15 July 2009

War museum, connected ear lobes, and mini America?

So we went on this excursion on Sat to a war museum well it was a World War II museum and it was really interesting. at first. we went to this basement part that remembered and honored all those who died in Russia. It was around 30 million. then we went on this tour were you looked at painting and our tour guide described them. at first it was really interesting but after 2 hours you tend to loose interest. also it kinda turned into the battle of the translators. the tour hired a translator but a couple of people in our group felt they could translate better so it was the russian lady and like 3 translators talking at the same time. this is when i started not paying attention and when my friend noticed i had connected ear lobes. apparently it is rare or something anyway we started playing the game look at people ear lobes. i was the only one. soo now it is a big joke. something about me being a freak. fantastic. haha.

after the museum we walked around a park. it is called victory park...clever since that is where they honor most of their soldiers and commemorate Russia's victory over germany. It is a really really cool fun park. actually this week they are having a beach volleyball tournament there. it is part of the world tour.

after the park we went Sarah's house for a cookout and to spend the night. her dad works in moscow but the rest of her family was in the states visiting. she invited us over for a break from moscow. she lived in this community for foreigners in moscow. kinda like an army base but not military. anyway we made hamburgers and french fries from scratch and they were amazing. her dad grilled them for us along with veggies to put on it. after dinner some people went for a walk around the complex but sarah her dad me and one more of my friends played tennis. it was really fun but i am out of practice plus not very good to begin with. After tennis we ate ice cream and watched a movie. it was fantastic and quite the needed break.

sunday we left and headed back to moscow leaving our nice little America. ha. we had church and i was giving a small little talk in russian for relief society and ashley and linsey were singing. luckily it all went well. after church we walked around a bit and then i went to go visit a friend that was feeling sick. she was doing better so overall it was an amazing weekend! PLUS it was sunny and amazing all weekend tooo. fantastic summer is showing itself!

13 July 2009

ostrich eggs and coconut shells

so friday we went to the armory. which was really huge and had a lot of the same kinda stuff. but it was cool stuff. it had different type of silverware and plates and things of that nature. it also had some Faberge eggs (see previous post to learn more or google it) then there was the actual armory part which had knives and swords and ivory encrusted rifles...because who doesn't need those around. it also showed armory of the time. it was way cool. there were also a lot of goblets. i snuck in on someone else's english tour and learned about some that were made out of ostrich eggs and coconut shells...while fascinating..i went back to my game of making up descriptions and stories myself...generally in a really bad english accent. actually highly entertaining. at least for me. then we went to the bottom floor where they had a bunch of catherine the great's dresses. it was kinda funny because although the dresses were probably in order from when she was young to when she was older..it looked like they were arranged from skinniest to fattest. i'm a jerk i know but...i speak the truth. there were also some really cool carriages that were super nice. and also some sledges. for some reason the russian word for sleigh translates to sledge. hmm. i dunno maybe because they are covered. i have no idea.

after the museum we went to a ballet. i generally get into trouble because i continue my story telling in these. ballets as you know just have dialogue so it is sometimes fun to make up your own stories. however a bad idea when you start laughing and can't stop. i blame ashley for laughing too much which made me laugh more. hah. anyway we went to giselle which was gorgeous and had beautiful music. see i appreciate culture. afterwards i came home to my empty apartment. it was great.


this was linsey's birthday. also for those counting which i am not..it was the month mark for when i come home. ha. for her birthday we went to a pizzeria by my house and then about 12 of us came over to my apartments for ice cream. (we have had bad luck with cakes here) then some people played ping pong while the rest of us played famous people. my team won by the way. it was a really fun day and i hope linsey enjoyed it. ...judging by her blog she did...but i was nervous cause i played it and it would be alll my fault if she had a crummy birthday.

05 July 2009

the 4th!

so on the 4th of July i went to where the Russian government is..the Kremlin. it was cool. actually it was freezing cold probably aroun 40 degrees plus i biting wind. so much for the hot summer. anyway despite the fact it felt like november in july we had a pretty good time. we walked around and looked at some churched. there are like 5 churches in the Kremlin which is kinda funny because Stalin lived there and i don't think he prayed once. so we went in those and that was pretty cool and then we also got to see some sort of parade thing for some cermony. clearly i was informed. after the kremlin i went home to take a nap i was not feeling well and the last thing i needed was to get sick. so i went home and slept for 2 and a half hours. it was fantastic and needed. i felt so much better. When i got up i headed out to meet some of our group for the 4th of july party we were havign at a couple's apartment. we all got ice cream and toppings and just ate and talked. it was a pretty fun 4th even though we didn't have fireworks or you know sun. but it was nice to sit around and talk about different things and just chill for a bit. we were actually there til almost 11. oops. i came home afterwards and just feel back asleep. my body i think was still trying to make up for st. petes and all the running around i do here. but good news also. my hot water came back on on the 4th. it was heavenly. it was supposed to come back on on the 1st but it took til the 4th just when i was starting to loose hope. now i have hot water which is great because it is supposed to be cold and rainy this week. well folks. i am caught up on my blog. you are welcome.

the cosmos

so this past friday we went to the cosmonaut museum. well sort of. we went and the sign for admission said students were free..fantastic who doesn't love free stuff? well when we got to the window the couple in front of me (both of them had served missions) got to the window and the lady wouldn't take their student id cards. it was just our russian ones, so i got to the window i pulled out all three of my student id cards. they wouldn't take any of them insisting that it was free only for russian students. we argued that the sign only said students and we were students. it turned into this argument which is kinda funny anyway cause you haven't really been yelled at unless you have been yelled at in russian. anyway they finally make us move out of the way to help other people, we being to stubborn at this point to pay even though it was only 3 dollars. and the original irritable lady came out with a new sign which she had written RUSSIAN next to students in bold. hilarious. at least we inspire change. this might not seem like a funny story but ridiculous. it is ridiculous which is why it is funny and very typical russian.

so instead we went outside and played on the solar system. they have a small statue thing which has all of the planets around a sun sundial. even little pluto is still there.

we will probably go back. and hopefully deal with nicer ladies ones i wouldn't mind giving 3 dollars to.

the adventure continues...St. Pete day 2

So. i woke up amazed at how well i slept with my roommate kinda laughing at me for falling asleep so abruptly especially since all the lights and the tv were on. ha
anyway. we got up and went to have another huge breakfast with rice and mini hot dogs this time. haha well and normal stuff too. i actually took some boiled eggs for the road. yum. judge me. but i didn't have to buy lunch. we had decided the day before to go to peterhoff which i believe is peter the great's palace..anyway the people kinda of organizing it slept in and were eating when 8 of us were ready to go and somehow i got put in charge of getting us there. we got on the metro fine found the right bus and made it to Peterhoff. go me. i had some help you know with the front desk lady telling us how to go and which bus to take. so yeah. anyway. we got there and it was amazing. the grounds are extensive and gorgeous. we actually went in the back way and were amazed when we got to the front 'yard' we were even more impressed. there were fountains and such and a canal leading from the sea. the castle is right on the gulf of finland. it was wind and cold that day but it was still gorgeous and there were plenty of things to find and wander to. we had a good time. then we went back to the bus and started our trip back to St Pete's to look around the city more. the first stop was the cathedral of the spilt blood, it is where alexander II was assassinated. it kinda looks like st. basil's but i a little cooler. plus the inside is way cooler with all types of mosaics. after that we went to Kazan cathedral which was built to look like St. Peter's in Rome which i found ironic because doesn't the Russian Orthodox church not want to be related to Catholicism? anyway. it was really pretty and cool. but definitely more catholic looking that orthodox. after that we walked down to the winter palace which is very pretty and huge around on the square AND the sun came out. it was fantastic. The winter palace was on one end of the main street in St. pete's and we decided to walk to the other end where our hotel was so we could met before going to the train station. it took us almost 2 hours to get back because we were shopping and looking at things, maybe stopped for ice cream. ps mcdonalds stiffed us and raised the price of ice cream cones 2 rubles. those jerks. i think by the time we made it to the hotel we had walked well over 10 miles the whole day. when we got to the hotel we grabbed some dinner at the store and then most people took the metro to the train station but some of us walked. i walked. it was great. but by the time i got to the train station i again was exhausted. unfortunately i could not sleep well on the train and when we arrived on monday i came home and slept for a bit, then woke up did some stuff and the slept til about 1. i still don't feel like it was enough but i was just grateful they cancelled classes. i would have perished right there in russian grammar if they hadn't.

Saturday- St Pete's day 1

So we hurried off the train and followed our tour guide to the bus. she was quite the the guide. We would randomly stop and then she would say we have 100 more meters til the street, then we will get on the bus...haha.
so we got on the bus. and drove down to the hotel and checked in luckily breakfast wasn't starting til 7;30 so i ran to my room and took a hot shower. this was amazing. i think i have forgot to mention but moscow turns of the hot water for 2 weeks at a time in different parts of the city to check pipes. i was on my 2 weeks. towards then end and in desperate need for a hot shower. needless to say the hot shower made me fall in love with st. pete's at once. then we went down stairs and had a massive breakfast complete with pork and steamed vegetables if you wanted. i stuck to more traditional breakfast food like blini (crepes) and kasha (rice oatmeal) it is fantastic. after breakfast we got back on the bus and began our 5 hour tour of st. petersburg. we stopped on a bridge to see the 'lighthouses' they are on the river. st. pete's is covered with canals and water. the venice of russia some say. after that we headed to Peter and Paul fortress which was built by the Peter the Great. we went into the cathedral there which is where all the czars are buried including nicholas the II and his family. After that we also stopped and looked at a couple old ships one was called the aurora and fired the signal to begin the Oct revolution and one was Peter's old boat. pretty cool. then we went shopping and i got some cool stuff. not telling. ha. and then we went to a cathedral. it was st. isaac's cathedral which was built in honor of Nicholas something but you can't really build churches to honor czar so they named it after nicholas's patron saint..isaac. The inside was pretty cool but we didn't have time to go to the top which i was kinda sad about. after the cathedral we went to lunch at around 1. it was fantastic. i didn't realize i was so hungry...i probably shouldn't have been from all i ate at breakfast. after lunch we went to go see a famous statue which is peter the great on a horse who is stepping on a snake. i kinda enjoyed the snake being stepped on even though it was still an ugly thing. after the statue we went to the hermitage which is like the russian louvre. it has some really cool things in there but is known for its collection of Rembrandt, it also had a couple of da vinci and you know monet. it is huge. it is one of those places you can never really see all of it. we spent almost 3 hours there and afterwards stood out in the rain waiting for our bus. it was kinda fun actually things were pretty lively around the water because the end of the boat around the world tour race or something like that was ending in st pete's so we got to see the 'lighthouses' lit up which they never do during the day and usually on national holidays. so that was something. after the hermitage some people went to a play but i was so beat and was pretty sure i didn't want to pay 50 bucks to take a nap so i went to the hotel. some of us that didn't go went to the grocery store and bought dinner and then ended up talking. so much for the nap. we were going to try and stay up for the white nights in St. pete's but it was rainy and gross. it is supposed to be cool because they lift the bridges so boats can come in and you can see, but not til one in the morning. i was gunna go to sleep and wake up and watch it. didn't quite happen like that. i got into my comfortable bed, and my roommate got in the shower and i was watching some news ...plus all of the lights were on. i didn't even stay awake til the end of her shower...i didn't move til like 7 the next morning. oops. i guess that is what happens when you have a bed rather than a chair-bed. it was fantastic.

30 June 2009


So friday was a fun filled day.

first we went to the Faberge egg exhibit which has some of the coolest most amazing looking eggs ever. they were made by this one guy...faberge for the royal family during easter. they have gold, and diamonds and all sorts of expensive things on them. we couldn't take pictures so you definitely need to look them up online to see what i am talking about. there were also a bunch of other artifacts from the royal family that were really cool and very expensive looking.

after the museum we went to lunch and got cheburechni...which are basically fried pastries with stuff in them. basically pastries of death. very unhealthy but delicious. i got one with cheese and one with potatoes. After lunch we met up with some more people and went inside St Basil's cathedral. it was pretty cool. we were supposed to pay to take pictures but i have corrupted linsey into sneaking them. plus no one asks or looks for the picture permit. anyway i need to get the pics from linsey. after st. basil's we went to a mall for a bit but i headed home early because i still needed to pack and eat dinner before i left for st. pete's. we were on the night train which is not as cool as it sounds.

after dinner, i headed to the train station super excited for Pete's. once on the train the excitement of the night train wore off. i was on a small bed which is expected but it wasn't even long enough for me. plus i was right next to the bathroom and we didn't have a door to our little room so we heard people passing back and forth. then it was kinda funny the train turned off the lights at a certain time so you couldn't even read if you wanted to. i managed to finally fall asleep just in time to roll into st. pete's and wake up to russian wake up and get off our train music. total eclipse of the heart was in there and consequently stuck in my head all day long.

thursday..of last week

this day our lab class was at our teacher's. we made lunch using our amazing cooking vocab.

we made pelmeni from scratch with was delicious. they are the ravioli things. we had ours with meat. yummy. we even made the dough.

we also made borscht which was also delicious. it had more veggies in it than i usually have. i also tried kvas. which is fermented bread...drink. it is like a non alcoholic beer. and it is disgusting. it tasted like soy sauce that was carbonated...apparently it is popular. i didn't enjoy it.

i remembered most of the recipes so y'all have something to look forward to when i get home.

29 June 2009

busy busy dizzy

ok. i know y'all hate me, but i will have to live with that.

i am going to go through last week up until i left for St. Petersburg. Then i will probably do a couple of blogs for St. Petes.

so last sunday i didn't go to church but i went to a russian dacha (countryside home). It was actually the dacha of our russian program director at ANE (my university). We took a train out to the country side, our stop was New Jerusalem. funny i didn't know it was in Russia. Then our director met us there and he along with 2 taxises drove us to the dacha. the country side is really beautiful and also very green. i decided that i think i would live in my dacha rather than in the city. Oh. people only visit their dachas on the weekend. it is just a small getaway that has their garden. most dachas are really quite small and only have enough room to sleep really. Our director's dacha was actually pretty big compared to what other people in our group have experienced. It was like a nice little log cabin. it was great. once there we met Sasha's (our director) wife. and their 2 dogs which were so adorable. one was a black russian terrier and one was just a terrier. the black one was huge and only 6 months old. i didn't get a picture but you will have to look them up online. then we at dinner which was fantastic and pretty sure all of us ate too much. Then we went on a walk around his dacha looking at all the different plants and other dachas. it was really pretty. then we came back inside and had dessert and tea. i am becoming such a fan of tea here ..the herbal kind. especially on wet rainy days which have been happening pretty much everyday for the past 2 weeks. after dinner we just talked alot. and by we i mean the other people in our group. i was just fine listening and petting the dog. After that we went back to the train station and headed home. However, we hit sunday traffic of everyone going back to the city and stood for most of the hour and a half. it wasn't tooo bad actually.

21 June 2009

the week.

So the picture to the right is the view out my kitchen window at night. It is my one love of Moscow. It is just gorgeous and unlike most of Moscow.

the week again wasn't too exciting. Linsey, Ashley and I worked on our homework on the river bank of the Moskva River, on Tuesday. There were lots of people there. It is kinda like a make shift beach and some people definitely thought they were at the beach. yikes. We all got a little red but it was nice to be out in the sun rather than inside. I'm glad we did it because the rest of the week has been rainy and cold.

Friday we were super busy. The group planned a trip to the Trinity Monastery which is about an hour and a half out side of Moscow. It was really pretty but a lot of things were closed for reconstruction. That was kinda disappointing. We also couldn't go into a lot of the churches which made me kinda sad, but it was still cool and nice to kinda get out of Moscow for a bit.

Saturday we went to the Tretyakov Gallery which is kinda like the Louvre of Russia. We had a tour guide so it was cool to hear stories about the paintings that I normally wouldn't have known. We spent about 3 hours there and didn't see everything. It is almost impossible like the Louvre to really see everything well. I might go back so I can wander around by myself and look at things. After that we went to lunch and I had some pelmeni. those things are quite delicious. haha. of course it had dill on it. dill is used all the time here. good thing i have like. i didn't know i would but i do...so everything works out. then we went to mcdonalds for a .30 cent ice cream cone. oh how i love the conversion rate. after ice cream and chatting we made our way to ikea to play games. we don't really have a place big enough for all of us to play games together, so we figured the show rooms at ikea would work splendidly. we didn't even get kicked out, just got weird looks from people. Who plays card games in ikea anyway...Americans apparently. next time we should get a game of sardines or hide and seek going. that could be fun. so yesterday was a pretty long day i was going for about 12 hours. well at of the house for 12 hours. it doesn't seem like we do a lot but with travel time and such things take a while. i will try and get better at writing in this like i was before. haha. but if you crave for more...look at Linsey's blog..A Summer in Moscow. I am always with her and she is much more diligent than me. obviously some things won't apply..but it is nice to get a second account. haha. especially since i am lazy.

15 June 2009


sorry. my plan was to catch everything up yesterday, but of course my internet was out.

so. thursday instead of class we walked around Moscow and with our teacher taking pictures. this is our lab class and we had photography vocabulary. i think i was supposed to be using it on the trip around. we saw some interesting stuff i probably wouldn't have found otherwise. there was a statue thing that was about how the vices of adults effect the lives of children. It was kinda cool but kinda creepy looking too. we also crossed this bridge that had these fake chain type trees on it. on the trees were locks with couples names on it. it was kinda cool. people locking their love forever. ha. we made it back from our little excursion just in time for a guest lecturer from the state dept. who of course talked about how great the foreign service is. it was actually pretty cool, but i don't think i could move every two years. That lecture lasted a bit and afterwards i left and came home early so i could do laundry and such. it was pretty exciting.

Friday was Russia day. it is when russia declared independence from the Soviet Union. Linsey and I hung out all day because most people went on a camping trip. we vetoed that idea for several reasons..mainly it was supposed to rain all weekend. after hearing some stories we are pretty happy with our decision. We went to old arbat street and looked around, it has souvenirs and paintings and such. it is a pretty cool place. then we went to red square to see what going on there for russia day...turned out not a whole lot. well there was a marathon going on. I still don't see the amusement in doing a marathon. I'll stick with my sprint triathlons. thank you very much. then we went to this grocery store to buy water. it is very hot and water is a necessity but we have to buy it because we don't want to die after drinking tap water. we found this really good 1.5 liter water for 7 rubles. that is like 23 cents. so yippee. then we went to this park which we learned today isn't really a park but a boulevard because it is in between two streets. so even though it was green and grassy...not a park. there was supposed to be a free concert there but we couldn't find it. so we just sat and talked. Then linsey came over to my apt to spend the night. my family was out of town, but told me how to make this ravioli stuff which you basically just boil. good thing i can work a stove like no other. just in case Nina showed me how to use the stove. i swear you can't speak a language so you immediately become incompetent in every other aspect of life. anyway. linsey and i enjoyed our ravioli and picked out a movie to watch, the da vinci code. to make ourselves feel better we put on russian subtitles. the only problem is when they spoke french or whatever we had no idea what was going on. because instead of english subtitles there were russian ones. shocker. before the movie we went to my nearest productie, that is what they call little convenience stores. and got some fanta and chips. haha. super healthy i know. then we kinda just chilled and then went to bed. it was a fun girl's night.

Saturday we got up and went to the renick and looked for stuff. we bought some stuff too but i am not telling what. it was fun bargaining and talking. we are getting better. after that we went to the novodivcty convent and cemetery. the cemetery has people like kruschev and yeltsin and checkov buried there. it is a really cool place. the greenery is just kinda let go and grows everywhere. so all different plants are everywhere. they also had free bathrooms which ended up being holes in the ground so linsey and i vetoed that real fast. then we headed up to the monastery which was build for peter the great's wife after he wanted to be free of the marriage. it takes get thee to a nunnery to a whole new level..here honey i built you a convent to live in. apparently she was crazy but still i think that there are more subtle ways to go about things. It was pretty and interesting. there are three churches inside. one is still working so we stayed for mass. it was really interesting and had lovely music. however we had to leave before it was completely over because of the incense plus we had to have our heads covered so i was getting really hot in there. after that we were beat. walking around in very hot weather is somewhat exhausting. i came home and nina had made some yummy chicken. i think it was fried chicken. it was delicious. sometimes ok a lot of times good meat is hard to come by. i think that is why i have become mostly a vegetarian. mainly because that is what i eat. i eat salad every night for dinner. it is kinda funny because nina uses oil and a little balsamic vinegar for dressing. all that oil has really helped out my hair. nice and shiny. plus i haven't blow dried it since i have been here. after dinner i read for a bit and then just crashed i was so tired from the day.

sunday. i pretty much laid in bed til i had to go to church, my body needed it. church was fine. still didn't understand much. although i did understand when this lady began asking us if we sang or played instruments. i gladly informed her that linsey played piano and ashley sang. i knew what was coming. she asked us to do a musical number. i think i might have to do it but i think i mostly pawned it off onto ashley and linsey. so woohoo there. my internet stopped working sunday so i read pretty much the rest of the day. it was nice relaxing.

today i did not want to get up. i was sleeping so well. plus mondays are usually brutal so i didn't have a lot to look forward too, but classes went surprisingly well. linsey asked our teacher how to say mold because her blind (well maybe) babushka has been giving her mold strawberries. our teacher got really concerned and told linsey that she shouldn't eat moldy things like bread or fruit, again...incompetent in all aspects of life. and she told linsey if she knew what her babushka was putting in her meals. haha. hilarious. anyway i thought it was funny. after class linsey ashley and i went to a children's theater which does ballets and things for kids. but it is supposed to be really cheap. we actually got ticket for 50 rubles which isn't even two bucks and got to watch swam lake. i think it is a cool idea having a place where children can come and watch things so they are disturbing snooty rich people. so it was really good. funny in parts ..of course not purposely but how serious can you take a bad guy when he is wearing tights and leaping about. not very. afterwords i cam home and ate with Nina. I like talking to her a lot plus it helps my russian. the other day she said i was a comfortable person which i forget the russian word but it is in the context of relations. she said she liked eating with me basically. i know cause she translated for me. ha. that pretty much brings me up to now. catching up on my blog.

07 June 2009

The weekend

So oops. hehe

Thursday we finally made it to the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. It is gorgeous and huge. AND new. Stalin destroyed it. shocker, and tried to build something in its place but that didn't work out so he put a swimming pool there instead. After the fall, they Orthodox church got permission to rebuild it, so the built it like it was before and finished it in like 2000 or something. Anyway. It was way cool and amazing on the inside but unfortunately pictures weren't allowed.

Friday we went to an ex-Soviet park. It is funny to me when things are described like this because technically everything is ex-soviet. Anyway, this park had buildings for each Soviet Republic. And apparently they had festivals and such. I don't know too much about it one of our friends was telling us about it and another was translating...and they got stopped by the police. I think they said Stalin too loud. look out. After wondering around the park for a while we went across town where I made my debut on TV as an audience member of the Russian version of dancing with the stars. I know right? it was kinda hilarious and uncomfortable. we were sitting on the floor and the speaker was right in our ear. I don't know if that ear will ever be the same.

(thanks to linsey for stealing a pic, and letting me steal it from her)

Saturday we went to Tsaritsyno
This was a summer get away for Catherine the Great...that she never used.
It is a massive park and castle with several huge buildings.
She had it built to celebrate her (Russia's) victory over the Turks. It took ten years to build, she came by didn't like it and had it torn down and told them to try again. The next one also took ten years to build and was finished the year she died. The tsar after her didn't like it so they didn't even finish the interior and just let it rot. However, in 2005 they decided to fix it up and now it is super cool and has a 21st century interior..modeled after Catherine the Great's time period of course. haha. it was pretty cool. The gardens and parks are amazing. Apparently Russians think so too because there were at least 30 brides taking pictures there on Saturday. Apparently it is normal...or ridiculous. Linsey and I lost count. After the park we went over to our program director's house to have a party and get together. It was really fun and nice to just relax for a bit.

03 June 2009

The Circus!!

So today was a challenge getting out of bed. My fold-out chair is actually kinda comfortable...thinner than a twin bed but you know. It works.

I went to class feeling pretty good about myself because I had done all my homework. Class was better today. Our teacher (the one who annoys me) got really upset because we didn't use the right amount of grams or kilograms for things we were saying we bought at the market. We told her we didn't know grams, and that we used pounds at home. She got really upset saying..what are we going to do? i don't know, I don't know how to use pounds. Ha. It is really funny because the homework was a grammar exercise. We told her it didn't matter if we said the right amount or not as long as the grammar is right. She was still really worried because what if we have to buy meat. I said I won't buy meat here, and if we do we can actually see the amount. She finally agreed but laughed every time we said something wrong. It was fantastic. Also earlier she asked why we looked so sad. And to really avoid the question I just said I learned not to smile in the metro. She laughed and explained why people don't smile in the metro and why it is important that we don't smile. Then she said but it was ok to smile in her class. I said I forgot. She laughed again.

After our two classes we got bad news that our last lecture class was cancelled. We were devastated. After class we just killed time until we had to meet for the circus! haha.

The circus was actually pretty fun. AND hilarious. Though I don't think they meant it to be. There were the usual acts, spinney people on ropes, a magician, and then gold. An act that started out with the Matrix theme song and green lasers, AND a man and a women in sunglasses with trench coats. FANTASTIC, the man started juggling briefcases, but wait there is more-- he took things out of the brief cases (obviously this part was set to mission impossible music, he took of the trench), He then started juggling the things out of the brief cases...of course set to the James Bond theme song. At least he felt cool.

THEN. there were these acrobats that jump on see-saw things and fly onto peoples shoulders or launch people in the air which was generally pretty cool. BUT there were dancers who just danced around the acrobats...in 70's fake fros, and sunglasses with neon outfits on. ALSO the music...techno abba. I really don't know how you can beat that. Sometimes all of the acrobats and dancers would dance together...YES..using old records as props. Did I mention the techno Abba? HILarious.

There were also the real cool acts with people bending in ways they shouldn't and flipping through the air. and tigers. and lions. but no bears...or elephants. It is ok. I'll take the disco-acrobats.

Also on the way home, as soon as I got out of the metro it started raining....in a terenchal downpour sort of way. Needless to say, after my mile walk home I was/am soaked. I looked like I had just jumped in the river. It actually was kinda refreshing. Luckily Nina didn't see me come in. I think she would have worried and then told me about how it is bad to walk in the rain. eh. Although it was kinda funny seeing all the Russian's who had enough sense to get out of the rain faces as I walked/sloshed by. I pretty sure I walked through some mini-rivers.

02 June 2009

two in one

So I am combining Monday and Tuesday

We of course had classes and it was trying of course. It wouldn't be class with out some difficulties. ha. After class, I stayed around and worked on some homework. Then I went to get dinner with a couple of friends at a Russian restaurant. It was really good even though I just got a salad. Normally I eat at home with Nina, but tonight was different because we had somewhere to be at 7 that I could not miss...President Uchtdorf and Elder Anderson were coming to speak. So we definitely all went to that. The talks were amazing. Both Sister Uchtdorf and Anderson spoke. Sister Anderson spoke in Russian and it was really amazing how much effort she put into that talk and how nervous she must have been. I can relate. Sister Uchtdorf was a very happy person. She was just very spunky. haha. I know that sounds weird but it is true. She spoke and English and had a translator like Elder Anderson and President Uchtdorf. The talks were amazing and so helpful. Since I don't understand church it has been hard to get spiritually uplifted. This was just what I needed. Afterwards I was able to shake President Uchtdorf's hand. He is such an amazing man, and you could definitely feel the love he has for the people of the church. AMAZING. Also it was so nice to see the love between President Uchtdorf and Sister Uchtdorf. You can see how much they love each other.
After the conference, we went to McDonald's for ice cream. you can get a cake cone for 10 rubles...that is about 30 cents. ps. Again, I probably would have been better off not knowing that. I finally got home around 12, completely beat. (that is why I did not post yesterday, извините)

Today I class. One of my teachers really really frustrates me. and everyone in my class. oh well. It also probably didn't help that we were all exhausted from the night before. After class, Linsey and I worked on homework for awhile. a long while. It is ok. whatever. ahaha. After that a bunch of us girls had a nice vent session. It was fantastic, apparently a lot of us feel the same about a lot of different things. It was nice hearing that I am not crazy for feeling the way I do sometimes. I know this is ultra vague. I intended it to be. After that we left to go to an international movie (code for a movie in English) a library was showing. However some people got there before us and texted us to let us know the movie...a documentary on the electric chair. As fun as that sounded, we decided not to go. We just hung out instead. But all of us were still so tired that we left early to go home. I came home and had dinner. They had a liver something spread that you put on bread. I avoided that like the plague and stuck with my salad and chicken noodle soup.
note. i did not have ice cream today. be proud.

31 May 2009


That is the word for Sunday ps. It also means resurrection so there you go.

Today I lounged around the house. I don't have church until 2. I think I like it.
I did straighten my room and get my new purse organized and goofed around, I might have some homework I need to do. Oops.

Today at church was good. I think. I did not understand anything really. I would stink at that what did you learn at church today game. Well I learn some church words like завеса which is veil. you guessed it. Today the Sunday School lesson was on план спасения (plan of salvation). Luckily they had a white board and were writing these terms down. Also they did the normal diagram so I got the gist. haha. Some people speak English so it makes it easier a bit conversation wise, but overall I have no idea what is going on. We skipped over useful church phrases in school. Hmm. It is really a great feeling not knowing anything.

After church, the nice missionaries from America seem to be worried about us so the elders gave us their number if we need anything or whatever. It was weird getting a missionary's number by the way, but better to call them than the police. ha.

Then some nice girls from church asked if we wanted to walk around with them. so we did. and much to our surprise we also signed up for a photo shoot. One girl really loved her camera so she would stop us and put us into poses and take our picture. If you see incredibly awkward pictures on facebook...of us looking confused or trying not to laugh, you know why. I guess it wasn't too bad but still hilarious.

Also. funny story. circus and church are very similar in Russian. Ashley thinks she has been telling her babushka that she has been going to the circus. She also told her babushka that her sister who is on a mission works for the circus in the Philippines. also hilarious.

So for dinner tonight I had scrambled eggs with tomatoes which I enjoyed but Nina also put out these little fish. I think they might have been anchovies. Basically the head was chopped off and everything else was left..even the tail. I avoided these, but Nina asked if I didn't like them, and I mistakenly said I hadn't tried one before. And she told me to try one. I did. Yikes. No worries I didn't eat the tail. It was really fishy. I don't think i will do that again. However, after she asked if I liked ice cream, ha do I like ice cream. I said yes. And she said that there is always ice cream in the freezer and to help myself!! It took 2 weeks for that to come out. Ice cream? really. I had some. On second thought, she probably shouldn't have told me.


yesterday we went to Izmaylovo market.
Linsey and I were looking for bigger purses because we hate having bookbags everywhere. Mainly because we look American and stand out, they are uncomfortable, and we are worried something will get stolen.
The market is really fun but kinda intense. People were pulling big carts with stuff on it, and had no qualms about running you over or pushing you out of the way. It was also huge. We walked everywhere. It is also kinda intense because you have people yelling at you to come by stuff. One guy was talking to me and i shook my hand no, and he actually grabbed it and would not let me go. Luckily with my pulling and Ashley's pushing, I made it. I also got attacked by man selling hats i was walking by not fast enough and he just grabbed a hat and put it on my head trying to sell it to me. HA. It was pretty cute.
We also went to a section of the market that had more souvenirs. It was way cool and we found some neat stuff. I bought a really cool ring that I am excited about.
It was also kinda cool to barter and stuff in Russian...even though it was really choppy. Although one guy said that we understood Russian well and that most people just come in and don't know any Russian. So that is something.
I also found some cool things for some of y'all. Be excited. I haven't bought it yet.
It was funny though after all that we still hadn't found a purse. So we went through the bigger market and found our purses right away. It was great. I feel like a spend a lot of money but really it wasn't a lot at all. like 15 bucks for my ring and purse. So. woohoo.

29 May 2009

oh the little things.

When you are thrown into a completely different country and culture. You start noticing the small things that make life grand. You thrive on the little things.

sleeping in. Now this doesn't necessarily have to deal with Russia, but when I get up at 7 everyday and just go and don't really stop til 8 at night. sleeping in is a rare treasure. Not even just sleeping in but lounging til I have to really go. It is a great feeling.

emails, gchat, and telephone calls. I received so many emails today. It was great hearing from so many good people. Friends across the globe. People I love. Knowing they are doing well and what to share that with me, makes me smile. Gchat saves my life sometimes. I can talk and discuss how I am feeling or just laugh and be sarcastic. It is almost as good as a phone call. Phone calls have become a strange thing of the past but are the best when I get them.

speaking. Today I bought what I needed, a calling card, with the lady understanding me and me understanding her. It was brilliant. Fantastic even. Understanding is a great gift.

zooparks. We went to the zoo park today. It was fun. They had a lot of animals, mostly birds. I swear there were a million bird houses and cages. A lot of cages were empty. I am worried for those Russian animals...just disappearing. ha. Also there was a dolphin show. However the dolphins weren't park of the act. There were seals and beluga whales.

friends. the zoopark was great but what was greater was walking around with friends. I am so blessed to have some of my closer friends here. People who will share their umbrella when there are freak rainstorms and you are in a skirt and short sleeved shirt and thought it was going to be sunny. Also people that are having just as hard as time as you and understand when you complain, and let you complain. ha. Russia is hard, but friends make it better.

granola bars. We went to the store after the zoopark. I bought deodorant which everyone is grateful for, but I also found a gem. granola bars. They are generally non-existent here. Now I can have something different than bread and cheese or carbs in general. I love granola bars. Also I bought chocolate which is self explanatory.

French Fries. We went to KFC for dinner. lame I know. but sometimes you just need a break from Russia and a nice chicken wrap and french fries with an orange fanta is the perfect break. HAHA. also again ordering what I want the man behind understanding. It is really beautiful.

Laundry. I did laundry today. It was great. A lot of people don't have washing machines in Russia. I am blessed to have one. I also got to do my own laundry. This is fantastic as well. Most of my friends' babushkas insist on doing their laundry so that us Americans won't break their precious washing machines. I did my own which means my underwear did not end up hanging in the bathroom for the world to see. They don't have dryers here.


Trash cans. I got a trash can today. This is exciting because trash cans are hard to find here. strange I know, but usually there is a grocery bag by the refrigerator and that is all. I have been using a bag in my room that I got at a store. Now I have an actual garbage can. Look out.

Strawberries. Today there were strawberries on the table. anything on the table is up for grabs. I love strawberries. I grabbed some.


Sorry I haven't posted the past couple of days. Nothing super exciting has been happening just school and homework really. Yesterday was a bit more exciting and that is what I will write about.

After school, Linsey, Ashley, and I found our way to the Pushkin Museum. There are actually 2 Pushkin Museums here. One for the writer and one that is an art museum. We went to the Art museum. It was 19th and 20th century European art. They had Monet, Cezanne, Van Gough, and Picasso. You know. It was really cool and fun to look at some art. I love those types of artists. The museum is right next to Cathedral of Christ our Savior which is huge and beautiful, but we didn't have our scarves with us so we couldn't go in. We got ice cream instead. All over Moscow they have ice cream stands. It is wonderful and horrible at the same time. On the one hand it is like the ice cream man is at every corner, if i want ice cream..i can get it. The bad thing is I eat it. Oh well. I walk enough. So we chilled and ate our ice cream.

Then we started walking down to see the Peter the First's memorial. It is this huge boat broze with a guy standing on it. Funny thing. It was originally supposed to be Columbus...but the American's didn't want to buy it. so the Sclupture changed the head to Peter the First's and sold it to the Russians. Funny thing. It is still on Columbus' body and he has on the weird Spanish attire Russians have never worn. It is pretty funny.

After that we got lost a bit. Not really lost but couldn't find a Metro lost. We ended up finding a metro...and mini-golf ..if we ever want to go. Although we walked forever trying to find the metro..see good-bye ice cream. The Metro was actually pretty close to my flat so we went there and hung out for a bit. We were exhausted. It is gettting hotter here so things are more tiring. Oh well.

anyway. I will probably post more on weekends and things since that is when I will be doing most of my site seeing, but I will still post some during the week too. So you just have to check all the time. Bot Tak (Russian for so there). ha.

25 May 2009

just a day

Today was pretty routine.
woke up
got on the metro
went to class
didn't understand much, but more
worked on homework
walked around alexander gardens
got rained on
came home
ate dinner
drank tea
posted on the blog
and will probably go to sleep soon.

alexander gardens are pretty cool they are just right outside the Kremlin wall. There are flower beds and fountains. It is really pretty I never realized Moscow was so green.

also. i posted more pictures on past blog posts. feel free to take a gander.

comment more


24 May 2009

it's raining, it's pouring

Today we got to go on a bus tour of Moscow. This sounds really cool, and could have been really cool except it was cold and raining all day. It was fine while we were on the bus with the heater was on passing by buildings, but we made frequent stops and got out and walked around. Generally, we we all frozen mainly because we were wet and it was super rainy. However, it was good to get a perspective of where everything is in relation to each other. We stopped at the over look we went to on Friday, and we also stopped at Red Square where we stayed in the rain for awhile,but then went into a really nice mall to dry off and get warm for a bit before we went back out into the rain and on the bus. We also stopped at a Convent that looked pretty cool. After the tour which was four hours, we were all so tired we went home to sit and relax. My friend Sarah and I drank some tea and changed before heading out to a fireside. The fireside was in Russian so that was interesting, but it was also about marriage. I guess all the youth get the same talk everywhere. Ha. It was really kinda funny. Well at first, the fireside lasted almost 2 hours which is a lot anyway but especially in a language you do not understand. After the fireside, Sarah and I came home and ate dinner which was good as always, and are so beat we are just going straight to bed.

This is Ashley, me, and Linsey in the Mall in front of a fountain.
This is me, Ashley, and Linsey in front of the Convent...in the rain...freezing.
me. freezing.

23 May 2009


I have officially been here one week. It feels like a month.

I got to sleep in again. Although sleeping in it like 8:30. I'll take it.

Today our director wanted us to come to his house, so he could check up on us and see how we were doing. His flat is huge so it was just nice to sit around and talk with one another, and just breathe. Plus it was really rainy today so none of us had a desire to go out and do much. (this morning Nina let me borrow and umbrella, and said Udachi -good luck, and kinda laughed.) We just chilled at his apartment. A lot of us watched Nacho Libre which is great and funny. Again I love being able to laugh out loud and no one care. ha.

We left and then went to the huge grocery store. I just got some water, but we met up with some other people in my group. We all wanted to go to a youth discotec night. It was 50's themed. Russian pseudo 50's music. It was great, and kinda hard to dance to. It was bouncy but techno-ish. yeah I can't even explain it. By this time, it close to nine and I was super tired. It is hard traveling with a big group because you are always waiting on someone. We started breaking up in the end which made things go faster.

I got home around 9:30. Nina got excited when I said I wanted to eat. I don't eat a lot so she was happy I was eating. We chatted some more and it was good. She was asking if I wanted new sheets and things like that. I said it didn't really matter, and she kinda laughed. I said I was easy going and she told me she had noticed. Ha. She said just let her know. I'm super tired again. I think I walk at least 3 miles a day maybe more. That is probably why I am tired at night.

22 May 2009

I know you want pictures...they will come...later

I slept in today!

It was great. No classes on Fridays..best idea ever.

Today I took my time getting ready and then left to meet some friends before we meet up with the bigger group. However, My friends went to one metro station and I went to another. In our defense, they have the same name. So I just sat in front of Lenin's Library before I needed to go meet the group. Some Russians from my university were going to show us around a couple of different places.

We first went to the Izmaylovo Kremlin. This is not the main Kremlin in Russia. Kremlin actually means fortress so there are a lot of old Kremlins in Moscow. It was really cool. It was old wooden buildings. We walked around there for a bit and also went to the Vodka Museum. There was a lot of Vodka there. We just kinda goofed off and relaxed a bit. It did start raining pretty hard so we stood under a covered bridge and just talked to wait out the rain.There is also a big market there on weekends so I will definately be back. We also looked at the shops and things nearby.

Good news mintue: Our facillitator arrived while we were waiting for someone to buy something and told us that schools in Russia need people to teach English, and our program coordinators would help us get set up teaching if we wanted. Bonus: they will pay us, around $13/ hour. Ha. It will be great. I am going to do. Right now we have a lot of free time so I feel like I am standing around alot. Plus i will only work however much I want. It will be great.

After the kremlin, we went on a walk. We walked through a nice green park to MGU, which is Moscow State University. It is so pretty and huge. We also walked to a spot that overlooked Moscow. It was cool to see it from up high and from a distance. Then we walked to a Metro station through another park. By this time it was 6:30 and we were all exhausted. I cam home and talked with Nina a lot before dinner. We talked about traditional food in the South. Ha. Try explaining grits some time. It is interesting. She gave me some Russian calat which was good. I'm sure what all was in it but it is a traditional food. I also had blini which are Russian crepes. My blini had meat in them. It was good.

Also, Nina said my Russian has gotten better this week. Miracle is the word she used.

Now I am just winding down. It is crazy how tired you can get from staying busy.
I love y'all

21 May 2009



sorry my last blog was short. I didn't have a whole lot of time.

Everyday I wake up at 7 to get to class at 9. It only takes me around an hour to eat and shower and prepare myself for the day. I leave a little before 8 and then I have an hour commute. I walk to the Metro which takes 10-15 minutes. I actually enjoy this walk most days. Then I get to the Metro go one stop get off and take another line for awhile. Then I have another 15 minute walk. I have been up for two hours and already exhausted. Generally you have to push and shove to get on the Metro in the morning. Today a nice business man put his arm behind me and helped push me on the train. Apparently I am not aggressive enough. Some days you can get a seat on the train. Amazing but rare.

Then I have classes. I have grammar from 9-10:30 and then usage from 10:40-12:10. On Wednesdays I have a Russian lecture class in broken English about Russia from 1-2:30. However I do not have classes on Friday. Heavens bless. Today was not as bad in class. Basically my teachers told me to relax. Ha. I guess I could do that more. I actually laughed in class.

Laughing is a weird thing here. You don't do it very often. On the metro and things everyone is really quiet and doesn't really speak. If you want to say I'm an American, laugh or talk loud. You are not even supposed to smile at people...strange I know. Anyway you notice when you laugh.

After class today, it was raining but Ashley, Linsey and I still wanted to do something so we went on a Metro tour. HA. I know. Actually Metro stations here are very grand and beautiful, full of communist propaganda of course but gorgeous. We found a list of must see metros and began train hopping. They were so pretty. Stalin built them up to show the Moscow was modern. Some have mosaics depicting Russian events in history, heroes um heroes thought of at the time (i noticed Stalin had himself with Lenin a lot), there were also paintings of happy soviet workers...you too can be this happy. The unfortunate thing is the Moscow police don't like tourists taking pictures so we couldn't take a lot. We designated Linsey who had the best camera to take pictures well sneak pictures. We looked for police. You don't want to have an excuse for Russian police to talk to you. Anyway. Linsey got some pictures but has not given them to me. I will post them when I get them. If this blog gets shut down..you know why.

Funny story: While we were metro hopping we were a little late getting on a train and the doors closed with my backpack still in it. I let out some what of a squeak and just kept pulling my self forward with my arms flaying. My friends just laughed at me, well we were all trying not to laugh and this nice Russian lady pulled my backpack out. This made us want to laugh a lot harder but again we can't because you know it isn't allowed. I turn around to say thank you and a whole bunch of Russians are laughing at me. We lost it at this point and couldn't look at each other in the hopes that we wouldn't laugh out loud. You know something was funny if Russians laugh on the Metro. However, by this time we are trying to get it together we don't realize the train is stopping and Linsey falls back into this poor old lady. We had to get off of the train because we couldn't control ourselves. We needed to recoup.

After our tour, I came home. I was beat. For dinner I had pelnini..it is a Russian ravioli. I liked it. Though yesterday I had a veggie pizza that was great. Also they have this drink here I like alot. You take fruit, um I've only had it with strawberries, and boil them in water with sugar. Let it cool and yummy drink.


I didn't get to post at my normal time. I'm sorry

Yesterday went really well. Except for my classes. I struggle a lot and it is really hard for me to read out loud. And it will continually be a problem, but as my teacher says "it is from God" so maybe he won't hate me as much. ha.

Then we went to a super markety thing..in a mall. It was fun and Ashley, Linsey and I got things for lunches. I got bread and cheese. ha.

Then we went to a park near my house but were too tired to explore too much, plus a storm was coming in so we went to my house to hang out.

After tehy left, i helped cook dinner. Well I cut tomatoes and cucumbers. And i also talked with Nina, my host lady a lot. She said I don't look foreign, not Russian but Slavic but I showed her pictures of Meaghan and Melissa to prove that that was definitely not true. It was a good day!

19 May 2009


Throughout my searches for translations of English words, I found the English word higgledy-piggledy. Now. What person in their right mind wants to know the equivalent for that in Russian, and more strangely...there is a Russian equivalent.

I guess to today was a higgledy-piggledy day. It means jumbled / confused. Focus on confused.

Today was the first day of classes.

No worries. I am in the lower level classes.

My first teacher, she teaches grammer, was nice. It was mostly painless. mostly. A couple times I couldn't pronounce some things and that was stressful. note: I can not read out loud in English, Russian is ridiculous. I still get shocked when people pull out Russian books on the Metro and read them.

My next teacher was a nice Russian teacher. That means he was blunt but smiled.
He first asked our class why we were not good enough for being in the other class. Pretty sure he called us lazy. Later he told me to practice reading because I am not good at it (see previous note.)

After class, we went to the hang out room and then to the store. I bought water and some crackers I saw a toddler eating at church (I figured they were safe)

We hung out most of the rest of the day doing homework and planning things to do. We are getting brave enough to start exploring tomorrow.

I came home and had borsht for the first time. I liked it. I also kept planning things. There is a possiblity I might be able to see a hockey game here. LOOK OUT.

I like writing this blog, but I would like to hear from the readers as well. Feel free to email me at Hollymgodwin@gmail.com

18 May 2009

Manic Monday

I could not sleep to save my life last night which caused today to be even more tiring.

However, today was better.

I made it to the Metro station...Phillip 'helped' of course. I don't think he enjoys being my escort. Anyway. I went to the station to meet my group before going to the University. I met up with them just fine then we showed our ID cards for the University that strangely does not have our picture on it. Then we had orientation in English which was GREAT. Nothing like knowing what is going on for the next 3 months of your life. I also learned rent will be cheaper than planned so that is fantastic. After the lecture and questions, We had a tour of the University and then got to chill in the "Hang out Room" as noted by the sign on the front door.

Then the fun began. We, the beginner speakers, got to take our placement tests. I'm pretty sure I guessed a lot. I hope that is ok. HA. This was actually probably the most stressful and anxiety ridden part of the day.

However, after the test, we got cell phones. Heavens bless. I was so excited because it is so comforting to know I can actually call someone if something happens. (I also learned today to not call the police) I also can get in touch with my group members so we can hang out or just chat if we need to talk. My phone is nicer than mine at home--and cheaper. just saying. We switched numbers after that for a while and then decided to go to a family home evening activity. However there was a big group of us and that never works especially with the crowded Metro. Plus everyone had stops to make. Pretty sure we left someone at a supermarket. oops. But then we got dinner. It was so good. It a wrap with chicken, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, and some type of dry cole slaw things with different sauces. Yum. (that might not sound good but it was)

We finally made it to the metro station walked for ever and made it to the activity right before it was ending. By this time, my friend Linsey and I were so tried that we didn't have the energy to mingle...in Russian. Ashley was still pretty happy. Linsey and I left and made it back to the metro station where I left and made it back to my apartment just fine. It was relieving. Today I felt like I can maybe actually be here for 3 months and be ok. Even though I am completely beat today was a good day.

17 May 2009

Я не понимаю

the title for this blog comes from my most used phrase in Russia: I do not understand. ha.

So today I woke up at 3 in the morning. Oh how I love jet lag. Actually I never knew I could be so productive at 3 in the morning. I sent emails, registered for classes in the fall, and counted how many days I have left. HA...but really. I managed to fall back asleep around 5ish. I then slept til 11:30 which is 3:30 in the morning Georgia time. Ironic.

When I got up my land lady told me that someone called for me and told her that I was to meet for church. This is probably the best news ever because I was preparing for a fun filled day in my room trying not to die. Phillip their son was to take me to the Metro and help me exchange money and buy my Metro pass for the 85 days I have left.

sidenote- they gave us a lecture before we left Utah about how not to get ourselves killed or robbed. It was very comforting. As a result, I put my money in my scripture case. I felt it was safe there. Also I did not even really need to bring them since they are in English but I felt safer.

So the we exchanged my dollars to Rubles. I quite enjoy the exchange rate. For 80 bucks I got 2500 Rubles which more than paid for my 3 month pass. I had 255 rubles left over. I was rich.

Phillip took me to the metro which felt like years away and then asked me in Russian if I remembered the route. Good thing I was paying attention and didn't just answer Da. ha. but I did feel like I somewhat remember how to get back. He took me through the first stop to my transfer and then told me to get off in three stops and bye. He left. Yikes. Luckily I found my group easily and without any tears.

After talking with my friends, I learned they were in the same boat, but I was more in first class. ha. I mean I felt bad but no one else has internet or in other words no connection to the outside world. They also were by themselves with an older Russian lady. Generally these women are...overbearing and nosy. Actually one other girl had some more company...about 15 cats. wow. Also these women do not speak any English and do not speak slow Russian. My family speak English well and slow Russian. This is the part of the day I feel really grateful.

Then we went to church. I didn't understand anything. Well I understood names. Excuse me. I keep hearing about President Uchtdorf apparently he is coming. Someone had to tell me later. Hopefully I can go.

Then none of us really wanted to go home so we walked to Red Square. On the way there everyone was quiet. Our program facilitator (he is a student but knows what is going on) said " Everyone is so quiet, Everyone is thinking what am I doing? I am paying money for this? What did I get myself into." All of us replied - yes that is exactly what I am thinking. Then we turned the corner and saw St. Basil's Catherdral. I think our opinions changed slightly, and it was the first time I felt like I was in Moscow. We just walked around a bit saw the building for Lenin's tomb which seems creepy enough on the outside. We also saw changing of the guard which is on a much smaller scale than London's. I will try and get a video to post. I also bought a water cause I was dying. It was 45 rubles. I almost died and then I remembered it was a little over a dollar. Apparently it was still expensive, probably because it was in Red Square.

Then came the stressful part of the day: getting to my apartment...by myself. I prayed a lot. Apparently Moscow is a pretty safe city, but I am skeptical per usual. I got off the Metro ok..on the wrong stop then got back on and got off at the right one. I then made it to the correct transfer point. Got off and out fine. Then I had to remember how to get to my apartment. This is where I freaked a little. But I made it just fine. Thank goodness I have a decent sense of direction.

I got home and actually had a good converstation with my Host lady, Nina about Mormons. She asked if my dad had more than one wife and things like that, but she didn't know that there was a church here in Moscow that was given in Russian. I tried to bring up the missionaries, but I don't think she understood. I guess trying that on my second day was a bit hopefully. Hehe. Though she told me to tell her when I have my fast and things like that. She also understands more fully why I don't drink alchohol, regular tea, or coffee. This is great break through compared to my fellow students. Then we had a dinner with mini hot dogs from my best guess and a great green salad.

16 May 2009

Actually from Russia


It is about 9:20 in Moscow and it seems like an eternity since I left Georgia.

I don't know how detailed to make this but I'm going to err on the side of too detailed.

I made it through Atlanta just fine. Then I sat forever. Then I got on the plane and because of weather in Chicago I sat some more..this time just on a plane rather than in the waiting area..but such is flying. I got to enjoy a book, apple, and granola bar ( thank you Nikki) However a very nice Russian couple sat next to me and very much not to my surprise I couldn't understand them. I blame it on they were whispering. Although I did catch something about chocolate cake.

I made it to Chicago. I sat down at my gate for Moscow and pulled out a sandwich for lunch. The older man with braces next to me felt inclined to say.."oh, a sandwich." To which I said yes. He then felt the need to tell me that I must be a college student. Again. I said yes. Normally I am a little more friendly, but thoughts of Taken and mother telling me not to talk to be in the airport overcame my need to be polite. He left. Then a family going to some city I can't pronounce in India I'm guessing sat next to me. They seemed nice enough. Finally my friend Ashley arrived. It was great. People you know do wonders when you are feeling all alone. ha.

Finally we boarded the plane to Moscow and tried not to think about what we were getting into for 3 months. We got to sit a little bit longer cause a lot of other planes were delayed because of the weather. The flight there was pretty uneventful. The in-flight movie was yes man which I really had no desire to watch and semi-decent plane food. Then I slept with the help of some meds. even then it wasn't the best sleep but I was grateful.

Then the landing. I didn't know there were so many trees, but i guess looking back on all those 'Russians are the bad guy' films people were always running in forests...away from Russians...interesting...anyway. Customs wasn't bad. Me and the Passport Man had a good conversation. I half smiled and he glared at me. It was nice. I got my luggage which I am super super excited about. Then we met the nice lady from the university that took us to a ride which was a mini van with camouflage seat covers. Very rustic. We then began our trip to our home stays. Ashley and I were joined by another BYU student who was there for an internship and had served a mission Russian speaking. He laughed when he learned Ashley and I had only taken up to 202 in Russian. I don't know if we can be friends. Then we hit Moscow we hit traffic..at 2:30 on a Saturday. Beat that Atlanta. Anyway when asked why there was traffic the lady responed.. why? It's Moscow. However, we did get to listen to Russian pop which was interesting. One lyric said something about a chocolate rabbit. (I seem to pick up things pertaining to Chocolate.)

Smarty pants boy was the first to be dropped off. I was next. I got stuck in my first Russian elevator for a minute or so. It was really a coming of age for me. Then I met my Russian family. There is a mother, a son around 17, and a daughter my age.Oh and a cat. The mom and the daughter speak English well which is good cause all the Russian I knew flew out the window. They graciously let me take a shower which was amazing and needed. Then we ate some Russian calat (salad). It kinda was like cole slaw..with shrimp. Then I came into my room and freaked out for a bit. It was great. I also unpacked. I also read and listened to music which was soothing.

Then we had dinner which was chicken and rice. They asked if I wanted ketchup, and a beer. Don't worry I said no to both. Apparently they have done this before. Actually they had a kid from Atlanta last time. I spotted a Georgia Bulldog's hat on the coat rack which was comforting. I am in a really nice part of Moscow. The neighborhood seemes newer. The flat is really nice too. Plus I have internet which is very unusal, but I'm stoked about.

Those have been my adventures so far. It is about 10 here and I'm getting tired. I hope to hear from y'all too!

15 May 2009

Hi I'm Bob.

Hi, I'm Bob. Would you knock me out, please? Just hit me in the face.

So needless to say I am pretty anxious right about now. I leave to get on a plane in about 40 minutes. It is not so much about the plane as it is about the destination...which is the main cause of my anxiety.
Currently I am relating to Bob. (If you haven't seen what about bob? then you will be totally lost. I have it if you would like to borrow it)

baby steps are my new favorite thing. baby steps into the car, baby steps onto the plane, baby steps off the plane into MOSCOW. yikes.

I really hope I don't scare too many people by rubbing my temples and saying "I feel fine, I feel great, I feel wonderful."

I also think Bob had it right when he just asked to be knocked out...being unconscious is a lot less stressful. Although i don't know if I want to be hit in the face...sleeping pills..maybe.

07 May 2009

So it begins...well at least the packing

So. Here is the beginning of my documentation of Russia.
Currently, I am supposed to be packing and getting all my stuff together for Russia. I am considering this blog a preparation for Russia so that I do not get into trouble for 'goofing off' or a personal favorite- 'not using my time wisely.' I believe that the very person who would say that will be grateful in the end for this blog. And as a side note, I have been packing most of the day. sort of. Packing always frustrates me.
-my family believes I am good at it. This could be true, but it has given me a false idea of how much stuff I should bring. Let me explain- I am good at conserving space so I have more room in my suitcase than the average packer-- more space means yes...I can fit one more pair of shoes in my suitcase. Do I actually need those shoes or shirt or tennis racket? Probably not..but there is room so it goes in the suitcase. It almost becomes a sick game. How much junk can I squeeze into each small open space? It is horrific.
-I have never been to Russia. shocker. So I do not know the weather patterns. This causes several problems packing. I have everything from a decently warm coat to skirts. (I would use shorts here but Russians apparently don't wear shorts unless you are 5 and I think I have passed that benchmark) I constantly wonder if I have the proper clothes. As a result I over compensate and pack too much (see previous note) which always causes problems when I try and bring the stuff I bought home.
-I still need clothes to wear. You can never be fully packed. ever. even in the car to the airport you have to have your ID and cell phone and a snack. Something is always out. This frustrates me. I would like to packed fully. just once. However, I think wearing the same clothes over and over for a week would not be kosher and probably smelly.

those are my packing qualms.

and I have successfully avoided them for around an hour.