Over the last week I've lost my credit card, hat, gloves, a metro card, and my dignity (OK, that last one's a little harder to prove).
I've convinced myself that I hate Moscow, Russian food, and Russian people, including the ones I live with.
I've whined and complained to everyone who will listen (or feign to listen) to me. To my Russian tutor, to my expat friends, to friends back home over Skype, and to my mom, who I called in a frenzy at 9 AM on Wednesday (I usually wake up at 10... or later☺) because I was convinced that I needed to move out of my current apartment and into my own flat. Stat.
What has led me to these extremes of glass-half-emptiness? What is making November so cruel? It's not the weather, which has been hovering around a surprisingly pleasant and rain-free 40-45˚ F. No, it's not the weather -- it's the cruel academic job search.
I have written so many drafts of postdoc grant proposals and job cover letters (a genre I particularly loathe), that I'm beginning to feel like my own pen and keystrokes are turning against me, making me into a fool, exposing me as an imposter.
For "fun" and in my "free time" I've found myself obsessively reading about higher education in the news and following online gossip columns about job & postdoc searches. News stories, that is: horror stories, report on the Crisis of the Humanities - how the earth is about to open up and swallow humanities departments whole (which is not an exaggeration in some cases) - and the flooded job market, where there are 300, 400... 600 applicants for every postdoc job advertisement [postdocs are TEMPORARY (1-4 year) jobs!!!]. So much for academics in their ivory towers. The economic crisis affects the academic sector as well. (I don't mean to sound insensitive here, I'm just trying to say I empathize.)
This is why I have been a bad blogger lately. And this is also why my Halloween costume was a flop. I'm still without my camera, so I'll just tell you that I had some sort of hybrid costume that I think coincided most closely with a roller derby girl outfit. I had a green polyester dress, a pink glitter cowboy hat, and some shapes painted on my face... but no roller skates.
And so, with November and all its cruelness getting me down, I decided to take a trip back to October today, that is, to the Red October (Krasnyj Oktiabr' ) factory. It's where they used to make Red October brand chocolate, but it now houses galleries, clubs, restaurants, boutique stores, etc. I was especially in the mood for some photography (maybe due to separation anxiety from my camera?), and that's what I got. Here's a view of the cool factory complex:
photo courtesy of http://www.extra-m.ru
I suppose I don't hate Moscow so much when I'm actually in it.