My first days in Russia

Nakhodka
Nakhodka

This week I endured over 17 hours traveling from Madrid to Moscow (5 hours) to Vladivostok, Russia (+8 hours) to begin my summer job. The owners of the school, Yulia and Sergei, met me at the airport and drove me 3 more hours to Nakhodka where the school is. I didn’t sleep during the flight, so I was barely able to stay awake by the time they got me to my new apartment. I slept from about 6:30p to 8am.

The next day I saw the school and have copies of the teaching materials. I’ve been reviewing the materials and will have time to write lesson plans before classes start Wednesday, July 1.

So far, everything is just perfect! My compact apartment is fully furnished and Yulia and the teachers even stocked the kitchen with some basic items, then took me to the grocery store the next day. I am the first native speaker they have had at the school and they are really going out of their way to make me feel welcome and comfortable.

My apartment is compact. The sofa makes into a very comfortable bed.
My apartment is compact with good light. The sofa makes into a very comfortable bed.
The kitchen is small, but has everything I need, except I need to find a wine bottle opener so I can drink that local wine! I even have a washer and did some much needed laundry today.
The kitchen is small, but has everything I need, except a corkscrew so I can drink that local wine! I even have a washer and did some much needed laundry today.
The view outside my apartment window. I'm on the 4th floor, so that should keep me in shape. I can walk to the school and there are shops nearby.
The view outside my apartment window. I’m on the 4th floor and there is not elevator, so that should keep me in shape. I can walk to the school and there are shops nearby.

Last night, the teachers took me walking along the Pacific ocean.

Andrew, Yulia, Marina (Their mother, who runs the summer camp program), and owner Yulia. They took me to a new walkway between the ocean and a fresh water lake.
Andrew, Yulia, Marina (Their mother, who runs the summer camp program), and the language school owner Yulia. They took me to a new walkway and park between the ocean and a fresh water lake.
The new walkway has nice benches, good parking. A restaurant will open in a few days and a hotel is under construction.
The new walkway has nice benches, good parking and a beach. The water is too cold for swimming yet. A restaurant will open in a few days and a hotel is under construction.
The coastline is quite rugged.
The coastline is quite rugged and beautiful.

Nakhodka is a port city, built on a huge bay in the Sea of Japan. Here’s what Wikipedia says about the city:

Nakhodka (Russian: Находка; IPA: [nɐˈxotkə]) is a port city in Primorsky Krai, Russia, located on the Trudny Peninsula jutting into the Nakhodka Bay of the Sea of Japan, about 85 kilometers (53 mi) east of Vladivostok, the administrative center of the krai. Population: 159,719 (2010 Census).

The Nakhodka Bay, around which the city is organized, was found in 1859 by the Russian corvette Amerika, which sought shelter in the bay during a storm. In honor of this occasion, the ice-free and relatively calm bay was named Nakhodka, which in Russian means “discovery” or “lucky find”.

Nakhodka has one of the mildest climates in Primorsky Krai and in the whole of the Asian part of Russia thanks to its southerly location and oceanic influences from the Sea of Japan. Average temperature in January is −9.3 °C (15.3 °F); in August (the warmest month), it is +20.6 °C (69.1 °F).

Nakhodka is also an important transport junction where goods from Japan are transferred from ships onto the Russian railway system, including the Trans-Siberian Railway portion of the Eurasian Land Bridge.

My first borscht--beet soup with onions and pork. I loved it! It's served with sour cream.
My first borscht–beet soup with onions and pork. I loved it! It’s served with sour cream.
Today, Marinia and her husband Alex too me out for pizza with their children, Andrew and Yulia. It was really good pizza, too. Not like I had in Vietnam.
Today, Marinia and her husband Alex took me out for pizza with their children, Andrew and Yulia. It was really good pizza, too. Not like I had in Vietnam.
The pizza place is located in a 2 year old shopping area.
The pizza place is located in a new shopping area.
The shopping center has a walkway on the bay with lots of games, an area for skateboarding and a giant slide. You can rent boats on the water.
The shopping center has a walkway on the bay with lots of games, an area for skateboarding and a giant slide. You can rent boats to take out on the water.
This reminded me of the locks on the bridges in Paris. These locks, many heart shaped, are fastened by lover and the key is thrown into the water.
This reminded me of the locks on the bridges in Paris. These locks, many heart shaped, are fastened by lovers and the key is thrown into the water to represent their undying love.
The view from the mountain is lovely. In the distance are two special mountains--The Brother (which has had the top blasted off) and The Sister (a sharp, conical mountain).
The view from the mountain is lovely. In the distance are two special mountains–The Brother (left of center, which has had the top blasted off) and The Sister (just right of center, a sharp, conical mountain).
Below we can see Nakhodka.
Below we can see Nakhodka.
This is the industrial port of Nakhodka and you can see the train line, too.
This is the industrial port of Nakhodka and you can see the train line, too.
Nakhodka port
Nakhodka port
A new mosque
A new mosque