Learning from Russia with Anastasia

Anastasia’s current location: Moscow, Russia

Time zone: 7 hours ahead of Philly

I tell everyone that I’m in Moscow right now, but this is actually not true — I’m a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Moscow, in the Tver region, at my countryside house, where I have been since the quarantine started in March. I feel like I’m extremely lucky to be here, as it allows me to go outside whenever I want, be near nature, and not worry about the virus. On the other hand, I miss my friends who live in the city, so I try to go to Moscow every now and then.

I’m 7 hours ahead of Philly, which is quite comfortable for me. All my classes start at 4 pm, so I have enough time to do whatever I want or need during the first half of the day. During most of my mornings, I work — I still give private lessons, even though I had to let go most of my students due to the workload in our program, which is surprisingly heavier than I thought. I had to adjust to that and as a result with a heavy heart I made some changes.

Starting classes at 4 pm sometimes feels a little weird since most of the students and professors are in the “morning mood.” Their day has just started and they have the whole day ahead of them. For me, the beginning of the classes feels like the end of the day. Usually, after a class, at around 8 pm, I have dinner with my family and I don’t do any study or work-related tasks afterwards.

From my IEDPod, I learned an important thought — “learn how to say no.” So I decided that I will say no to any meetings between midnight and 6 am, as it’s my rightful time to sleep. Also, during this time, I put my phone on airplane mode and leave it far from my bed — so I don’t wake up during the night and start reading and answering the messages in our chats. It definitely helps me to get a better, deeper night sleep. 

There are two days when I don’t teach and also don’t have any classes at Penn: Wednesday and Sunday. On these days I mostly read and prepare for the courses. However, I also have my Spanish lessons — as my hobby or leisure time, I guess. I fell in love with the Spanish language when I lived in Mexico, and now I don’t want to lose my acquired skills. Fun fact: when my mom was a child, she lived in Cuba for two years, and now we learn Spanish together! 

All in all, even though the semester started a bit different and rougher than I expected, I feel like I’m finally managing my day in a way that I have time for my studies, work, resting, and just chatting with the classmates, despite the time zone differences. It’s an interesting experience, but I do hope to spend the next semester in a different, more in-person way!

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