It has been a greuling month for me so far, and one that I will take measures to prevent from happening again.
As I'm now off-contract and fully-independent, I have worked very hard to build up a good schedule of private clients. While I have been succesful it is a lot more difficult to actually work that schedule than when I had a comfortable school to hang out in. Add to the fact that I'm living outside of the city and it takes nearly 2.5 hours to get to Moscow, and I have very long days. Language Link didn't help when they scheduled one of my Russian classes on Saturday afternoons, thus giving me only 1 day off per week.
I wake up between 7:30 and 8 am, Monday to Saturday, and spend 30 minutes on a marshrutka (mini bus) and then over an hour on the elektrishka, Moscow's commuter train system. Then I spend between 30 and 45 minutes on the metro and on some days have to walk another 20 - 30 minutes from the metro station to reach my class. After the class I'm back on the metro and do it again for the next class. After that I repeat the whole process again.
As most people want to study at 7 pm this means that I don't finish work until 9, and then it's a 2.5 hour ride back home. I get in the door around 11:30 every night, go to sleep, and wake up and do it again. I have no time to visit friends or enjoy a dinner or go to a bar. I spend every day fighting with the incredibly bitchy and stupid babushkas (I call them "babitchkas") on Moscow's public transit. I do this 6 days a week.
Katya also works in Moscow, and although she doesn't have to spend hours riding the metro and walking in the freezing snow with a pair of sneakers that are falling apart, she is out the door by 6:30 every morning and isn't home until after 9. This means we only really see each other on Sundays.
Sundays should at least be a relaxing day, except that we are living with Katya's mother, and on Sundays her sister and brother-in-law and her father come over and everyone has dinner and speaks very quickly in Russian I can't understand. There is no rest. Katya and I are both at our breaking point with only the promise of 10 days of peace during the New Year holidays in 3 weeks to keep us going.
In the new year we are getting a flat in Moscow, probably in February, and hoping and praying that she can get her Canadian permanent residency visa soon. The moment she has that we are off to a more relaxed country, where we will have a car to get around and regular work places that pay well and a comfortable place to live in.
Until then, we have no choice but to slug through our increasingly dreary existence and enjoy the few minutes of time we have alone together every week.