Last August, when I was starting to pack for Russia, I carefully read the manual that was given to us. I read it more than once. I read it maybe three times. I just wanted to, you know, be sure that I had everything I would possibly need. Suggestions like “classroom supplies” were duly noted, purchased, and stuffed into my monstrous suitcase (do you guys remember the beautiful monster?). Now, 10 months later, I am up to my ears in things that the manual told me I would really need!!! and really want!! but that I haven’t used. In case anyone was wondering, Russia is just a normal place where you can purchase really ordinary everyday things instead of schlepping them from the States and not using them for 10 months. In retrospect some of these things are really funny.


Here are some highlights:

– an egg container, just in case, you know, I was gathering eggs from the coop and needed a place to put them. Or something. It was such a sweet victory when Mom and I found this rare item at REI, and such a bittersweet pang to realize now that I used it not once.

– Classroom supplies. White board markers, chalk, erasers, etc. They sell these things here. Everywhere. So. Now I have this stuff.

– Medical supplies. They suggested to have your own needles and syringes and т.д. just in case you ended up at a Russian hospital and wanted to be sure that everything was sterile. I get it, cleanliness of medical supplies is super important. But now I have a giant ziploc of these things.

– Stickers. That was actually a good idea, my students really liked being rewarded for learning their tongue twisters or whatnot, but I honestly just forgot about them and so only used a few of them. They’re pretty high quality stickers too.

– Maps. Oh the time I spent at the library booksale, finding the old National Geographics that included maps, carefully pulling them out of the magazines, and stashing them away in my suitcase. I had big dreams, dreams that these cool maps (maps about soccer/football and the world! and America! and earthquakes! and other things) would inspire my students. Inspire them to do what, I don’t know, but they would be inspired. The fun and excitement I associate with maps probably comes from hours playing the “Map Game” in the kitchen with my dad – “OK Molly how quickly can you find [obscure city] on the map?” – and now I realize maps are not as exciting for other people. Just another one of my misguided teaching ideas.

So the process of sorting, evaluating, and packing my belongings has begun. I’m hoping to have everything under control by Wednesday, so that on Thursday I can enjoy my last day before heading to Moscow Thursday night..

Also Happy Birthday Dad! You’re great.


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