Posted: December 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

I arrived home yesterday after many hours of traveling. I don’t really want to try to figure out how long it took. On the way to the train station was absolutely amazing. I got to ride in an UAZ jeep based on the 469 model. I was one of the most fun things that I have done in Russia. Sadly, it has only made me more interested in buying one, and the ride only made me realize how much the car will not conform to safety or emissions standards in the USA. The driver was surprised that I wanted to ride in the jeep. I grabbed shotgun and was mildly surprised to find out that there were no seat belts, despite the truck being from 1993. The build quality was less than spectacular, and the ride quality was almost non-existent. We were bouncing around like crazy on the paved roads, which makes me speculate about how uncomfortable and uncontrollable the truck is off road. Katya, who road with me to see me off, had told me that we were going to freeze the whole way to the station, but she was wrong. True to a Russian car, the one thing that worked very well was the heater.

Pure happiness. Best to the train station ride ever.

The train ride was fine, but long. 15 hours is a bit too much for me to spend in a confined space. My compartment mate was a woman of about 45. She was going to Moscow to meet her daughter, who studies in London. At one point her en route entertainment was to choose a new ring tone for her phone by listening to all of the tones out loud. .

I arrived in Moscow at 5.20AM and walked into the Metro just as it was opening. After waiting in the mass (there are never orderly lines in Russia) I got my metro ticket and rode on the first train of the morning a few stops down. From there, I entered another train station and bought a ticket for Aeroexpress, which is a train that runs directly to the airport. I proceeded to sleep through the majority of that journey, which was nice.

After arriving at the airport, I wandered around trying to find my check in place. The signs at the airport are not very helpful. I then realized that it would be two hours before I could check in, despite the fact that a sign said that check in starts 6 hours before scheduled departure and Delta told me to be there more than 3 hours in advance.

While making my way through security, I had a pleasant surprise. I ran into another Fulbright ETA headed back to JFK. She ended up being 10 rows behind me on the plane. We found a TGI Friday’s in the airport and binged on “American” food that we had missed. There’s nothing like highly overpriced quesadillas to make me happy.

This was my first flight on an American airline in over ten years. I will not make the same mistake again, except on my return flight. I sat through roughly 10 hours of hell. The person two rows behind me had a dog with them, which kept barking the whole way. There were also screaming children and a child who kept hitting the seat behind me. Apparently, if you fall asleep, you also don’t get a meal. All that matters is that I arrived at home.

Within 2.5 hours of arriving at JFK, I was in my kitchen fulfilling a dream that I have had for a while – eating a glorious cheese pizza from Tom E Toes.

Dear mother, manners do not exist when I have been without proper pizza for 3+ months.

Oh, and I miss Russia already. There is no snow here. Or fun Soviet designed jeeps.

  1. Emory says:

    Hey there! I’m moving to Ulyanovsk next month to teach English at the Simbirsk Resource Center. It would be great to chat with you if you’ve got time; skype, email, facebook, or other. My name’s Emory, and I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Kazakhstan until they closed our program in November. I’m pretty excited to be moving to Russia, and I’d love to hear your impressions and hope to meet you when I get there.

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