7-11 drinking brings back fond memories of a previous expat experience. Unfortunately they don't have 7-11s in Russia, nor are there convenience stores to drink at. They do sell beer in 2 litre plastic jugs at the store, and, like in Korea, one can buy beer at any hour of the day or night, but that's not the point. There's something to be said about sitting around a plastic table in a parking lot out front of a 7-11 and getting drunk with friends.
In Russia, we sit around kitchen tables and get drunk. Which brings me to the purpose of this blog entry; drinking. The casual reader of my blog may have noticed by this point that we drink a lot here. That's to be expected. We are English teachers. I "earned my stripes" in Korea as an expat EFL teacher and life for the lowly teacher in Russia is no different. I have heard from a nice young woman who reads this blog that her teaching experience in Turkey was the same.
Alcohol is the opiate of the EFL teaching masses. I'm not an alcoholic. I don't drink alone but I don't see a point in getting together with friends without alcohol, and judging by the copious amounts of booze my friends drink I can assume that they feel the same.
We don't actually spend all day sitting around drinking and teaching the Present Perfect to students. I actually only drink three or four nights a week; the rest of the time is spent watching TV shows from home on my laptop.
For instance, on Sunday I didn't drink (the vicious hangover from Saturday prevented that, which McDonald's cured, a trick I learned in Korea). Instead, Katerina came over and spent the night watching pirated movies with me. On Monday I didn't drink. After work I came home and watched The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Dogfights and The Rick Mercer Report on my computer. On Tuesday I didn't drink. I downloaded and watched Inglorious Basterds. On Wednesday I went to visit Katerina in Shyolkova, and we did, in fact, drink. Rum and coke, to be exact. On Thursday I drank. Wonderpants, Ms. Australia and Quagmire came over to my place and Mr. Irish made a delicious Irish stew and we drank a few beers. Tonight I drank. Mr. Irish, Quagmire and I went to a pizza restaurant (Espronto) and had a few pints and pizzas. Tomorrow I'll be drinking because it's Gem's birthday party and EVERYBODY is taking the hour-long metro trip to the south of Moscow. I'll probably get pretty shit-faced. On Sunday I'll have McDonald's and repeat the week.
So there you have it. I drink four nights a week, with only one of them being a brain-cell-killing blow-out. I'm not an alcoholic, at least, I'm not an alcoholic by EFL teacher standards. To be labelled an alcoholic by expat EFL teachers takes talent.