Sunday, April 04, 2010

Birthday Gifts

The students in my first class had clubbed together for a couple of cakes and a bottle of Malibu, which we drank during a listening on the Future Perfect. In the second I got two Happy Birthdays, a ceramic jug of vodka in the shape of a Cossack warrior (opening the bag, I thought it was some kind of Chinese panto villain piggy bank and my smile only turned genuine when I noticed the alcohol by volume) and several balloons tied up like flowers, which I haven't yet been brave enough to try and take home.

The alcohol theme continued through the day: a five-litre keg of Krombacher from one of my FCE classes, a glass jug of Ukrainian booze from the other. My intermediates tried something a little different, presenting me with a card that doesn't open - "Your homework is to translate the joke" - and a hard hat with a football pattern which allows you to stick two cans of beer over your ears and suck the contents through a bendy straw. "It's lethal, that," said my boss, "you can't stop drinking until it's all gone." One teacher got me a book, another a trowel for my windowsill veg patch, and a third a beer in the pub after work. We stayed until nearly two: the best thing about Odessa is that the day after my birthday is always a day off.

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