Russia. I am going to Russia.
Since finding out my International Placement for the Teachers for Global Classrooms program, I keep repeating this to myself in my head. I still can't believe it!
As the time for travel comes closer and closer, I find myself reading more and more news articles about Russia, looking at pictures of Russia, and even using Google Street View to start exploring the streets outside the hotel where I'm going to be staying in Moscow at the start of the trip! One of my co-workers even loaned several books about Russian culture and language to me to help me prepare.
My students are getting excited along with me. Even though my classroom is an English Language Learner classroom, we have the Russian alphabet on the board along with pronunciation guides. Next to this list are common Russian greetings. My students are helping me learn how to say things like "Hello! Goodbye! My name is _______" and "Where is the bathroom?" Even though I have the dates of my trip on the board, it is almost a daily occurrence to hear "When are you going to Russia, again?"
When my travel itinerary arrived, we posted a copy on the wall and students took turns figuring out how long my flight would be (10 hours from New York to Moscow), what the time difference is between Chicago and Moscow (10 hours), and whether or not I'd be really tired when I get back (most very likely).
I'm planning to ask my students in the next few weeks to act as "Travel Planners." They're going to be tasked with researching Russia and putting together a "travel guide" for me with information about the weather, what sort of clothes I should pack, what kinds of foods I should expect to eat, and places they think I should try and visit in Moscow and in Yekaterinburg. As we get closer to my departure date, they'll also come up with some questions for me to take with me to Russia that I can answer on this blog.
I am not a very experienced international traveler, so I'm very nervous. I've only traveled to England and Spain with my husband before, I've never gone someplace like this on my own. When I think about going off to Russia (Russia!), my stomach starts twisting and turning as if I were on the tallest roller-coaster just about to go over that first hill. This is going to be an amazing adventure. I can't wait!