Tuesday, June 15, 2010
There's A Tear In My Beer
One week ago Ms. Australia left Russia. She returned to her home in Perth and left a big void in the communal life of our apartment in Mytischi. Today, at 6 am, Wonderpants also returned home to Virginia, and after a hectic day teaching in Moscow, I came back to our once lively abode to find it completely empty.
Yesterday Wonderpants and I spent his last day in Russia visiting Izhmailovsky Market, a huge outdoor tourist market filled with Russian hats, nesting dolls, replica war medals, etc, so he could buy gifts for his family and friends. Then we drank a few beers together and I made dinner (meatballs!) and then we said goodbye and went to our seperate bedrooms for the night.
It's actually a very sad day and I'm more than a little depressed. Ms. Australia and Wonderpants became two of my best friends and living together had become a comfortable and pleasant experience. Ms. Australia, by virtue of finishing classes earlier than Wonderpants and I, would usually cook dinner (chilli, peppered chicken and/or spaghetti bolognese). Sometimes Wonderpants or I would cook, but Ms. Australia made the majority of our meals.
Once Wonderpants and I finished work, all three of us would sit around our kitchen table and eat dinner together, Ms. Australia and I drinking beer and Wonderpants drinking wine, with the small TV above our heads playing Russian crime dramas or the news. It was like a small family.
On Tuesdays Ms. Australia and I would ritually drink beers in the small tree-lined foyer outside our building. On Fridays we would all go to the local pizza restaurant to close our week. On Saturdays Wonderpants and I would drink whiskey and listen to sea shanties. Week after week our little group of 3 would repeat the same ritual. Now they have left, and it is eerily, sadly, quiet and dark in this flat.
Katya is visiting her grandmother near Volgograd, so there is nobody here but me. When I first came home from Moscow I closed both their doors because it was depressing. Ms. Australia wasn't hovering over her laptop watching a vampire show (or was it One Tree Hill?) and there weren't mountains of books and dirty laundry on Wonderpants' floor.
Closing the doors felt like a betrayal, somehow, so I quickly re-opened them again. It's Tuesday and I feel weird drinking in the foyer alone, so I'm drinking a beer in my room. I only have one week left before I, too, need to leave this apartment (although to move into a Moscow flat and not someplace in Canada), and that adds a sense of finality to the whole situation.
I've made good friends before, teaching in Korea, and seen them leave but I have to say that this is different. Wonderpants, Ms. Australia and I had developed a real bond, caused by forced-proximity, and I will miss them dearly. While I am confident I will see Wonderpants again in the future (he lives a 12-hour drive from me), I would be surprised if I saw Ms. Australia again.
So as I drink this beer, I do so in honour of two of the best people I have ever had the opportunity to meet: Ms. Australia and Wonderpants!