My buddy Sasha, who lives with his mother on the floor above me and never fails to talk my ear off in Russian, even though I can barely follow what he says. When I’ve asked my friends who are fluent in Russian what he is talking about, they tell me it’s all pretty much stream of (un)consciousness, with no coherent thread that they can determine. But, you know, he’s a nice guy. He may be crazy, but he’s always been kind and even gives me some of his found objects that he adorns and sometimes wraps with copper electrical wire. He is also clearly obsessed with electronics and often draws me little electrical wiring diagrams and tucks them into the door jamb of my flat, sometimes with discarded mail and advertising fliers.
My students and the best teaching job I’ve ever had, much of which stems from the size of the university, about 1,200 students in a two-building campus, which allows for a level of interaction that is impossible with most teaching jobs in the States. I also enjoyed a high level of camaraderie with my faculty and staff colleagues in the American Studies Department.