Thursday, January 31, 2013


I don't really have anything to say, but people have been questioning whether I'm alive so I guess it's time to write something.  First, YES I AM ALIVE.  And still in Moscow.  And still in love with Moscow, which is quite toasty at -4C.  And not in love with figuring out loan repayments from across the world.  I've been working quite a bit more lately (actually working, not just being lazy) since a bunch of new students have gotten added to my schedule, but that just means that I'm no longer ridiculously under hours (though it was nice while it lasted since we have a set salary).  Oh and one of my kids won our grant project, which means she gets 6 free months of study and I get a cool placard thingy.  Like a boss. 

Russian winter isn't freezing right now, but it has managed to destroy my less-than-2-month-old boots (from the salt) and provide amazing sledding and impromptu snowball fights (best snow usages, obvi).  There also hasn't been a day without snow on the ground since it started...whenever it started.  So long ago that I can't remember, but I'm not tired of it yet. 

I also have a question for America: when is the last time you were in a hotel without internet? Not a hostel, not a motel, but a hotel? Jackie and the other Petersburgers visited for a few days this week to attend their midyear Fulbright conference, so I went to stay in the hotel with them in order to maximize hangout time.  The downside was that not only were we without wifi, but internet all together.  And they didn't understand the concept of amenities like extra shampoo or...anything.  Not letting this get us down, we spent most of our free time either traveling to food or eating food as any good vacationer does/as Jackie and I do.

As far as returning to the US, I don't know when that's happening or for how long.  I might live here during the summer and just visit home for a few weeks, or I might resign a contract but have the entire summer off (and no idea what to do with the apartment), or I might go somewhere entirely different for the summer; everything is up in the air and will be for at least the next couple of months.  That just means you guys will have to get your acts together and visit Russia, I promise it will not disappoint!

Friday, January 11, 2013


You know you're slacking too much when several people (including but not limited to my mom) call you out on your lack of blog posts.  Anyway, a lot has been going on around here:  -28C weather jumping up to +2C and then back down again to -17C; Christmas stuff; New Year's stuff; VACATION in St. Petersburg; realizing I have to be a real person and return to working for a living. At least I've got all of this youthful energy or whatever it's called to help me handle all of it.

The cold finally got to me, and after walking around for almost an hr in -28 weather which caused me to get a little sick, I broke down and bought a coat.  A real, puffy, long, behooded, Russian winter coat.  My life improved immediately and I can't believe I was that stubborn for that long.  Actually, I can believe it.    

So, Christmas holidays have come and gone...I'm going to give you the Reader's Digest version because I'm still busy (again, read:lazy).  I like Christmas a whole lot, and since I was away from home I decided to go with the flow by celebrating it 3 times.  Once at the EF Christmas party on the 22nd, which was catered with Georgian food and included way too much wine/vodka...yes, still in Russia.  Once on Christmas Eve, when I went to a potluck that some friends were hosting (this is where the walking around in the cold came from...I struggle with directions pretty hard & therefore couldn't find the apt to save my life) to eat, drink, be merry, and get home on the last metro because I still had work the next day. And once more on Christmas day, which I spent working (by "working" I mean "doing Christmas worksheets and watching movies), going to (and being disappointed by) the Strausburg Christmas fair on Manege Square with Uliana and Vanessa, eating Chinese food like a Jew, and meeting some friends for a drink at the bar.  There was snow EVERYWHERE and I hadn't bought the coat yet, so that 

Our holidays from EF started on December 29th, so there was a fair amount of chillaxing before the New Year celebrations began.  I planned to go to Red Square (like a crazy person. Every single Russian I know said DON'T DO IT and I was like BUT I WANT TO DO IT) and then go somewhere else, but I ended up staying at Nick's place with him, Lyuba, and Martin to celebrate and be comfy. This is the Russian tradition: watch the Irony of Fate (we did), cook olivier salad, eat way too much of everything (olivier, caviar sandwiches, potatoes, chicken, regular sandwiches, pickles, tangerines, chocolate...I feel like I'm forgetting something), drink champagne, and watch fireworks.  Not a bad way to bring in 2013!

On Jan. 2nd, I threw some things into a suitcase & boarded the Sapsan (fast train) to St. Petersburg to see my other half, Jackie.  Our vacation together basically consisted of eating, sleeping, and partying, as any proper holiday should.  Especially when it's the two of us, and especially about the eating part.  I parted from Piter on Jan. 5th at 645am (we didn't sleep that night.  Life is hard sometimes) and got back home around 1130am to be united with the roomie since he & Uliana had been in Riga for a few days before I left.  We started work again on the 9th, and I got a surprise day off today (1 student is on holiday in Malaysia, the other called and cancelled.  Happy late new year gift). I think that's everything important, so I hope this keeps you busy for now.