– 2 minute read –
The Sunday Session welcomes Valeriya Grenova!
Valeriya from Moscow, moved to East London in ’93 with her Mum, and then to Amhurst Road in 2000. I’m always meeting people in East London who have seen the area change, who knew the area before it was stamped as ‘Cool’. After the rise of Brick Lane as a party and cafe scene, next was Shoreditch and up the Kingsland Road to Dalston and beyond. Jenny has been consistently living in the area for 20 years. I guess she is now more of a Londoner than a Muscovite.
We meet in a Turkish cafe just by the corner of Amhurst and Kingsland Road. Valeriya teaches English Literature in a sixth form college in Tower Hamlets. We talk about the joys and challenges of teaching. Valeriya tells me that sometimes students can’t gauge her age. She believes this is a double-edged sword in terms of how she relates to her students and how they relate to her. We agree that teaching is a satisfying job and that it is essential to achieve the right balance between friendship, collaboration and authority.
As we leave the cafe we pass a few spots that have memories for Valeriya. As we catch a bus south to Shoreditch we note how the characteristics of the road change. Flower shops, mosques, many supermarkets and then suddenly loads of pubs. We talk of Kingsland Road being one of England’s oldest roads, dating back to Tudor times and said to follow an old Roman road.