Monday, June 3, 2013

June 3, 2013

Foreboding skies were the order of the day when I got up this morning, so I was glad not to have to be anywhere in particular today. Checking my email, I found a message from my landlady indicating she wanted to come by to collect the rent for June and discuss a few other details before my returning the apartment at the end of this month.

She agreed to come by tomorrow at nine in the morning. That meant I needed to go to the bank and withdraw money for the rent, but since it was raining cats and dogs out there, I decided to wait until the late afternoon for the chance of the weather clearing up a bit.

I devoted my energies to working on my presentation for the CATEC conference, something I had practically neglected to even think about all these months. I had some notes on my bookshelf and had saved some articles here and there, so the job wasn’t so difficult, but after spending hours on it, I was still not happy with the way it looked.

In the meantime, I received responses from the couch surfers in Russia with a yes for the one in Moscow and a no from the one in Saint Petersburg. I wrote to another CS member hoping for a positive response.
Willoughby wrote to say we definitely need to submit our applications for the Russian visa by Wednesday after we figured out that the Russian Embassy only operates on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00 to 4:00 pm and doesn’t even offer its application form online.

I believe this is done deliberately so we have no choice but to resort to the travel agencies which in turn extort an exorbitant fee for their services. Given our inability to speak the language, and the fact that we’d need our visas by the end of next week, it was advisable to just bite the bullet and pay.

Just as I had thought it may happen, the afternoon brought clear skies and a soft breeze. I had taken a short nap and felt completely refreshed, so off to the bank I went where the ATM must have been missing its light bulb for I could barely read the instructions on the screen. I then stopped at the currency exchange kiosk and exchanged $100.00 for small bills.

I went into the Narodni supermarket hoping to find a hot sauce or something to add to my very bland mixture of pork chops and vegetables, but they had none, not even hot peppers. I saw a jar with some kind of vegetable medley, including more eggplant, and bought that one just in case.

The medley turned out to be somewhat spicy and it did add the kick I needed to be able to eat the polenta and vegetables. It was then time to clean up the kitchen mess I had made so it would be presentable when the landlady came by the next day.

I finally had a chance to skype with Kate, a former EFL I had contacted when I was first assigned to Tajikistan as I had seen a couple of her videos online and thought she seemed approachable. We discussed our experience with the ELF program, our future goals and the possibilities of meeting in person this summer in the Pacific NW if I get to spend some time there with Stephanie.

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