Week 2: Sickness, Marriage, Russian Classes, and Beer Chips

Привет всем!

Как жизнь?! В Америке? В России?

This post: updates on life for the past week.

I’ve been meaning to write a post for most of this week, but I’ve gotten sick and have kept putting it off. What was the most common advice from people before I came here? Don’t get sick in Russia. What happened? I got sick in Russia.

Topic 1: Sickness

The problem stemmed from this (I believe): We only have 3 sick days this whole semester. Or 3 unexcused absences. If we miss any other days, we need a doctors note. The thing is: most people don’t want to go to the doctor here. If you’re sick, you just want to stay home and sleep. If you go to the doctor, you have to get up, take the metro, and walk to the clinic. Which means, whether you go to school or not, you are still getting up when you don’t feel good. So what do people do in this situation? They just go to school because they don’t want to use up their sick days or go to the doctor, and then everyone else gets sick and keeps coming to school. Result: everyone is sick.

I’m getting better now that it’s the weekend, and I’ve been asleep the entire day, so hopefully by Monday I’ll be back to normal.

Topic 2: Marriage

Ah, marriage. What does that word mean in Russia exactly? I have been trying to figure it out myself. Every day after classes, when Vika and I walk back to the metro, we cross through a park and then through an area where all the stores/cafes are, and on that street is a building where couples go to sign their marriage license. Every single day there has to be at least 3-4 weddings going on in that park, or couples walking out of that building with family and friends waiting outside to throw flowers at them. I was actually considering making a new page titled: Wedding Dresses in Russia, and taking creepy pictures of all the brides, but I figured that may look a little weird if someone sees me sneaking around with a camera taking pictures of their wife..

First off, I would like to say that I have never seen such wedding dresses as I have in this country. Blue, pink, big white things that look like the woman has transformed into the Abominable Snowman. How they walk through a muddy park to celebrate and take pictures, I have no idea.

Second, I would just like to put something in here that one of my professors talked about in class the other day. He was talking about higher education in Russia, and he mentioned that at one point he asked some Russian girls in the university why they wanted to get their diploma. What were they going to do when they were done with school? What kind of work were they planning on going into? What was the answer to this question? Can anyone reading this take a guess? The reason: So that they could find better husbands. He told us that when these girls answered him they said receiving a diploma in political science from St. Pt. State Uni (СПГУ) didn’t really matter to them at all.

Um…ok. I don’t really even know how to comment on such a thing myself, but I can’t imagine going to get my diploma solely for the purpose of finding a better husband.

I also want to mention something Tadhg talked about (if I remember correctly). He asked someone in Vladivostok this summer why girls find it so necessary to dress the way they do in Russia, and I guess the answer was that they are all competing for the best men since there apparently aren’t that many.

So, getting back to this topic..I’m not sure what marriage means here. I’ve been trying to figure it out. There are some interesting stories about people’s marriages in this country, and it’s a little frightening to think that it may be a rarity to find someone good. But since I don’t think I’ll be creating a wedding dress in Russia page, I just thought I’d include this topic in a post.

Topic 3: Russian Classes

Hey everyone, let’s all cram into one tiny room! Say cheese!

Just kidding. So this was one of my classes on Friday: Comparative Politics: US-Russia. They decided, for Friday’s, to put everyone, from every level into the same class. And the result here, was not very pleasant. Some people ended up sitting on the floor. Fortunately we switched rooms.

How are classes in Russia you ask? Well, we started taking our elective classes this past week. Along with grammar, phonetics, and conversation, I am also taking Цивилизация (Civilization: Russian Social & Political Life) as well as США-Россия (US-Russia Comparative Politics). And yes, in case you non-Russian speakers are wondering, США, or S-SH-A, is the abbreviation for the US. I really like both, and I’m really, really excited for both! It’s kind of cool because we’re getting articles to read for those two classes, and it’s almost like being back at LC with International Affairs.

Vika and I are really trying to receive International Affairs credit for the Civilization class, but it only counts for 3 credits, and we need 4, so I am hoping that that will work out in the end.

In general, classes are pretty long: 1.2 hours each. We don’t really have that much homework, but we are always doing something in class. Despite the fact that I don’t have a “Wedding Dress in Russia” page, I do think I’m going to add two new pages for both my elective classes. My professors say some interesting things, and I think it would be good if other people saw some opinions of actual Russians. Agree? I’ll get on that soon.

Topic 4: Beer Chips

Yes. They are real. Only in Russia I would imagine.

It also has колбаса (kolbasa) which is sausage.

I’m not sure whose chips these are, but I found them in the kitchen and obviously had to try them. They were actually pretty good! Probably more unhealthy than the normal Lays chips, but tasty nonetheless. Not completely sure who came up with the idea of chips with beer and sausage, but….This is Russia!

2 responses to “Week 2: Sickness, Marriage, Russian Classes, and Beer Chips

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