Friday, April 27, 2007

heading home

so i am going home tomorrow! i took all my final exams and got my grades (all As, which apparently isn't that exciting because it's very hard NOT to get all As).

i've had a cold this week and it has led me to a very interesting observation. apparently, in russia, having a cold is quite possible the worst. thing. ever. example: i didn't go to some of my classes since i just had to take finals, and i was feeling really awful. i told my phoenetics teacher that i was sick and she said, "do you have a fever? you look like you do." and my grammar teacher told me not to come to class the next day if i was still sick...keep in mind i had an exam (my final exam) that next day. later i was in my room and i walked out to the fridge to get some juice, and i met up with our housekeeper. she heard my voice and knew i was sick and said, "don't drink anything cold! drink hot milk with honey! WITH HONEY!" i went to my mass media class the next day and my professor said "i heard you were sick" (were they all talking about me?) and she didn't make me take my test! my grammar teacher met up with me on the way to the store and told me to buy medicine...i went to the pharmacy but i couldn't understand all the different medicines (seriously, there is medicine for EVERYTHING). later she asked me what i got and i said "i didn't understand anything." and she got mad at me, saying "you need to get better! ask an american student!"

all in all it was an interesting week, especially because in the US there's more of a "suck it up" attitude in terms of cold.

yesterday i went to the canadian embassy. as i was leaving the dorm i met up with my phoenetics teacher (olga ivanovna) and she gave me this stone in the shape of cheburashka (russian cartoon character) that's supposed to keep me safe on the plane and bring me happiness in love. quite possibly one of the sweetest gifts ever. i'll have to post a picture.

anyway i can't wait to be back home.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


okay i'm back. i keep meaning to write a big post but time isn't always on my side! :)

first off, rob got extended an extra three months in iraq. lame.

off to happier things. last weekend we went to Souzdal. we went to the train station around 4 pm to get tickets and let me tell you, it's a ridiculous experience in russia. they kept sending us to different windows and we couldn't really communicate well. eventually one girl with us flipped out and cussed out one of the workers, which kind of freaked us out haha. anyway we got the tickets and it was all okay...just took awhile. we caught the train around 8 pm (note to self: don't take a train out of moscow on a friday night, especially on the friday before easter). there were SO many people. we all crowded onto the train but it was PACKED. long story short, nikki, tanya, john and i had to stand in the aisle for the first hour of the trip because there were no seats. eventually enough people got off at different stops, though, and we were able to sit down. we started talking to this guy sergei, who was sort of hitting on me. ("talk to me beautiful." haha). i also talked to this older woman who was very interesting...we talked about soviet times and such, in both english and russian. at the end of the train ride (in all about 3 hours) she told sergei and i to exchange numbers! so i gave him mine (since i won't be here much longer) and we got off the train. then we had to take a cab to souzdal (the train ended in vladimir, another little town about 40 miles from souzdal). the guy had no idea what monastery we were staying at since we didn't know the name and he ended up charging us a lot because he drove us all around, but we got there okay. this monastery had a hotel that actually was pretty cheap and quite nice.

the next day we walked around souzdal and visited some monasteries (there are many, as my pictures will show). we ate some really good meals at some tastey restaurants too. it's a lot cheaper there than in moscow so it was nice not spending so much. we went to this one market and bought more souvenirs (i bought mittens and a hat because it was cold and i didn't bring mine, haha). at night we really wanted to try some mead (it's beer with honey...a medieval drink. souzdal is famous for it) and we went to this one place where we thought we could try it. but nope, they didn't have it. we went to a few bars and eventually found it. p.s., mead is pretty gross, haha.

on sunday we needed to go back to vladimir to catch a bus to moscow. we didn't realize that the bus station was 2 km away. we walked the whole way and this stray dog followed us, haha. we were exhausted. anyway we got to vladimir and then got on the bus to moscow. this policeman came back to where we sat after awhile (we were very nervous at first) and said he wanted to practice english with us. we talked with him for an hour about whatever, and when we were getting close to moscow he went to his seat and gave us a jar of homemade raspberry jam that his grandmother made! i haven't tried it yet but i'm pretty excited.

so that was souzdal. i'm uploading pictures so check them out:

the other day i was hanging out in my room and got a knock at the door. it was this guy who had been hanging out in the common room...a russian student. his name was grisha. he sat and talked to me for so long (because, again, he wanted to practice his english. i'm a magnet for these people). it was pretty odd all in all. but interesting. he wants to go to cuba.

yesterday there was quite a bit of excitement. turns out there was a fire on the 7th floor of my dorm (i'm on the 9th floor). they're fixing the showers down there and apparently were storing some propane tanks. luckily there were no we know, with a propane tank involved the situation could've gotten a lot worse. anyway some guy came banging and yelling up to our floor but i was napping, so i really had no idea what he was saying. eventually jordana came into my room and said there was a fire. i jumped up and ran out and this girl said "get a coat." and i said "nah i'm fine" and the guy who was yelling said "no! get a coat!" haha. we ran downstairs, saw some russian firefighters, etc. it was just smoking though so i don't think there was any damage.

anyway i think i got you all caught up. don't forget to check out my new album of pictures, devoted to souzdal.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

finally pictures.

picasa finally decided to be good to me and now you can see the pictures from karaoke, the cemetery, nikki's hospital stay, etc. so check them out, let me know what you think :)
i started a new album, called "russia, album 3," which is where the more current pictures are located.

looks like we're heading to souzdal, a moscow suburb, on friday. a two day stay. i'm very excited to get out of moscow and see some more beautiful places...expect many, many pictures. hopefully my camera is up for the job.

classes have been going well. i found out when i'm taking all of my finals, since i'm out of here on the 29th. hard to believe i've been here 2 months, and that i'm going home so soon. i'm glad i still have a month though. i'm going to try to squeeze in a trip to st. petersburg, so we'll see how that goes.

anyway other than that things are going swimmingly. i miss all of you, see you soon!

Saturday, March 31, 2007


yesterday we went to the novodiechy cemetery, which has some very famous graves (chekhov, bulgakov, mayakovsky, krushev, some others). i took some beautiful pictures, but picasa is not running well right now so i will post them later.

nikki is back from the hospital and doing well. she looks good and we're glad that she's out of that freaking hospital, haha.

not doing much today. rob goes back out for the mission cycle today so we won't talk for 8 days, which is probably good because maybe the time will go by faster. maybe, haha.

i've been feeling a little homesick lately, i won't lie. now i know that i can't live in a city, ever. way too many people and it's way too depressing.

but i'm having fun, tons of history here. i hope everything's going well.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

oh russia.

russia continues. nikki gets out of the hospital tomorrow. the hospital, by the way, is awful. very unsanitary and the nurses aren't very nice because they don't get paid very much. so we're happy that she's coming back, haha.

not this weekend, but next weekend, we're planning a trip to souzdal. it's a city a few hours from here...apparently very beautiful.

i wish i could write deep wonderful entries but it's just not happening right now, haha. russia is going well. we went to a market and bought a bunch of souvenir stuff...might go back sometime soon because it's beautiful. they had bears performing too. i took some pictures and some wee little movies that i shall post eventually.

sorry for being so boring! :)

Friday, March 23, 2007


so we finally visited the kremlin. we had a 4 hour tour, which was insane and intense but amazing. i put up some pictures...the link is in the post below. i made the kremlin its own album :)

my friend nikki went to the hospital yesterday. she had been having intense stomach pain for awhile and her coordinator finally said she should go. unfortunately we went to the sketchiest hospital ever...the hallway looked like a scene from a 1950s insane asylum. she's okay though...they took out her appendix and she is recovering nicely. i went there with her last night around 12 with her boyfriend beslan, from chechnya. i was so glad to have a native russian speaker -- we had to hail down a "cab" (i.e. a random russian person who wanted money to give us a ride) and i would never do that with my semi-limited russian skills. anyway we got to the hospital and met nikki's coordinator (a russian). they weren't going to let me and beslan in -- they were going to make us just stand out in the cold! again, beslan came in handy because he got the guy to let us in (the guy said "why does she need a cheering section?" haha). anyway we were there for awhile, then hailed a "cab" back. all in all an interesting night. happily nikki is doing fine.

again, the kremlin was AMAZING. so many pretty buildings, my camera died because i kept photographing everything. enjoy the pictures. some of them are similar, so please forgive that. we spent a lot of time in the armory, which has all these treasures from imperial russia, including gilded carriages, diamond-encrusted crowns, etc. the total value of that place has to be in the millions or billions. it was wonderful but exhausting...i came back to the dorm and took a 4 hour nap!

well i hope you're all doing well!

Saturday, March 17, 2007


i'm putting some new pictures on my picasa...check them out :)