Although I am in a fairly upscale suburb of Moscow and I realize that my conditions here are vastly different than in other places in Russia, I can't help but feel that I really lucked-out!
When I had first applied to this job I was given three choices of location. My first choice was Rostov-On-Don, but all those positions with my company had been filled. My second choice was Samara but, like Rostov, that was filled as well. Then I chose, as my third option, one of the 5 Moscow Outskirt towns. They told me that Mytischi had a position open so I said "Sure."
I am glad that I did!
We have a tight little unit of six English teachers (3 from the U.S., one from Australia, one from Ireland and myself, from Canada) and we all get along great. In addition to the six teachers there are 3 Russian administrative staff. Our school in Mytischi isn't franchised like some of the farther-flung locations but is managed directly by the Central Office in Moscow. Because we turn a profit and everything, so far, seems to be going well they don't interfere much (I'm knocking on my faux-wood desk as I write this).
This town is filled with wide sidewalks and tree-filled parks and although it lacks the entertainment facilities of Moscow, the city centre is only 40 minutes away on the metro.
The EFL industry can be as vicious here in Russia as it is in Asia; that's just the nature of the beast. Some people get screwed around by their employers, others by their roomates and still others by their students. In Mytischi, however, things are laid back and peaceful and friendly.
The people are friendly, too. Russians still walk around here with a permanent scowl on their faces but once they get talking they're very nice. And direct. I messed up on the subtelties of flirtation with Anna Kornikova on Friday but there was no subtelty involved with a 95 lbs Rachel Weisz on Sunday, however that's a different story I won't post to this blog....