Monday, May 06, 2013

Author visit to the Anglo American International School in Moscow

Hot on the heels of the Endangered Authors jaunt across the United States, my next adventure took me to their old sparring partner, Russia. For a good look at how the trip went, check out the splendid wee film produced by Bogdan across on Vimeo.
I arrived into Domodedovo which is one of Moscow's airports. I say it's Moscow's, but it's a whopping hour and a half's drive away on a clear run. I didn't get a clear run on the way i...n - the rain had descended in quite dramatic fashion, making the long road into the city quite a joyless affair. It's fair to say one has a preconceived idea of what Moscow is before one visits, thanks in no small part to what appears in the news and press. First impressions weren't great for me, as I drove past countless high rise blocks for mile upon mile. However, upon finally reaching the apartment I would be staying in, my opinion was beginning to change.

Librarian of the Middle and High School library at the AAS, John Bishop, was waiting to meet me at the door, showing me in giving me a moment to settle before rustling up some company for the evening. Joined by the very lovely Bogdan Mihai and ace art teacher Ellie, we set off to the Corner Burger restaurant. I know, I know, it's not the authentic Muscovite meal, a BLT Cheeseburger, but I was in need of instant and familiar sustenance at that point in time. We shared a laugh and the guys filled me in on the school before I set off back to my apartment to sleep.
 An old school bus waited for us in the morning, taking myself and a gang of teachers from the apartment block to the school itself. Security was tight, as one would expect: the school caters for the children of diplomats, business leaders and the like, from over 60 countries in all. Melanie Sobool, Elementary Librarian, and co-conspirator of John's, helped me set up and introduced me to the kids over the following three days. I have to say the kids and staff of the AAC were universally fab, to every man, woman and child. I was made to feel thoroughly welcome and just enough of a rock star to think they might rather dig WEREWORLD once they start reading the books. But this wasn't all about WEREWORLD - I was speaking to kids from pre-Kindergarten upward, not my usual crowd for a distant school visit, but Bob The Builder casts a long shadow over my CV it would appear. Concentrating on picture books and preschool television, I then moved onto Frankenstein's Cat for the 2nd and 3rd Graders before moving onto WEREWORLD with the 4th and 5th Grades. 

Suffice to say it'd be great to return and talk not only to the Middle school but also the High school - there's plenty in my colourful career that should appeal to any young person setting out into a creative future.
Subsequent evenings didn't disappoint, and I've really got to thank John, Bogdan, Melanie, Ian Forster and the rest of the staff for chaperoning me throughout my visit. Monday evening we walked down to Red Square to cop an eyeful of the Kremlin. That's an awful lot of bricks. And mortar. And gold. Lots of gold. Tuesday evening involved a trip to the Stanisavsky and Danchenko theatre to watch the ballet - my first time for a bit of tight-festooned dance action and it didn't disappoint. Quite incredible and breathtaking. The only disappointment was the crooked old woman who pushed me aside in her eagerness to get into the theatre beforehand, resulting in a torn pair of jeans. 

Home now, and things are slowly returning to normal. Very slowly...

Bada Bling!


Niel Bushnell said...

I'm sorry, but what is that thing on your head??

Jo Bling said...

It's jaunty, is what it is! #affectationtastic