It’s a working day here, but on the other hand, in the Russian pre-new-year’s flurry of activity a lot of my students have cancelled their lessons, so I’m having a relaxed week. The best part is that I don’t have any morning lessons, so I can sleep until 10, when there’s some light in the sky. Of course, I’m not earning as much money, but on the other hand I’m still earning more this week than I did in a week when I worked 40+ hours at that horribly exploitative kindergarten (though apparently salaries have improved there now), so I can’t complain.

Kostia and I had “the full cultural program” last weekend. On Saturday night we went to see Akvarium (check out that web site, it’s got six language options including Esperanto), which is really just one man, Boris Grebenshikov, since he writes all the songs and lyrics and the rest of the band’s personnel has changed over the past 35 years. It was a good concert, but I was a little disappointed because I kind of expected it to be The Best Concert Ever, since Grebenshikov is the God (or perhaps more aptly, the Buddha, since he’s all into the eastern religions) of Russian rock, and this is entirely deserved – his albums are incredible. In order to be the the best concert ever, though, it would have needed more energy, more polished playing on the part of the band and a better sound engineer. Kostia also suggested that for it to be the best concert ever we should have been standing in the orchestra pit rather than sitting in the theater seats, and drunk. Maybe so. Still, it was a good concert. Perhaps the most interesting part was seeing such a high concentration of nerds and hippies in one place – it was certainly a different part of St. Petersburg society than that which I usually see.

The second part of the full cultural program was going to see the sequel to “The Irony of Fate” on Sunday. It hasn’t received good reviews, but I actually enjoyed it a lot. The premise is weak and the sequel is only watchable as a sequel and not as a stand-alone film, but as a modern take (or perhaps parody) on the original it was really funny and well-done. Most importantly, it puts you in the New Year’s mood.

Last night Kostia and I celebrated Western Christmas by watching “Love Actually” and drinking Bailey’s. If you’ve seen it you know that this is an embarrassingly stupid movie, but Kostia really loves it for some reason and I find it amusing and don’t mind looking at certain British actors, so it seems watching it has become a Christmas tradition.