While I still hold to my aforementioned opinions on why lunch is inconvenient, I won't deny that I love having an utterly delicious three course lunch cooked for me. Today (Tuesday) was "Russian Lunch" at the AH (the second such affair this year) wherein the Russian staff spent two full days creating a scrumptious feast of soup, salad, beef and onions, and a lemon-cake desert. Wow. So yummy. So full. And again, so full of champagne. The AH gifted each of the American teachers with a beautiful shkatulka (a hand-painted lacquer box) bearing the image of one of the cathedrals at Sergiev Posad. It is incredibly beautiful. After dining, we sang American Christmas carols and traditional Russian songs, alternating from one language to the other, backed by Britt on the guitar.
Following lunch were my last three classes of the semester. My first class (the slower 3rd level group full of disinterested teens) presented me with a ton of gifts (and apologies for their hooliganish behavior throughout the semester!). They presented me with another shkatulka (this one painted with a traditional Russian fairy-tale scene), a box of candy, and a can of red caviar (which I was instructed to eat with my mother on Christmas day - so prepare yourself, mom!). After class, two of the students gave me individual gifts: a really cool hand-carved traditional Russian wooden toy, a home-made Christmas card, an incense burner, and something that can only be described as a Solstice Necklace (some of you will know exactly what I mean).
Of my second class (the 2nd level), which had dropped to eight students by the end of the semester, had only half of its membership show up, but the four who came arrived bearing tons of food. Cake, candy, soda, cookies... We certainly weren't able to make a dent in the goodies among the five of us.
My last class (the more advanced 3rd level group) brought me a Japanese tea-cup-and-saucer set (not the least bit Russian, but absolutely beautiful!) as well as two pizzas and a chocolate cake!
I realize that I sound like an obnoxious kid on Christmas day listing all his presents, but I kind of feel like a kid on Christmas, and this was all totally unexpected, which makes it doubly nice. I'm sad that it looks like I won't have any of the same students next semester (other than my VEMZ group), because my students are awesome. (Even if some of them need to study more, hint, hint!)
And (of course) when I came home, there was a full meal prepared for me by Nina M. I swear, I've been eating all day and I feel like I'm about to burst. I won't have to eat for a week!