Fun and Games

Posted: June 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

Once again, I apologize for the delay in updating my blog. Life without the internet in my apartment is frustrating. Also, I haven’t been home all that much. I have been keeping busy in my last days in Ulyanovsk. Last Thursday, I went to the Country Club language camp for one day. I help George lead some science lessons with the kids. Then, Emory and I played baseball with the whole group of kids for about an hour before lunch. Rather, we tried to play. Some of the kids really liked it, others were bored and wandered off to play on the playground. After lunch, we had fun messing around on the beach and in the River Volga. It was a really hot day and the water was warm. I had fun throwing kids around into the water. I also picked up and threw George into the water. Then, at one point, I flipped him over with a Judo hip throw. At one point, George and I played chicken with two twelve year olds. It was a lot of fun, but my neck was absolutely ruined after playing with them.

Still swinging for the fences.

Last Friday, I had a housewarming party at my apartment with the people from the university. When I lived in the dormitory in a regular room, no one wanted to visit me. Now that I have an apartment people want to hang out with me. We sort of did the same thing on Sunday as well. Three of the people from the international department came to play baseball with me and Emory, the other American. Unlike with the children, they picked up the game quickly and we played for almost two hours before having tea and snacks in my apartment.

The new apartment keeps brining adventures to my life. On Monday morning, I woke up to the sound of my door bell. I had not set an alarm because I didn’t have to be anywhere at a specific time. I thought that maybe someone from the university was trying to find me, or that the workmen had returned to change another thing in my apartment. I checked my phone and saw that it was 6.30AM. Thus, I realized that it wasn’t anyone that I knew trying to find me. I just rolled over and tried to go back to sleep. Unfortunately, the door bell rang again, this time a little longer. I got up to look through the peep hole. I was surprised to see a police officer there, and figured that I was required to open the door for him. He apologized for waking me and showed me his identification. He then asked if I had seen my neighbor from the next apartment. I replied that I had just moved into this building and don’t know any of my neighbors. He accepted this answer and then asked if all of my neighbors were foreigners. I again replied that I wasn’t sure. He then asked, “If it’s not a secret, where are you from?” I told him that I was from America and he was moderately interested. He once again apologized for waking me and went off to the next apartment. When I studied in St. Petersburg, we were told to be scared of and suspicious of the Russian police. I was pleasantly surprised by how polite and nice this officer was. Also, as bad as the neighbors were in the other building, the police never came looking for them early in the morning.

Another adventure for my apartment was paying for it. I pay for my housing through an ATM in the university. I used to live in the third building, so at one point, I pushed the number three to select that building and pay. I now live in the sixth building, so when I pushed six, I was surprised to see the machine say that there is no 6th building. When I asked someone at the international department, the response was that it’s called the 6th building, but it’s really the 4th building, so I should have pressed four to pay for my room. Yes, Russia, that is very logical.

The building also has a series of really funny evacuation signs that are translated into English. I’m slightly worried as to why one prepares me for situations of chlorine contamination. I thought I was at a university, not a super secret weapons facility.

Why would there be chlorine contamination at a university?

In my preparations for leaving, I have done a few things that I have been meaning to do for a while. Firstly, I finally baked chocolate chip cookies for the people at the university. I have been promising to do so since January, but I haven’t had access to an oven. Thankfully, Iriny let me come to her place to bake cookies in return for a few of them. They turned out perfectly this time.

Perfect cookie goodness.

I brought the cookies to the university on Tuesday, where the international department threw me a little going away party. It was awesome. I will miss everyone at the university so much next year.

Pavel Borisovich being funny.

On Wednesday night, I made tacos a la Russe in my apartment. I was able to find taco seasoning in Metro. I used lavash for the tortillas. I also had cut up tomatoes, onions, and green peppers as well as cheese as garnishes. I went with George to Magnit near my place. Iriny and the others were supposed to go to Gulliver to get good, German white wine. While in Magnit, I got a call from Iriny. She said that they had gotten off at the wrong stop and were at a Magnit. I thought they were at the other Magnit on the other side of the university, which is not far from Gulliver. As I was talking to Iriny about hot sauce, I turned around and noticed that Iriny, Emory, and Haidar were in the same store as us. We had a good laugh and then headed up to my place for drinks and fun. Emory provided Mariachi music from his laptop.

Tacos make me happy.

Thursday night was also an adventure. I had dinner with George and Julia before heading off to Lena and Vadim’s house for one last barbeque. There was a large group of people there and we had a great time hanging out and talking. I’m sad to be leaving my adoptive Russian family, and they are sad to see me go. Vadim calls me his American girl because I also like fighting and things related to the military. Lena got a little jealous, but realized Vadim was just joking. At the end of the night, Vadim and Lena didn’t want me to leave. They told me to give them three good reasons why I have to leave Russia. I told them that my visa expires on the 30thof June and that I don’t want to pay the fine. The accepted this answer and let me go.

Last barbeque with Vadim, for now. I would buy a plane ticket to Russian and a train ticket to Ulyanovsk just to hang out and eat grilled meat with these cool people in a heartbeat.

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