November came and went, and by early December, I had started to think about what to do for Christmas. Not the 25th December. Christmas in Russia is actually on the 7th January, and they have holidays beginning from New Years Eve (31st December). My work would finish up on the 30th, and I didn't start again until the 10th of January. I decided to head home to Australia for the couple of weeks, and gave myself a night in Moscow on the way. This night happened to be the 30th December.
All of a sudden, a super old Lada came from a side alley, drove up, and parked across the footpath in front of us. Two super drunk Russian dudes got out of the car, started shouting and yelling, and got out a bottle of whiskey from the back seat. I was super confused, as everything was happening in Russian, and from what I understood, none of the guys or girls we were with knew who these 2 dudes were, but hey, whatever, they had whiskey. And so, as you do at midnight, in a dark alley in an unknown city, we all got super excited and stood in this big circle drinking these guys' whiskey from the bottle.
It was Friday. The morning after I arrived. The previous night, having no shower, or no food or drink in my apartment, I unpacked my bags and tried to place things away. I put up some photo's of family and friends and places on my wardrobe with some blu-tac (which became quite a novelty with my students), and made my sofa bed up. Then I sat down. And thought 'what the hell have I done.' Where was I, what was I doing, why was I here?