14th day: End for a start.

Those two weeks have been like months. In experience, in time spent in thoughts.

I came with no clear intentions. I had to check, if my drawing I draw for M. Schetinin last year is given to him. That was my “why” to travel miles away and say big, fat NO to mountain trip with my friends (sorry, IM8). It just felt right.

It turned out a turning point. Those two weeks I have been “eyes wide open” for everything that happens in the school. There’s it all: the good and the bad. As everywhere (including Russian icecream).

In my first week I had to make a decision. Huge decision. It’s one of those decisions that defines who you  are. (Sorry, my bad- every decision defines who you are). Let’s stick with: “Huge decision”. So, I has to choose between great work option with growth and international work opportunities afterwards, with salary biger than I used to dream for. It’s like full, specially designed for me super-package. Or to leave it all, stay with no safety net in middle of nowhere and knock on the door to (maybe) get into my super-school.

With all the good and the bad, it still is my superschool. It still is place that has given me courage to dream. It has shown me unbelievable power that lies in every person. And, with all that in my pockets, I could’nt resist to live my life to the fullest. So, I go for the knock on the door. Once again.

8-9th day: Math in M.Schetinin school

trig

It’s my teacher vacation. And I am right back in school, teaching or learning again. I am unbelievably happy about it.

You could say, it’s somewhere close to “workaholic” or “fanatic”, right?

No. It’s closer to HAPPY.

 

I was studying here 9 years ago. That’s when I have been through learning process myself. Last year I had the privilege to follow study process of students, just taken into the school. I spent 3 weeks involved in the school study process. I was also teaching the Latvian language. Now I’m in school just before second student audition process: it starts in 2 days time. I am following

Now I’m in school just before student admissions: it starts in 2 days. I am following a group of students, who will teach and work with the new students. Students I follow to go through 3-day preparation course. It’s math. It’s trigonometry so far.

NOW. I have to explain some basics about this school. There are no teachers and students here. Every person in the room is both: student and teacher. Some people in the room have more knowledge (in this case: math). They can take up more leadership and help out to their group. Mostly they do. There is “teacher” in the room- she is more like “coordinator of the process”. Often she herself sits by the student who doesn’t “get it” and explains.  It’s the same as all the other students do for their group mates or some of them oversee the process and do it for any group. There are students who specialize in math- they are the ones who overlook the process and explains more complex problems. In the room, there are 7 tables and all the students are in 7 groups. In each of the group, there are about 5-7 people, including one specialized math student. I sit at the table where physic’s group works. We are six.

sidim-cherez-ugolokI am fully in the process. Sometimes I explain something to any girl, who doesn’t “get it” in our group. Sometimes I get an explanation from them. I already have figured out which girl does the math fast and precise and which one explains it best. It’s part of learning process. There are human connections all over the place, and if you don’t connect- it impact’s your studies. And when you do connect- it makes learning both, fast and fun.

I had four maths yesterday. It’s full summer speed. Today it’s three maths. Yes, they are working on Saturday. They will work tomorrow as well, even if it’s Sunday. Usually, though, Sundays are off. Here you are always ready. And alway’s on top of the game.

 How it works out in long term? They do 7 years of school in 3-4 years. Add a professional level of choreography, music, art, self-defense, building real houses and cooking on their way. Add full package of leadership roles and building communication every day. They ARE amazing.

Yes! I love to swim in those waters.

5-7th day: Oak-tree, cat and silence

IMG_20170705_194900There is silence. Birds are singing and people are talking, and trees are moving, and cars are passing by, and sun is shining… There is silence all over the place.

I was happy. I thought something is moving forward with me being in the school. It was on Sunday and Monday. But I kept waiting. Silent Monday, silent Tuesday, silent Wednesday, silent Thursday. Thursday I made some noise, though. I went to the school, knocked on the door and said: I need to speak to SOMEONE. I got a promise to have a conversation. But too many promises here “comes hard, goes easy”.

But, there was also oak-tree in the silence. There are two oak-trees I love most. One is near my home. The second one is here, on mountain verge. It has best branches for climbing, and at the top, there are best branches for sitting. It’s the best place ever to write letters back to home. And to see sun hiding behind the mountains. And to cry sometimes. And to sing songs. Latvian ones, and Russian ones, and the ones without words. Even the road to the tree is magical. It’s run up through the forest in mountains. Pure beauty.

In silence, there was also a cat. He is a bit dusty. His name is Smoke. When I go to sleep, Smoke comes to me, finds the best place on top of me and starts purring. He does it till he falls asleep. And at 5 am he is first to wake. Then he plays with my hair and usually makes me figure out, what to do with him.

In silence, there was a phone call: “Hello! Tomorrow 7 am you start at the school. You will be at school every day till you leave”. There was very silent “Yiihou!” from me. 😉

 

 

Meditation, day10: How it’s going?

Meditation of the Week_meditation for a more deeply refreshing sleep_0_0I am a bit happy. I shouldn’t allow myself to jump up-and-down from happiness because if you are too happy, it tends to change. I have done two or three meditations every day since June 25. It’s a very solid start.

My morning meditations are going smooth. I started with 10min morning meditation and today I did 16min. It has been smooth. There isn’t superbly-calm, sky-like feeling at the end of meditation yet. But I feel calm- It will come. I feel it all building up.

My evening meditations went up and down. I started with 10 min, then dropped to 7 and 5min. There was no right effect. I couldn’t keep my focus enough, it was all too blurry. Most important: I didn’t feel relaxed as I should be after doing it. (yes, yes, there were also thought fighting in the evenings. It can disturb.) But now I am building it up from 5min. Yesterday I did 8min, and now it feels right. I feel deep relaxation, and I am calm after it. It’s very easy to fall asleep after doing it. Thoughts don’t come back. I don’t feel extra deep heaviness or me inside my body- it will come later. It builds up and feels right. It’s most important.

I did also backbone meditation. I do it quite fast now. I did it walking the street as well. It’s very handy to do it like that. especially being in a place where I have to be “top-notch” every single minute (just like in the Schetinin’s school) (See in blog)

 

 

4th Day: Thoughtful

20170701_045845I am myself in the middle of thoughtful doubt process. I have some realizations here.

Like: I have to do what I want/ love to do, instead of what’s useful (for whomever it may be). I haven’t thought about my life in “fun for myself first” way for some time. It feels nice. Maybe, It’s the right thing to do.

I won’t write as often. If I want to post anything, I have to go to the city. So, it’s kind of complicated.

I will be happy for any comments. Or I feel as there is no one reading. I know, it’s not true: there are Messenger and Facebook letting me know that my friends follow all my moves. But: There IS comment sections after each article, and I would be super-happy to see ANY kind of feedback about what’s written there 😉

Ok. I will leave the city. It means no blogging till the next time.

Update about me and ‘school: School administration have contacted me. It’s already great. They asked for dates I was in their school year ago, so they can contact M.Šchetinin with precise information and figure out an option for me. I wonder: why they never ask, what COULD I do? I have the whole universe for them, just say me: Ready, Steady, Go…

3rd Day: Sunday (when nothing happens)

img_20170702_1533171.jpg

One of the school’s buildings students live in. Students built it themselves (as all the rest of the buildings)

It’s day when nothing is supposed to happen.

So. I slept well. Very well. I had a better bed that in any hotel I have been: it was firm enough. Yeahou! (Really, no sarcasm. I have been sleeping in posh hotels on the floor because bed is too soft).

I did my morning practices. I did KoukSundo (1h20min movement and some breathing techniques) together with 6-year-old Nadja. She liked it, but breathing part was quite challenging and fun. Kids don’t do it quite the way we think it should be done.

I had surprising morning call: “Hey, happy name day!” Hey, it confused me! I got reminded that I have a name day!

About 12.00 I went together with some parents to the school. There was supposed to be an excursion, and I have heard that some of the rooms they built last year are finished. I was keen to see anything I haven’t seen yet.

It turned out one of most useful and amazing M.Schetinin school excursions I have been on. We were guided from a great guy from schools administration and we were right people in our group. When a group is “on wave”, it always works in Schetinin school. And we were, so, we got some extras, like extra time, extra places to see, extra questions answered and extra openness. That’s huge.

img_20170702_154908.jpg

Wall painting in one of the auditoriums.

Lower pictures: railings at the school building and look into one of houses students live in. Each drawing at their houses is made by school kids who live in that house.

 

 

My net here is super-duper-slow, so… I will have 4 pictures. Ask from me more when I’m back in civilization.

At afternoon I had Black-see swimming and magical Russian milk ice cream.

And at the evening there were our usual-special conversations. It’s specific social phenomena that happens to happen in this corner of the world while there are entrance exam days. Mostly it’s all the way from 1st of July till 20 July. In all the village there are rooms rented. So, in each house renting rooms, there are a couple of families, trying to get their kids in the school. And there always is the moment when the conversations start: “What did they tell you guys at the school? What did you do today?” “Did you have a conversation with M. Schetinin? What did he tell?” “How did you get to know about the shool?” It’s all over the place, and it’s amazing. You are all the time surrounded by most-self-selected people, and conversations are amazing. There are some great, self-conscious and wise people. So, our evening conversations easy continue till the late night. Last night we had Andrei coming in from school- he is studying there for one year. He is really familiar with guns- not often seen in myLatvia state school.

So, my day from empty Sunday turned into quite something.

2nd day: Entrance exams

IMG_20160801_133538

Crazy jeeps and missing electricity issues. 

I climbed down the mountain around 9 am. I went to the house where I stayed 9 years ago. There I got super-friendly place-to-stay. In my conversation with the house mom, she mentioned: “I thought, you came in today because today it’s entrance exams” I had my eyes wide open! Last year entrance exam day was a crucial turning point for me and Reinis. after a week of hanging around and asking for anything, but “tomorrow”. Hearing that it’s entrance day, I got a serious feeling of bad preparation for my trip (because I didn’t see it coming).

 

So, I got extra motivation to use the day. I went to the school. They told me to call on the phone and talk with the administration. I calculated my time and went to the city to buy a Russian card for my phone. BUT It wasn’t possible because one drunk man in a jeep has knocked down two electricity poles. There wasn’t electricity on a small part of the main street, but both phone shops didn’t work. I bought food in the supermarket. At one moment it all went dark. “It’s ok, petrol ended up, we will just fill it up..” Turned out that they got their electricity by burning petrol that day. Nice moment: when I got into the phone shop, the girl asked me: Are you from Latvia? Hey, NO ONE asks that one! She remembered me from the year before, buying a phone card in the same shop. Nice one!

So, I went back to my village without Russian phone card and Internet. (Sorry, all my friends who wanted to read it fresh. No electricity!) So I just went to the school again. I asked to let me go to the administrator right away, but they told me to wait for 40min and go with all the parents.

So here it comes. Let’s start about THE school. Entrance day is THE day when all the newcomers start their application process. There are two entrance days, usually 1st of July and 10th of July. There are quite a lot of beautiful cars and well-dressed kids. I don’t think posh kids. No. Very nicely dressed kids, mostly in white shirts, boys in trousers, girls in knee-long skirts or dresses. There are no jeans!, and no girls in trousers! Even parents have to look quite representative. In the first day, kids do the Math and Russian language exam, while parents go through the questionnaire about their kids and their interests.

At 15 pm (when I joined the parents) they came to pick up kids. There was an individual conversation for each of applicant. Kids were called in with their parents and they got some feedback. Most importantly, at this moment they are told if they need to come for next day or no. It means: if they went through the first day of the selection process successfully or no. They give individual feedback for each one, who doesn’t go through, about what to improve. Organization level is quite impressive, there are lots of students (school kids) involved in talking with parents and applicants.

At the same time, I got my conversation with a school administrator. M. Schetinin has left the school, and, quite probably, he won’t be back while I am here. They asked why I didn’t call in (my bad!) and I told them what use it was to call in for last two times I came here (It was zero use). They told me that I should come back to school later in the year, I told about a conversation that didn’t take place last year. I told that I have been waiting for conversation one year already: do they want me to tell that I should come after one year more? I saw that they take me quite seriously (it can be VERY optimistic assumption here).  I asked if there is something I could do for those two weeks I will be here. The administrator gave me word that she will see what she can do about it. It’s good that I could mention quite a lot of (important) people who can remember me from last year. But still, I left with the feeling that it could turn out as the two-week vacation at Black see, without a trace of learning and presence of M. Schetinin.

So. I finished my day quite thoughtful.

1st day: Day on the way

img_20170630_1156381.jpgAt first, a plane in Moscow was late for 20min- It’s ok. We got on the plane, and then was huge rain. We sat on the plane. Rain stopped. We sat on the plane. Sun came out. We sat on the plane. My plan to get at my destination early and have a nice night in the room slowly deserted me. After sitting on the plane for 4 hours we took off. When I got out of the plane, it was getting dark already. My great plan about hitch-hiking deserted me also. My plan to try out my new sleeping bag on the roadside, wake up in the morning and hitch-hike… I guess it was not late night enough to try out that one. I hoped to be still on time for the very late bus.

That’s where I used Krasnodarsky trolley. Two of them. Amazing! Trolley costs 23rub, it’s 35 euro cents. It’s like nothing! It was best air-conditioning ever (there are lot’s of invisible holes everywhere in the trolley). There was great human-oriented service, with individual travel plans for every tourist coming from the airport and not knowing their way. Ticket lady helped more than ten people in that one ride alone. We were coached to Bus station. Thank you, lady!

Then comes crazy-tiring waiting (& a bit of sleeping) at the bus station. I managed to open a laptop and get some words out of me:

(at 23.47pm) “Now I am sitting at the bus station. It’s full. Russia doesn’t sleep. Not if you have to get somewhere. Can do it at night as well. At cash desk, they told me that bus is at 1.15am. Or maybe at 1.35am. They were not sure. They told me to wait until 00.00, then I can buy a ticket. Not now. So, it’s 23.34 at the moment… 29 degrees celsius.. (at least smell and weather were in right conditions when I dropped out of plane). I guess, I had to stick with the plan: “sleep at the side of the road and do the hitch-hiking whenever you wake up”

IMG_20170701_045921

Most-used road to the school 9 years ago.

 

 

I got my bus ticket shortly after 00.00 and started my ride at 1.15am. Around 4.30.am I was in my destination village. I didn’t want to wake up anyone. I also wanted to walk around in order to see the school, and crazy early morning is best for it. So, I got into the forest, hide my bag and left for the shool. I lurked around the school and got to see my childhood trails.

Then I returned in the forest, took my bag from the hiding place and climbed a mountain. It was 6 am and I went to sleep looking into leaves of trees and rising sun.

 

 

20170701_083624

My first bedroom beeing here