After what seemed like a stint in a gulag camp, payday finally came. I was ushered into a small office and a few stamps and signatures later, a stream of 1000s and other denominations came my way. I was finally liberated from my porridgey poverty.
After asking a class for a good place to buy some shoes, an English leech of a student offered to take me shopping for a pair, and then gave me a tour of the city. It'd been 2 weeks and I'd barely ventured outside of my monotonous triangle of the supermarket, school and flat. I sent around a few texts and ended up meeting the girl I met before. A walk down the embankment and a few beers later, we ended up in the park with some more friends and stumbled across 1000 rubles lying on the road. Fucking typical that for 2 weeks you can be broke, then when you get paid, you find money lying around, but I wasn't exactly complaining as we stocked ourselves up on alcohol and snacks to bring back to my place.
Bar a few kisses and gropes, nothing much of interest materialised however.
A few days later I decided to throw a little party at my flat; inviting the same girls as before as well as some teachers: the bounds of my social network. After a hard day of drawing timelines and organising people into pairs, the teachers made their way out of the school, only to run into the English leech... Waiting outside in his car to pounce on his unsuspecting prey to offer somebody a lift home, oh how his eyes lit up when somebody slipped word of a party.
The highlight of the night was the arm-wrestling tournament, which to some who know who I am will know who was the winner. Unofrtunately it wasn't me, but at least I beat the winner of the women's bracket in some kind of consolation playoff; convincing me my stint in the French Foreign Legion was well worthwhile.
But such weekends were due to come to an end....
It was a Saturday night and I received a call from one of the girls: a place out of town was offering food and unlimited alcohol for 250rubles. TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY RUBLES. Road Runner would have looked like a snail as I threw on some clothes and made my way to the bus stop, where I waited and waited for my magical number to arrive. 30 minutes of valuable drinking time later I decided there was a high probability that I was in the wrong place, so called up the girl and got her to get me a taxi, which I eventually found. Kak delas and menya zavuts were exchanged as I made my way towards the city's outer reaches: perched under 2 goliath cones pouring smoke into the air above: a total soviet shithole.
The place however, in true Russian style, was a complete contrast to what was outside. I was greeted with warmth, a cosy atmosphere, and 6 Russian girls who poured me some wine and then curiously started to fire questions at me. Though eventually, the presence of so many girls, and somebody speaking English, attracted the attention of some guys celebrating a birthday party behind us. Our groups merged, and the free vodka began to flow, much to the dislike of the wine in my stomach. Things started spinning, I could barely string together words, and had to try my utmost hardest to keep myself afloat. Successfully averting further offers of shots, I survived till the place closed, and after puking up my meal in the dying moments and chewing a bit of gum, I was ready for round 2.
We stumbled out and flagged down some cars. I didn't know where the fuck we were heading. The city blurred by; endless kiosks and blocks of flats flanking rickety roads. I didn't care, I was too busy making out with one of the girls in the back seat. Then I saw the sign 'Banya' pop up in the corner of my eye.
I've always wondered what the fuck the hype with banyas were; hearing the name being thrown around a few times, so I was a bit excited as I took off my shoes, donned some flip and headed down into a basement. Everybody stripped down to underwear, making for some very pleasant viewing, and went off in their seperate ways: to the billiards room, sauna, pool or drinking room. The kissing continued in a variety of places, but unfortunately it remained at just that; one of her friends not really wanting to be there and sticking around with the 2 people she trusted. But it wasn't all bad; getting a lovely massage in return.
After sweating our bollocks/tits off, and freeze shocking ourselves in the pool several times, we decided to bail, and got a taxi back to one their places; footing the randomers with the bill. A lively night out for the equivalent of a fiver: oh how I love Russia.
But the following morning grounded me back to reality; once again being aware of my 12:00 advanced level Sunday class. It was to be their first ever lesson; the books for which having not had arrived (what fucking tense do I use here?). The girls had to get to work for 10pm, leaving me with a mere 4 hours of sleep and a little vodka slopping around in my growling stomach. I was constantly swearing to myself on the bus journey home; totally disillusioned with life and wanting to call in sick. My bed appeared a paradise upon arrival, but I eventually summoned my sweaty balls up to rock up to the school 15 minutes before the lesson.
I didn't want to speak to anybody, let alone the fucking students, and hunched myself over the photocopier; sadistically banishing trees with my hyper beam. The alluring light captivated me, and I wished it'd just swallow me up into a better world; far, far away from my class which I sensed was gradually filling up.
Balancing masses of paper, a cup of tea, CDs and the register, I made my way into the class; feeling their eyes burn in the back of my head as they eyed up their new teacher. I pretended to shuffle about some papers and organise something, so I wouldn't have to turn and confront them: I would have done this for 3 academic hours if it would have been acceptable, but I decided enough was enough, wrote my name on the board and asked for their names; killing a minute at least. Only another 134 to go. Not knowing what to do next, I shamefully piped into an activity I nearly burst out laughing at whilst observing my DOS' lesson: "Hello my name is Da Teacha, I like degeneracy", which eventually results in something like "Hello my name is Katia, I like cock, her name is Olya, she likes opening her legs for English teachers, his name is Alexei, he's an asshole, you're name is Da Teacha, you like Degeneracy"....
It felt like I could barely string a sentence together, and it felt as though I was stumbling around the class as I walked, but I somehow managed to combine the photocopies and my spontaenous geniusness in a successful way; hoping they would complain to the secretary one by one about my teaching on the way out.
Though would you fucking believe it? They actually gave me good feedback and requested me to be their permanent teacher, bagging me a new lesson not only every Sunday, but every Saturday too.... I think my life ends here.