It’s been over 6 months since we had to flee Turkey as the post-coup crackdown started to affect foreign staff who worked for the universities closed down after the coup. When I first arrived, still in shock over how abruptly our time in Turkey ended, unsure of what would happen next, when I would see my husband and our dog, the situation seemed very bleak. At first, nothing was happening, as I moped around my parents’ apartment, and waited for Mike and our dog Jackie to leave Turkey safely and sent numerous emails and messages to friends and family explaining what was happening, and then everything started happening at lightning speed! Which is why I haven’t blogged since then, but now I`m ready to give a very detailed update so here goes:
First of all, Mike and I are reunited again! After long 4 months of Skype conversations at all hours of day and night (the 13-hour difference did not make it easy for us but we still talked twice a day most days), Mike got his visa and, once again, braved the Siberian winter to come and be with me. While he was waiting to get his visa, he spent some quality time with his family and enjoyed getting to know his niece and nephew – and so did Jackie, for that matter! Once he was here, to get some quality time together, we went on a long holiday in Thailand and Cambodia, which deserves its own blog post – coming soon!
Secondly, I got super busy with work, or should I say jobs. That’s right, plural! The very next week after returning to Novosibirsk, a friend set up an interview for me at a language school, whose director and I were mutually impressed by each other’s knowledge of who Stephen Krashen was! (if you don’t know, don’t feel bad. Very few people outside the TESOL world know. Hence me being super impressed!). Aside from teaching regular students, I was offered an opportunity to train the other English teachers at the school, including native speakers, which made me extremely happy as this has been my carer goal ever since I got my DELTA (Cambridge Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). And if that wasn’t enough teaching, I agreed to cover for a Canadian friend who had to go back to Canada for a few months and took on some of his students, including a firm of intellectual property lawyers, a software company and the staff of a local news website.
Yet another friend asked me if I’d be interested in teaching Russian to his colleagues. In the past , I always shied away from teaching Russian – being a native speaker is not always an advantage when it comes to teaching a language. Whereas I could teach an English lesson with my hand tied behind my back and my eyes closed, explaining the Russian grammar gave me pause. But once I thought about how much I have learned about teaching (and acquiring) a foreign language, I stopped being intimidated and got excited. But to make sure I was up to the task (and also because I still had a few hours in my day where I wasn’t teaching or lesson prepping), I enrolled in and successfully completed a course on the methodology of teaching Russian as a foreign language offered by Moscow State University. The only reason I was able to complete this course is because it was long-distance and I was able to fit my studying around my schedule (including working on my assignments in between exploring Chaing Mai and Chang Island in Thailand).
I`m exhausted just describing all of my work – but however busy I get, I am still working with extremely interesting people and learning something every single day – be it the news from the world of patent attorneys or the mysterious ways in which the genitive case works in the Russian language.