Lessons Learned in Moscow

Dear Readers,

First of all: Thank you for reading!

I started this blog stoically in September 2012 as my “second expat-life-in-the-Russian-Federation blog”! I named it eagerly after the Bolshoi Theatre, which I hoped to visit, as it had been closed during my last visit to Moscow, and fondly after buckwheat, or гречка, a gluten-free grain (beloved in Russia) on which I imagined I would depend, as I figured out how to navigate Celiac Disease through my day-to-day in the country. Little did I know that I wouldn’t once make it to the Bolshoi, nor would buckwheat even make my priority list. My ongoing education as a human being had other flavors on the menu.

I first lived in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2009, intensively studying Russian, living in three different home stays, and getting my first certificate and experience in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), while blogging about most of it. I then returned to the U.S. and enrolled in graduate school to pursue my Masters of Education (M.Ed.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and a certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) to adults within the U.S. and abroad.

After my Masters graduation this summer, most definitely on a whim, I applied to a large English language education corporation which currently operates in Russia and Asia and was offered a full-time job teaching EFL to Russian and Saudi students in Moscow. I craved the experience of being “othered” in a foreign culture again, fervently wished to improve my Russian language skills, and wished to gain additional teaching experience of k-12 students, as well as adults.

I signed up for a 9-month teaching contract for September 2012 through May 2013, and knew I was in for a ride. A mere four months into that contract and I had learned an extraordinary amount about myself, culture clashes, corruption, honesty, respect, health, loyalty and love. As it turned out, I left Moscow early in December 2012, but with a plan to return to teach English only to Saudi students for the academic year of 2012-2013!

It is my intention to fill up this blog with the most important lessons that I am taking with me from this time in Moscow before I head into a three month period of immersion in classical Odissi Indian dance in Pushkar, Rajasthan. I am grateful for these upcoming months to digest and meditate on all that I learned in Moscow, and am deeply grateful for all of my experiences there — the pleasant, the disappointing, the saddening, the surprising, the comforting and the world-renewing.

Thank you for your ongoing support of my travel and teaching adventures.

Happy New Year,

Becca

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