(I am 13 hours ahead of most of you, after all)
- It’s what’s inside that counts: All the “real” food that I cook looks like dog-food. Fortunately, it still tends to taste somewhat like it’s supposed to. Maybe the Russians are on to something with their tendency to hide their foodstuffs in pastries and dumplings…
- Race Against the Mold: Sometimes I feel like my number one goal in life is to finish a loaf of bread before it molds. I’m getting used to doing my own slicing, but I think I’m starting to miss all the preservatives they put in American bread to keep it from going bad. Perhaps they should sell half-loaves—that way the forever-alone single eaters don’t end up pitching half their bread. Either that, or I need to Russian up and eat more bread.
- Not in Kansas Anymore: While out grocery shopping this week, I had a sudden hankering for some good old American Coke-a-cola (which I haven’t had since I left home over a month ago). I was in a fairly large chain grocery store, but there was no pop or soda to be found anywhere. I bought some juice and was perfectly content (and extra anti-sucrvy-fied), but this definitely served as a reminder of how far from home I must be!
- Roach Infestation: Cockroaches aren’t quite as scary when they’re teeny-tiny. For some reason, the US has mega-Godzilla-roaches.
- Too Cool for School: I skipped my class on Wednesday afternoon, and so did all my students. I was actually all prepared for the lesson, but my students descended on me before I could even enter the classroom. Apparently, there was some kind of student festival concert they wanted to invite me to. Well, давайте! It was a very interesting event—with everything from THIS IS SPARTA to Stilyagi to Pushkin fairy tales and Tuvan throat-singing (super fascinating!). Turns out that it was part of a yearly tradition in which the first-year students from the different faculties present their talents and compete.
- Disney + Toilet Paper: English Club is always one of the highlights of my week. I feel like the benevolent dictator of the fun district of this language-learning kingdom. This week, I decided we would sit around and sing Disney songs—flashback to childhood, flashback to college. My students played along nicely—we sang and sand and sang, and we liked it. All the songs. Even songs from Lion King 2. Then, someone produced several rolls of toilet paper and, suddenly, we were dressing each other up in toilet paper dresses.
- Climate Change: I bought warm socks this week. But Arielle, you might be saying, wasn’t your entire suitcase stuffed primarily with socks? Yes, yes it was. However, these are Mongolian socks, which apparently makes them especially warm. And you can’t just tell your Russian colleagues that, no, you don’t need warm socks. In any case, I couldn’t resist. I know you folks at home are enjoying 70-80 degree weather, but I’ve been adapting to winter-mode. I know the true cold is yet to come, but for now, if it’s above freezing, I consider it quite warm.
In short, my dear friends, life is pretty grand. I’ve got another over-booked weekend of athleticism and culture—not to mention a major holiday to plan for. But that’s for another post.