Well, I’m done with camps and with ‘fake Russia’. It’s been very strange being thrust into Russian culture once more, and it’s definitely clarified my thought with regard to whether I ever want to go back.
The past couple of weeks have been much better, partly thanks to the staff, and partly thanks to my groups being much more balanced.
The staff here at the hotel are absolutely great. They’re Russian ex-pats and just adorable. The husband sells me chocolate every day, while the wife is lovely: she makes an effort to understand my muddled Russian, and cooks me vegetarian meals when there’s nothing for me to eat :). They’re both fantastic. There are two other Russian women who work here too, who always say hello with a smile. Then there’s the kitchen-hand, a young guy who appears with coffee and milk the moment I pick up a mug. It’s all very cute!
I should also mention my colleagues. Michael has been supportive as usual of course. All of the staff have been great actually. This week’s in particular have been really friendly and high-energy. There’s been one girl in charge of the rabble for the duration, and I don’t know how she does it—I’m dying of exhaustion, and she just keeps on rolling! What a champ. There’s also the manager of the camp here, and he’s a lovely guy. I think I confuse him at times (eg in my insistence that fish is meat), but he goes out of his way to ensure that I feel welcome and respected.
As I said, my groups have also been much better. The personalities have clashed a lot less, and so it’s been much more fun for everyone. The kids are all still hyperactive, of course—it’s two weeks with no school and no parents, and they go a bit wild—but they look out for each other a lot more which is great to see. There’s a lot of creativity going on, and the students, whose levels vary wildly, support each other when someone doesn’t understand something. They do their best, and that’s all I ask. I’ve become a little attached to them, actually!
With no more ado, here are some videos of the kids’ final presentations:
Robbie vs Rex:
Well done to all of my students—they did a great job in pulling these together.
And with that, I’m off once more: Helsinki for a few days, before heading back to the UK. Bring it on!