want some TOAST more than anything in the world (no toaster, grill doesn’t work) but I have learnt to let it go and instead enjoy my dill covered bread.
The best part of this week has been that I have found a church that I LOVE. My friend travelled around Russia a lot last year and he told me about this church in Moscow. I looked it up on the internet and went to check it out this evening (they have services on Saturday evenings as well as Sunday mornings and afternoons – this is perfect because I can decide whether I want to get up early or have a lie in on Sundays!). So me and Anabelle went armed with only a small map. We managed to find the street and I expected it to be quite small so we looked in all the smaller buildings around where it should be but couldn’t find it. I prayed. We turned round and I saw a huge building that we’d completely ignored thinking that couldn’t be it. We walked up to it. There was a cross inside. Potentially we had found it. We walked into a small dark room and my heart sank thinking this couldn’t be it then a man told us to go through and we walked into a massive church service in a modern church building. I am continually learning in Russia not to judge a book by its cover! The service was exactly what I wanted from a church. We sang songs in Russian but with the English words on the screen as well. I understood some of the sermon (apparently some of the services are translated into English so maybe I’ll go to one of them). We sang ‘How Great is our God’ in Russian and I just thought, ‘Wow, I’m singing praise to God in a different language. He really IS great.’ The church reminded me of Community Church in Huddersfield and St John’s in Birmingham. It was really big but I think that’s what I want from a church in Russia. Normally I prefer small churches but I think I need a big one so I can take my time understanding everything. I felt so at peace and I think I cried through the whole service (happy tears!). It was Anabelle’s first time at church so I had to explain that I was crying because I felt so at home… not because I hated it! God is reminding me again that he IS everywhere.
On a final note I made some TASTY soup this week… fry 1 onion, add 2 chopped potatoes, 1 chopped carrot and a tablespoon of flour, add water and stock, boil, leave to simmer for 20 mins, add chopped cucumber and spring onion, stir, serve. SOUPER.