Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fashionable Prisoners of Forced-Labor Camps

Zek: a prisoner in a forced-labor camp (U.S.S.R.)

Hmmm. So there's this shop at the mall called "Zeki." Whoah... Plural! MULTIPLE prisoners from a forced-labor camp!

What a bizarre shop...

On the right side: fur hats. Serious massive Russian fur hats. Ear flaps and all.

On the left side: skimpy bikinis & bathing suits. The prints and colors? Anything but prison-regulated garb!

So, someone please explain to me, just HOW does this fit into a marketing plan?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My Barely-Breathing Blog...

I never intended to just stop writing...

There have been a variety of factors... Such a varied readership, bigger than I had ever envisioned, and as a result I'm quite limited sometimes in what I can write about. (More on this below, added later). Ever since that school trip when our pictures and my blog were in the Aeroflot magazine, there has been more tension among the different "hats" I wear as a blogger.

As for Moscow, yes, there are certainly still some really neat things going on here, and there's much to write about!

But even though I didn't even think this was humanly possible, my husband's job this past year has been even more grueling and all-demanding... I've been pretty much entirely on my own in dealing with daily life here, being a parent and working full-time. That just doesn't leave much time for blogging, or for anything else, for that matter...

It has definitely been a year of of high pressure and bubbling situations on all fronts... I've felt like a cook trying to not burn multiple dishes at the same time.

Right now I'm also pretty busy looking into jobs in the US for next year. We don't know for certain if we'll be leaving, but it's *definitely* a possibility. It's exciting, but also quite daunting. There's only ONE Russian high school teaching job advertised for next year and it looks great... Otherwise I'm facing jumping back in doing full-time French and Spanish, and I haven't done that in a long time.

I'll post more of the kind of stuff you always used to see here real soon!

Added later today:

What I mean is that once people from work find out you blog, in particular your students, you hesitate to ever write anything that detracts from your professional image. And I pretty much never blog about work—even when there could be SO many interesting cultural things to say if my blog were anonymous!—so sometimes I'm not left with that much to write about... I also feel so compelled to always be super chipper, making things seem effortless and positive. Sure, no one is "making me" do that—but doesn't it just make sense? At work I'm very cheerful, encouraging and enthusiastic... I also try to be like that with my children... I think my "chipperness" has then been a bit spent by the time I get a spare moment sometimes :-)

Knowing that other potential expats are also reading what I'm writing, I really don't want to ever make things seem easier than they might be—that could make the reality of moving here more isolating. I would hate for anyone to think, "Well, what's wrong with me? Moscow Mom seems to just love being here and does it all so effortlessly!" That's how other expat women appeared to me when we first moved here, and that made the adjustment SO much harder...

It's also trickier being a "Mommy Blogger" when your kids get older and you need to respect their privacy more...