I hope everyone in America is doing wonderful, and finding as many reasons to be amazed with the world as I have been this past week.
I will be going to Novgorod this weekend (just 2 days), so I wanted to write a post before I leave tomorrow morning.
I have successfully managed to change groups in school! So, so happy! I went to talk to Elena and at first she seemed a little hesitant because on the paper it only shows me having 4 semesters of Russian, and I was asking to move up to group 3, but after a clever explanation, all was well. Our conversation in a nutshell:
“I don’t think I’m in the right group right now. Is there any way for me to move up?”
“Well it says here that you only have 4 semesters of Russian. I’m not really sure if you would want to move up, but I wasn’t sure which group to put you in originally.”
“But I went to Middlebury too…..”
“OH OK! Yes, yes, yes, of course! Which group do you want to be in?”
Guys, it pays off to be a MiddKid, even if it’s just for one summer. Just saying.
So all is well there.
I’m trying to “practice” more Russian by not exchanging all my money right away and going to different banks. I’m not really sure if it does much, since you really only need to say one thing, but at least you have to face someone. And I’ve also been going out to eat a bit more.
Today with Vika. At a restaurant called Bistro, I managed to get chicken kebab, rice, a Russian salad, and black tea, while listening to Complicated by Avril Lavigne. What country was I in exactly? I’m not completely sure myself.
After this interesting lunch, we walked around Nevsky trying to find three things for a somewhat cheap price: a jacket, gloves, and a scarf. Needless to say, there is probably not much na Nevksom for cheap, but we managed to find all of it as well as pick up some cool chocolate from the Chocolate Museum. Success? I would say so.
It’s been a pretty exhausting week, and it’s going to be an exhausting weekend, but I’m looking forward to finding more things to do (because I know there’s some cool stuff students go do, but I haven’t figured out what/where it is exactly). I would really like to meet some of the Russian students, but they all seem kind of intimidating at Smolny, especially if you’re not dressed like you’re ready to go to the club, which is why I’ve been thinking about teaching English or auditing a real Russian class, both of which would also be somewhat intimidating, but you have to do what you have to do.
There’ve been a lot of Russian students who walk past our group and start to either laugh or make fun of what is said in English, which doesn’t really help either, but you just have to deal with it.
I had a friend post a funny comment on my vkontakte earlier asking if American stereotypes of Russians are true. Do we have a pet bear and drink vodka for every meal? Did we meet Uncle Nikolai who wears an ушанка (fur hat) and has a kalashnikov? Do we sing communist anthems in the morning?
I have yet to see any of those things. Unfortunately, we don’t have a pet bear, which personally, I think would be pretty cool. Although I do have a fat cat named Marcel. I have not drank any vodka. I have not met anyone named Nikolai here, let alone see anyone wearing a fur hat and/or walking around with any sort of Kalashnikov weapon. Although, there are полиция (police) everywhere, naval students everywhere, and people dressed in different military uniforms with funny hats walking around everywhere, and I’m not completely sure what they do, but I would prefer to stay out of their way. I haven’t sang anything here or heard anyone sing anything here with regards to communism. HOWEVER, on Nevsky today, there was this kid singing “Numb” by Lincoln Park (not sure if everyone knows that song or not) and he was actually really good! His voice sounded better than the actual band, so that was pretty cool.
So, no. To all of those questions, the answer is no. No bears on unicycles. No one (that I’ve seen) is openly drinking on the streets, although there are some drunk people around here and there. No Uncle Nikolai with an AK-47. My life here isn’t that enthralling.
Mainly it’s been waking up early, going to class, trying to figure out if there’s anything to do after class, going home, eating, and if I have any homework that actually needs to be done, it’s done. Но это всё.
I am still trying to figure out what kind of “internship/volunteer” thing I should do, so if you have any suggestions for me, look at my last post.
Other than that, life is life. I do miss home, because home is comfortable. But it’s good to be uncomfortable too, and soon I’ll be dealing with the usual applying for spring classes and summer internships, so yes, life is life no matter what side of the planet you’re on.
Я скучаю по всем! Cao!
P.S. Our cat absolutely loves me. 🙂
Just thought I’d make you all jealous.