Monday, July 30, 2007

Russia's Government

I went to the post office today and mailed off my stuff. I sent my invitation letter and one copy of my guarantee form to the travel agency. The other copy of the guarantee form and a letter went to my exchange coordinator. I didn't overnight the stuff to the travel agency. I went with priority. Maybe I should have gone with overnight. I'm having regrets but it's too late now. It should get there Tuesday or Wednesday.

I became a little nervous after reading This article that my dad sent me. I've decided that it's definitely good that I'm not going to be spending the year in western Russia, Even though I'm far away from Moscow, it still makes me nervous, yet at the same time, I'm intrigued by the obviously changing political climate in Russia. I've been telling mom and dad for months that the way Russia is heading they're going to close up again. So maybe it's a good thing that I'm going. You never know what the future might bring.

Friday, July 27, 2007

It's here!!!

Was sitting at the table reading Harry Potter part VII when a truck with the word up in the plural pulled into the drive. Being still in my pajamas, I ran and hid upstairs while mom answered the door but I know exactly what had arrived. It was what I'd been waiting for since my host family told me they were ready...My official stuff from Russia. Whooo! That's right. I got my guarantee form in the mail! As well as my very spiffy looking thingy from the russian government that says I can enter the country and stay for ten months. This means that I can overnight the stuff to the travel agency and get my visa started! YAY!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Rotary Meeting

I went to a Rotary meeting yesterday, it's the club that's sponsoring me. Anyway, It wasn't nearly as boring as I thought it would be. It was actually kind of interesting. The district governor spoke. I found out that this particular Rotary club is going to help put in a skate park in the city. That's a pretty cool thing. I met a bunch of people whose name's I won't remember, but everyone was really friendly and wished me good luck. I got about five banners to take to take to some clubs in Russia. (And I probably get Russian banners to bring back) I think I'm going to try to go back another time or two before I leave.

I hope my guarantee forms come soon. My host sister said they were going to send it on the 20th. I can't wait, because I want my visa. I know I have to have my visa to get into the country, but the reason I really want it is because once I get it, I'll know when I'm shipping out. I have things that I need to plan, but It's hard when I don't know when I'm leaving. Besides, once I have a date people will stop asking when I'm leaving. The same people will stop asking when I'm leaving.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Абигель Рено Фауст

Абигель Рено Фауст
Абигель Рено Фауст
Абигель Рено Фауст
Абигель Рено Фауст


*breathes deeply*

okay, okay I think I'm good now. See I had a really exciting moment right now. Basically I got an e-mail from my host sister. Another one. Included with it was a copy of my letter of invitation, my official documents and my rotary guarantee form. School starts september first. The Cyrillic that's in the title of my post and is repeated about four times above is how the Russian government decided to spell my name. Now that the ball is rolling I really feel like Russia is coming! I'm actually going!

I found out a little more about where I'll be. I'll be living in an apartment with my host mom. who is an economist and works for some diamond company. They have a poodle. I like dogs, they're nice de-stressers. My host sister said that she would be sending me pictures soon.

Now I just have to send them my address here and they will send me the actual documents. When I get them I can send them to the travel agency and get my visa! whoo hoo! One thing my host sister said I wasn't sure about. I'm not sure if I'll be studying at the university or not because on my guarantee form the seal from the school is from a high school and my hos sister said that they'd decided that I would study in school but then she said I'd be in a humanities program where I'd do lots of Russian. So I'm not really sure where I'm studying. I guess I'll figure it out when I get there. Oh my word I cannot wait!!!!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

First Contact

My Russian host sister finally e-mailed me back. Even though her message was short, I learned quite a bit. I found out first of all that my letter of invitation is done and they are going to send it out on the 20th. That's a good thing because I need it to get my visa. The only thing is I don't know if they're sending it here or to my rotary district or directly to the travel agent. I guess I'll figure it out eventually.

The second thing I learned was about my school. The wording was something like this: "As we understood you will be learning in our university, what faculty have you chosen?"

That is about the coolest thing ever. I am going to be studying at the university in Yakutsk. It won't count, but it's still really cool. I think they're putting me in the university because of my age. Most of the Russian students graduate from high school at like 17 and then start university. So that's probably why they're going to have me study there. The answer to her question about the faculty (Which is kind of like a major) is "It's news to me, I have no idea."

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


The other night I had a dream. It was so real that at one point in it I stopped and went "wait is this a dream?" I dreamed that I was living with one of my Russian host families. Two parents, three daughters and me. They were speaking Russian and I couldn't understand a lot of what was going on. I spent a lot of time in my room reading Russian magazines. Some times I would talk to my youngest host sister (Who was just adorable). I can't figure out if the Russian being spoken was real Russian or not. It sure sounded like real Russian. I finally realized that it must be a dream because I couldn't remember my last few weeks at home and I couldn't remember the plane ride over.

Everything I do now seems to be centered around Russia in some way. I was at the movies last night with some good friends and I realized as I watched the previews that I won't be here when most of the advertised movies are released. I'm understanding that I won't see my friends for almost a year and that when I get back They'll be different people and so will I. I'm realizing that they are going to do things and have things happen that I won't know about because I'll be in Russia. But then it's the same for me. This time next year I'll be back home, getting ready for college, I wonder how I'll see things. Will it be surreal, coming back home? Probably. I guess I'll find out when I get back.

Monday, July 09, 2007


but then can you blame me? I just got back home. I spent two weeks in France, one on a mission trip and one visiting my brother in Minnesota. I wanted to see him before Russia. Russia, it's looming closer, but first, France.

If you ever have a chance to travel, do it. If you ever have a chance to live with a family in a foreign country, even for a short time, do it. I spent one week traveling all over France, and one week living with a family in St. Cyr which is near Versaiiles. I had a love/hate relationship with the exchange part of the trip. One thing it did do, was it taught me a lot about what Russia's going to be like. I know that doesn't seem like it makes sense, but it does. In France A lot of the time I had no idea what was going on. I understood more than they thought I did sometimes, but they treated me like I was stupid. Not all the time, but sometimes. I learned about homesickness, I learned about the way people view each other, and it was really interesting to see the cultural differences. I learned a lot about language. Not just French, but my own native language. I came to the conclusion that all my life, I've been ethonocentric and never realized it until I spent that week with a family in France.

Six weeks.
That's all that's left.
I can't believe the thing that I've been waiting months for is almost upon me. I'm not going to lie. I'm scared. I'm leaving everyone and everything behind to go live in a strange country for a year. I was sitting down with my mom, cousin, and grandparents for a lunch in a restaurant today and I thought "Soon I'll be doing this in Russia. I'm comfortable knowing how to order and the customs heres, but soon it'll be different, so much different..." It was a sobering thought.

Six weeks.
I'm starting to feel time pressure. Yeah, I started saying my goodbyes months ago, but now it's different. Now it seems real. My friends from Rotary, the other outbounds are getting ready to leave. Some of them leave in less than a month. I pray their years go well.

Six weeks.
When I was in France and going to and from St. Paul I practiced reading the flight information boards. But I don't know what to do because when I get off the plane in Moscow or St. Petersburg, everything will be in Russian. What if I can't read it?

That reminds me. The travel agent said they're sending me through Europe, not Asia which means it's going to probably take forever to get to Yakutsk. I hate airplanes. It's not that I'm afraid of flying, it's just so uncomfortable. Airports are my favorite though. I love watching all the people coming and going, heading home and on vacation, listening to languages and jet-lagged kids and I'm not being sarcastic either.