In a powerless position

Today was the first time since we’ve been in Russia that the power went out. Not really a shocking event; as we have an emergency generator in the backyard we knew that would happen some day.

The shocking thing, however, was that it happened when I had gone shopping. Which means I couldn’t get back in our house, as we have an electrically operated gate! First I tried to open the gate with the remote control. When that didn’t work, I thought the battery had gone dead and considered myself lucky that I’d also taken the key. But when that didn’t work either I got quite a bit panicky. How on earth was I going to get back into our house? And today was the day I was supposed to meet my first group English students at the language school! Luckily I had a couple of hours to spare before that, but I’d rather spend them a bit more productively than sitting on the doorstep.

That’s what I did, though. The good thing about just having gone shopping was that I wasn’t going to starve. The bad thing was that I had a heavy load of groceries to carry around. So I just stayed in front of the gate, trying the remote and key every few seconds (and later: minutes) hoping something would have changed. I thought it was a general power shortage (maybe due to the construction works at the other side of the road), so I had good hopes that it would be solved soon. When I called Wim, however, he rather thought that it was a short circuit in our house, which wouldn’t just disappear like that. So he had his interpreter call our landlord (who doesn’t speak English), who could come in about an hour.

An hour later, a lot of people had passed (all casting curious glances my way but – typically Russian – not making eye contact, which I totally didn’t mind today!) but still no sign of our landlord. And in the meantime I had to go to the toilet really urgently! So I decided to leave the groceries at the door, half hidden behind a bush (although for the purple bag that didn’t really help) and walk to the hotel down the street. And guess what … the lights in their toilet didn’t work either! Just to make sure this wasn’t a huge coincidence I asked the receptionist what was up. She told me the power was indeed out and … would be back on in thirty minutes! Enthusiastic after hearing this news, I walked back home and tried the gate once again and … it actually opened!! I was so happy! And hesitated a long time before closing the gate again, scared I wouldn’t be able to get back out.

But the problem turned out to be solved completely. So when our landlord arrived about 10 minutes later, he was really confused and we had to call Wim’s interpreter again to explain what happened. He did check the generator (which should work now) and showed me how to open the gate from the inside should this happen again. To open it from the outside, he didn’t have any other solution than jumping over the wall. 🙂

Anyway, although I was pretty annoyed this afternoon, looking back at it now, it wasn’t so bad. The weather was great and my mobile phone battery lasted long enough for me to not get overly bored. And I even had time to eat dinner before meeting my English students tonight. They seemed very nice, by the way. I’m already looking forward to my first class on Thursday. I’ll keep you posted!

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