Friday, January 25, 2013

January recap

Crazy crazy crazy. That's what my private life has been recently. It's hard to wrap my head around all the stuff- all the change, all the productive chaos- that's going on. The best I can do for the moment is attempt to give you the abbreviated version of January 2013.
Here we go!


During our impromptu "Meet Downtown Kharkov" tour with the new teachers, we passed this deserted play area in Shevchenko Park. Creepy, eh?
Yeah, 5 new teachers are here!!!!! So exciting to meet all of them!!!! And despite the shockingly low historical precedent, 3 of them are WOMEN!!! One of whom immediately noted "Hmmm, I noticed that there are many more men than women in this field. I wonder why that is?" Haha, you'll soon find out, I'm sure : ) Anyways, it's a nice change of pace to experience all the hustle, bustle, and drama of wireless router set-ups and apartment hunts again.

The Break

Had a 3-week break; a magical time, especially since the third week came as a surprise. It felt like a beautiful, glorious, 7-day bonus. Ahhhhh..... We even got to complete this jigsaw puzzle that had been on the shelf for the past eighteen months and the cat didn't eat a single piece of it!

This probably makes winter break sound really slow and unexciting but trust me, it was anything but! And D and I were able to put in A LOT of hours on our new website. It's geared toward intermediate and advanced learners of the Russian language who are living outside of Russian-speaking countries. Still not quite ready to unveil it yet, but getting there! If any students of Russian would like to take a peek at it and give us feedback, please drop me a line. We'll be at that stage soon : )

Work, Part 2

Surprise! Obligatory cute cat photo
 Picture this:

Second week of break. I'm just beginning to feel like a walking talking human being again after the last semester of teaching. Phone rings. Here I am daydreaming in my safe little English bubble and suddenly it's "здравствуйте фдсбфсжфббггццждсс...." in my ear! Very long story short, I've been offered the opportunity to do some remote work as an English proofreader. I adore this kind of work because it means getting to work closely with D. In general, we're much stronger together than we are apart and especially when it comes to a situation like this! I love battling through words with him.

Last night my first real proofreading assignment from the company arrived. It was already a regular work night (teaching) so we weren't able to start proofreading this big technical document until midnight. You know it's real love when you find yourselves debating the difference between "certain schematics" and "some drawings" at 12:30 AM on a Thursday night/Friday morning. Our process went something like this-
  • 1 AM: What's a "feeding choke"?
  • 1:30 AM: Hahaha... flexible hose, hahaha {it seemed funny at the moment}
  • 2 AM: a blur of compressors, bypass fittings, and carbon dioxide connection points
  • 2:41 AM: brain not working, going to bed
  • 8:35 AM: rise and shine! "layout of pipelines" = "pipeline layout"?
  • 9:42 AM: "a connection point" or "the connection point"?
  • 9:54 AM: "separate thermocouple of gas temperature control loop" errrr... what?
  • 10:30 AM: done! sent! hooray!
PS: The unexpected Russian phone call also shamed me into stepping my game up with studying Russian. Lena (my Родина Мать buddy) has kindly provided language coaching twice on Skype this month. Thank you, Lena!

Tech upgrade

D new phone, D old loaner phone. My new phone, my old loaner phone.
We had to eat potatoes for a week to afford these!
As of this moment, I've had 4 cell phones in my life. That's a small number in this day and age, right? Especially since 2 of them were on loan from employers?

I acquired my first one after moving up north to Fairbanks, Alaska and realizing how dangerous it was to be driving around in minus 40 F weather with no means of communication. The phone was an ugly, dowdy model that- because we only had 3 cell service providers in the city at that time- cost an arm and a leg every month. It did, though, prove to be a dependable companion until its lifetime of service was tragically cut short in a freak multi-tasking accident. In other words, it got dropped into a cup of tea.

Then came a long-term loaner phone from my Alaskan employer, another no-frills model as the agency was sponsored by government and charitable funds.

Upon arriving to Ukraine, my school lent me the plain model above in the far right. D, meanwhile, borrowed a cell phone from our local friend Timur. "Just for a week or two!" were my words way back in the fall of 2011.

Then, finally, came that fateful afternoon several weeks ago that D spotted a holiday sale flyer and decided we should move to that next stage of commitment with a foreign country: our own cell phones. So now we're toting around these babies. Honestly, I'd pick the simplest 200 uah model if it weren't for my Anki habit. But while I can at last review Anki flashcards while waiting for the metro, the verdict's still out on the phone. It's so different that I feel like a bear trying to use chopsticks.


Pretty much what you'd expect. Freeze, freezing, frozen. And slip, slippery, slipped.
But not all is lost!
It seems like spring is on the way, so hang in there!


  1. Loved this! You made me smile. Congratulations on your new phones :)

  2. He still looks pissed! hahaha I wanna see your website! I remember when you didn't have a cell phone. Awww, memories.

    1. Yes, those were the days!!

      Btw, Кит says hi :p