Bullet point style update!  Random things I have noticed…

  • Black, high heeled boots with tight tight pants – totally hot right now, as are mullets.
  • Everyone smokes, and a pack of cigarettes costs like $1.  As one teacher said, its almost insulting to not smoke at that price. (oh, stop worrying)
  • PECTOPAH (in Cryllic) sounds like RESTORAN, meaning just that, restaurant.  To me it means ‘Food you can’t have even though it’s RIGHT HERE’.
  • Russia has McDonalds, Subway, and KFC.  I can still barely eat at these places.  McD’s doesn’t have their meals numbered… But I have eaten at subway 3 times and tried KFC today and ordered the TBECTEP, which when you sound it out is tvister.  Yeah, the twister wrap!
  • There are upsides to not understanding the national language.  There was a crazy street preacher on a bridge today with a megaphone.  Totally didn’t have to try to ignore her.  When someone asks you for change… you don’t even know it.  Can I give you directions?  Nope.  Is that even what you are asking?
  • Want to lose weight?  Move to a country full of gruff people who don’t speak your language.  Also, leave your car behind.  We call it ‘the Russian diet’.  It would be a big hit if it weren’t for the up front costs.
  • Sleeping through the night totally rocks.
  • There are security guards everywhere.  We have one on the inside of the gate to our apartment complex.  If you knew what our complex looked like, you would think this was strange too.
  • When the unlock button on our gate is activated by a key fab, the sound that it makes while you open it sounds EXACTLY like Pac Man when he eats those dots, except the ‘bloob bloobs’ aren’t in an even rhythm.  They are paired like ‘bloobloob…..bloobloob’.
  • You can totally ‘happen upon’ world famous landmarks, like I did this afternoon.  I knew the Hermitage was close to the apartment, but when I turned the corner and realized where I was, I almost laughed.  How do you accidentally find something like that?  It’s like if you were to go on a walk and stumble upon the Brandenburg gate or the statue of liberty.  Well, I guess you would have to randomly swim by the statue of liberty, but you get my point, right?  It seems like I should have planned to go there, and then sought it out. But I guess that gives you an idea of our proximity to landmarks.  I am right in the city center.

My walk this afternoon was pretty refreshing.  My main goal was to at least double the number of places I felt I could eat at without feeling like a complete idiot.  Previous number: 1.  Subway.  And you can only eat at Subway so many times… Today I found KFC.  YEAH! 2!  I want to try ‘blini’ or something.  They are basically filled crepes, but I want to watch someone order one in English before I do it.  Such a wuss.

I CANNOT call anyone until I have a sim card.  I have a cell phone now, but I need the card to make it work.  And, no, I can’t get one, because I don’t speak the language, so I have to get someone else to get me one.  My boss, Zahra (who’s also my roommate) speaks fluent Russian, so I am hoping she can go with me to get one tomorrow.  I also don’t know how I am going to pay my credit card bill and loans when I don’t know how to get a bank account or wire money into my USBank account.  Citibank is here though, so I might set up an account online, and then see if I can transfer money from bank to bank that way?  I don’t know.

We still don’t have internet besides that which we steal from some neighbor.  It’s completely iffy and a tease.  One minute we will have it, the next min it will be down for a day.  And it super slow, so I don’t think I can even get skype.  To get internet, I have to talk to Vadim at school and have him ask our landlord if we can put in the cable, and if they say yes, then we have to get Zahra to call that company and set it up.  Hoops!  Hoops I tell you!

I am offically registered with the government.  I can’t leave the city without reregistering both before leaving and upon returning.  And yes, I mean the CITY.  If I was caught outside the city with my registration, I could be fined 5,000 rubles – thats about 4 or 5 days pay for me (the rate right now is about 28 rubles to $1, so 5,000/28= $178).  The other thing that is kind of funny is that if I left the country right now, I wouldn’t be able to come back… ha ha!! Somehow if I forgot and took a day trip to Helsinki, I would be in trouble!  Soon I will have my multi entry visa though, so then I would be ok.

Think I will go and read or watch a movie.  No responsibilities tonight.

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