Welcome to my new blog, everyone! Thank you for joining me. On my last night here in the States, there are a few thoughts swirling around in my head. It’s been a wonderful summer and I’ve had a great time catching up with many of you. Here’s the highlight reel…
While I’m still missing Korea quite a lot, it’s heartening to have many of my good friends also moving on and scattering around the globe, simultaneously resettling. Missing those below, among many others.
As this is my second go-round living internationally, I’m coming up to speed a bit faster. Currently, my Russian experience involves my time teaching at the American School in Switzerland and amazing individuals like this one.
While I don’t expect Andrey to be the norm, it certainly takes me back… The poor kid’s only take away from 4 weeks of English lessons was “mountains”. God bless the Alps, which we could point to from our classroom veranda. This pic below is a throwback to that first summer – my English class of Minnows, all Russian!
From them, my known Russian phrases include the ability to tell someone to “Go to bed, now!” and “My name is Meg”. So far that knowledge has only come in handy once, when threathening noisy roommates in a Naples hostel. Меня зовут Meg, indeed.
Thanks to a random Russian course taken at the Global Learning Network in DC, I have learned Cyrillic before. I’m told none of the street signs are in English and learning to read Russian is imperative. And so… here I go. I’ve got a Duolingo app (Russian still in beta) and my school offers Russian lessons as well. After learning to read hangul, I’m hopeful I can adapt to another script, though I can’t promise those backwards Rs won’t trip me up.
“Why Russia?” is the most popular question of the summer. While Charlie and Emmalee may recall my initial nonplus in our morning taxi, the offer turned out to be an incredible one. An embassy school in a city closer to home (only 9.5 direct flying hours from NYC) with incredible resources, it seemed too good to pass up. Not to mention my love of the Russian painters (Soutine, below, sits at the top of that list) and Russian architecture. Moscow beckoned and I decided to take the leap.
What awaits? As was the case in Korea, I expect to be surprised, delighted, and frustrated, probably all at the same time. The people are at the heart of every country I’ve visited. My painting teacher recently shared a quote from a friend who’d lived in Russia for a time. He said that Americans were like peaches and Russians were like coconuts. Americans are soft on the outside but tough like a pit on the inside. Russians, however, were hard on the surface but soft on the inside. I’m hoping this will hold true.
The next few weeks will be chaotic, no doubt, as I acclimate to my new home. I’ll share the surprises along the way and, like my Seoul blog, take time to appreciate the process as I get settled into my new surroundings.
All of you have been wonderfully supportive, many even connecting me with friends in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Though I’ve never been to Russia, I already feel well taken care of, and my new school has done an excellent job of providing information on life in Moscow. I anticipate a challenging year – a rebuilding one – but I’m excited for the road ahead. I will miss my friends and students in Korea terribly but I hold them close. In this day and age, staying in touch is as easy as deciding to do so, and I’m extremely grateful for that.
Many of you have shared positive thoughts on my decision to continue teaching internationally. I just want to take a moment to tell you that I couldn’t do what I do without the support of each and every one of you. I may have friends in many ports but it’s your combined support that gives me the strength to continue exploring. It’s become a blessed unrest, this life I lead, and I’m thankful for every new opportunity. Clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose😘