Hi from Chelyabinsk!

with 13 Comments

Привет из Челябинска! It’s 6:41 AM and 13C (56F)… and I’m SO EXCITED to be here!!!

We arrived 12 days ago to a city that was much different than I’d expected. For example, all the stores sell hot (острый) sauces: spicy ketchup, chili sauce, hot pepper sauce, etc. Somehow I had this idea that Russia shied away from the hot stuff? And not far from the hot sauce was a bag of frozen vegan (!) pelmeni made with lentils.

What I was expecting to find- some seriously bad pollution. According to Google, Chelyabinsk can be summed up as lots of ecological problems + a famous meteor. I wrote to a few locals about life in Chelyabinsk and received answers like this:

As we jokingly say “It is so beautiful, I can hardly breathe”. I mean, I would rather listen to heavy metal than inhale it 🙂

But it hasn’t been that noticeable… yet. One of my coworkers moved here from China and says this air is much better than what he was used to.

My husband and I will be in Chelyabinsk for an entire academic year. And the cat too. 😉 It wasn’t easy to move the three of us here but Кит seems to have adjusted the fastest, especially since he’s eating his favorite cat food again. Have you ever seen that meme of an angry cat breaking down a door for вискас? That’s exactly what our cat would do. I think he’s already gained two pounds since we arrived!

He also get fancy cat food sometimes.
We’ve been searching for a cat scratching tree but settled for this in the meantime. For some reason he likes to sleep on the cardboard instead of sleeping on his cat pillow.

I’m going to be teaching English, which is pretty much the Best. Job. Ever. and everyone at the school is very friendly. Settling in has been a little intense, though. Our visas only let us enter the country the day before training began and it took almost 25 hours of travel to get here. The plane landed at 10 PM, I started training the next day, and it seems like we haven’t quite caught up with unpacking and moving in yet. Training usually lasts 8-9 hours, then there’s lesson planning, then it’s already time for bed.

Terminal B in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport = wow!

But we have walked around the neighborhood a few times and gone to the circus (both the most awesome/saddest thing ever… more on that in a future post).

Chelyabinsk State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater.
A public library… but I heard you need a special permit to enter the building.
Turned out to be a very unspectacular fruit/vegetable/plastic-stuff-from-China market.
Kirova street, home to the second Irish pub spotted downtown so far.

Best of all: there’s a little pelmeni cafe near the school where the cooks sit at a table making delicious пельмени and вареники by hand. I know there are other places to eat nearby but we’ve gone here for lunch every single day. The cashier scowled at us the first week, frowned a little less this week, and just yesterday I worked up the courage to ask her name.

I’ll return to language learning posts soon (so many interesting new words!) but first I wanted to share this news with you. 🙂 🙂 If you’d like to see more pictures of daily life here, take a peek at my Instagram account.

Have you ever been to Chelyabinsk? Would you like to spend a year here or would you pick a different city?

13 Responses

  1. J.T.
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    • Katherine
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      If you’re interested in a teaching job after you finish your studies, let me know. What do you have lined up for this semester? Any new Russian classes?

      • J.T.

        Some linguistics work, a grad-level Russian stylistics course, a history course on “late Russian socialism”, and a literature course I was blackmailed into joining 🙂

      • Katherine

        The Russian stylistics course sounds really interesting! I hope you’ll share a few of the things you cover in the class.

  2. S
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    God, that brings back memories! I was working there (also as an English teacher!) when the meteor landed! It was the first place I went to in Russia and the whole reason I ended up learning Russian!

    • Katherine
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      Wow, мир тесен! That must have been quite an experience, being here when the meteor showed up.

      Do you have any advice on the city and oblast (see this, avoid that, go there, and so on)?

  3. Elisabeth
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    I love Moscow but suddenly it seems like I’m missing out. Lentil пельмени? Handmade пельмени? I haven’t even found myself a good lunch place! I’m now googling Chelyabinsk.

    I’m sure you’re going to have a great year!

    • Katherine
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      Yes, I was shocked to find that kind of stuff here so easily! Seems like the kind of things you’d find in Moscow rather than a city of just over a million people. Let me know when you’re ready to come visit. 😉 😉

      PS: Have you read these articles yet? They’ve got some great ideas for good food where you are! http://kiddingherself.com/budget-russian-food-moscow/ and http://kiddingherself.com/pelmeni-restaurant-moscow-lepim-i-varim/

      • Elisabeth

        I might do in the spring… My Russian homework last week was to prepare to speak about where I wanted to visit in Russia.

        Thanks for the food links – that’s the second recommendation for Lepim i Varim in a week. That’s a sure sign to hit it up soon!

  4. Liz
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    I am so happy for you! Looking forward to your posts from Chelyabinsk. I have to admit I know nothing about this city, besides recognising the name! It will be fun getting to know the city through your eyes! What does your husband think so far?

    • Katherine
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      Thanks, Liz! I look forward to writing them!

      My husband had really low expectations… but so far he’s been pleasantly surprised. He says “I thought I’d be trudging between smokestacks in an industrial wasteland. Instead, there are lots of parks and beautiful nature. I even swam in a lake and I’m not glowing yet.”

  5. J.T.
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    Forgot to add: why do you torture me so with the pelmeni menu?!

    • Katherine
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      Oops. 😉 I’d better not tell you about lunch today then…

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