I know today is Monday, but this is Russia, so yesterday was Monday and today is Sunday. This was all to do with having lots of guests yesterday, so the cook was working and wanted a day off today, so yesterday was a normal working day and today we relaxed. I say relaxed, Vicky and I joined the karate class yesterday so we had an hour and a half of training today.
Yesterday we went to the third floor of the school for our very first karate lesson, only to be told 'Go outside, you can't see, it's a surprise!'. So we began our class in the open air as the sun was setting beautifully, we stretched and practised stances. It turned out that the surprise was a guided meditation lesson - which involved sitting in front of a tealight and listening to Sasha talk, which in fact was really rather nice. I tried to follow the meditation guidance but I got a bit lost trying to understand what the flames burning inside me represented. Still, it was pleasant to sit in the candlelight and get really relaxed by the smell of incense and the sound of a gong.
Today karate was back to 'normal' - after stretching we moved to the playground, where we had to 'gently beat up trees', and more terrifyingly, gently beat up our partners. Vicka, my partner, kept encouraging me to hit her harder, and laughing at me for apparently dancing as I punched her belly. I couldn't help laughing. Still, I'd rather punch her too gently and be considered weak than punch a child too hard and floor them! The last part of the lesson was spent on the kids practising routines of moves, which involved moving about the floor and punching the air, but obviously Vicky and I couldn't participate in that bit.
Each Sunday there is a therapeutic community meeting of everyone in Orion, save those who are off on trips. At the end of the meeting everyone is invited to volunteer their expectations, and also to thank those they wish to thank. In the spirit of this game, and also in the spirit of Gala Darling's Things I Love Thursday weekly article, I will also endeavour to post a weekly list of things I am grateful for.
Things I'm saying спасибо to/for this week:
- Beautiful sunsets
- An abundance of playful kittens
- Phone calls with my family and messages from friends
- Sasha, for being a really fun karate teacher and for letting us into the karate class in the first place
- Katya for breakfast and dinner, and Sasha again for cooking lunch
- All the kids in the 5th and 6th classes who made the alien lesson really fun
- Gordyei, for lending me his copy of Terry Pratchett's Interesting Times in Russian
- David Dean (a visitor here from Scotland, who is somewhere in his 70s, super nice, and a counsellor who advises Orion and other places in how best to manage the process of raising children) for suggesting to the adults here that Vicky and I should be made part of the circle during meetings and more included and mealtimes, because honestly he's right - I do feel like a second-class person when I'm sitting away from the rest of the community
- Vicky, for being hysterically funny... "Lois! Your feet fell off!" need I say more?
- Everyone who reads this blog!