I’m still alive, we’re just waiting for our DSL installation and in the meantime dial-up is slow and leaves you with the feeling that every minute you spend dicking around on the internet is wasting money. I mean, the internet IS a big waste of time and money, but still.

Started working again this week, teaching English of course. Amazing how one can look for work for 10 months in Sweden and not find much of anything, but come to St. Petersburg and start working immediately. I love everything about Sweden and understand why everything is the way it is, but it would be nice if something could be done about its sclerotic labor market.

I’m teaching just two groups of adults at the moment, “Starters” and “Elementary”. Kostia and I have on many occasions discussed how one of the funny things about teaching languages is that sometimes you don’t just teach the language, but also other things which the textbook assumes are general knowledge, but sadly, as it turns out, are not. Case in point: Yesterday my starters had to read a list of country names and match them to a map of the world. There are four people in this class, probably all between the ages of 20 and 25, and they couldn’t do it. It wasn’t like this was a map of the Balkans or Central Africa – they couldn’t figure out Great Britain, France, Italy, and even Turkey, where every other Russian has been on holiday. And when we got to Russia, which they managed to deduce because it was second from last on the list, one person said, “Russia – big!” as if they hadn’t known. As someone who has always decorated her living space with maps and is obsessed with knowing where things are, I really cannot comprehend this.

Edit: Kostia just called to say that the DSL installation, which they said would take place anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks from now, is happening tomorrow! Hooray! Maybe the company figured out that the sooner they do the installation, the sooner they can start collecting money from us. Russian commerce is not always so logical.