Thursday, August 30, 2007


So, today was my last day in the states for ten months. My typing has gone who knows where because it's 1:40am and in twelve hours I will be leaving for Russia. I will officially be on my way. Today wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be. Today was my last night at Church (obviously) and they had an ice cream sundae thing because I was leaving. Everyone was hugging me goodbye and some people were crying or about to cry and I felt a little bad that I didn't cry with them.

After church I went out with friends one more time. After I said my goodbyes I drove home feeling...empty. When I got home, I'm not going to lie, I cried a little. But it wasn't nearly as much or as long as I thought it would be. It's the first time I've cried when thinking about leaving. It's because I'm ready. That's why I haven't cried before. Yes, I'm going to miss my friends, but there is a grand adventure waiting for me out there and I'm ready to grab it and go.

See ya on the other side!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Summer's End

Yup, it's here.Everyone started school today whether college or high school, or both. I hung out with some close church friends last night. For once I didn't think about the fact that I'm leaving soon. It always puts a damper on the evening when I do. Yet my friend Kara was thinking about it. We were talking about it when we all got home. About how that's probably the last time we'll hang out like that for ten months, and even when we get back together it'll be different. So I'm wound up, trying not to laugh hysterically, or cry, at one in the morning sitting at my computer and the urge to write comes over me. The urge where if I don't get it on paper, I'm going to explode. The following is the poem that resulted. I didn't like it when I first wrote it, but it's grown on me. I'm proud of it because it rhymes, and because I feel I've finally accurately said with words, what I've been feeling these last few weeks.

On Parting
Daylight hides,
What I feel inside.
I can't decide,
How it is.

Paths I take,
Are my choice to make.
It just feels fake,
To be here.

Tears I cry,
Aren't a complete lie.
Yet I'm flying high.
Don't you see?

Ways are made,
And all time, it fades.
Love, don't be afraid,
I'll return.

©2007 Abigail Faust

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Our town has a college where two close friends are going. I've spent so much time at the campus these last two weeks, that I feel comfortable there. Actually it really isn't that much time, because I don't have a whole lot of time.

Here's something I've noticed....Every morning I wake up and I have this weird experience. It's a very self aware moment, almost like stepping outside your body and seeing yourself as just a person. That's the best way I can describe it. Anyway I have this moment and I think "Word! in [Insert number here] days I'll be in Russia." Every morning without fail. I don't know why. It's not like I plan it. It just happens. Three and a half days and I'm out of here. I'm loving it and dreading it.

Loving it because how many people actually get to see Siberia? Loving it because I"m going to meet new people. Loving the fact that I'm going to know Russian really well when I get back. Loving that my host mom doesn't speak english.

Dreading the flight over. Dreading the mistakes I'm going to make. Dreading that my host mom doesn't speak english. Dreading the first day of school.

It seems rather contradictory doesn't it? But it's not really, I promise. It all makes sense in my head.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Rotary Meeting, Host mom e-mail

I went to my last full Rotary meeting yesterday. I say that because I will probably stop in next wednesday to pick up some business cards, but I probably won't stay the whole time because it'll be my last day in the states. It was fun. I really do enjoy the rotary meetings and everyone is really friendly and whatnot.

I told my Russian host mom my flight schedule. What time I arrive in Moscow and stuff. She said she was going to try to get someone to meet me in Moscow and help me get where I need to be. In my last e-mail I had asked her if there was anything else I needed to know before coming, and she said. "Pack warm clothes. other things are not so important." Very Russian, and she's very right. It's going to be cold in Yakutsk. I hope I have enough warm clothes.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Went out again last night, said more goodbyes. My social life is going to slow down. Everyone is starting college at the end of the week.

Ten months seems like a long time today.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I got a package from Fed Ex today. Inside was an envelope. In that envelope was an assortment of stuff. Tickets, Passport, a Visa in Russian.

9 days.

Monday, August 20, 2007


I was laying in bed last night and realized that I'm beginning my last full week in the states. It was the oddest sensation...

I sent my itinerary to my host mom. I'm just waiting for them to tell me if I have to contact someone about meeting me in Moscow, I think it's going to work out that they get someone to meet me at the airport and help me get on my flight to Yakutsk. It would be nice if they did. It would make life a lot less stressful for me, but if they don't I'll manage. I might freakout a bit, but I'd handle it.

In a couple of minutes Dad is going to help me straighten out my power point, which I need organizational help with. He's good at that kind of thing.

Time is even more precious now. I went out with some friends last night to Steak and Shake.

As you can tell it was a really good time.

This afternoon I went and saw my friend's dorm and we went and got a drink at Sheetz. I promised my cousin this morning that we would get dinner somewhere before I leave. I intended to make good on that promise. Before I was just kind of cruising along. Now I can feel time slipping away. Yet at the same time I am completely excited for the adventure that awaits!

Friday, August 17, 2007


The other day mom said the following to me:
"If there's any food that you haven't had in a while, let me know and I'll make it for you."

My friend Zach said:
"Now that you have a date, what is one thing you want to do?"

And Kara said:
"You have a date, let's call up a friend from the mission trip and see if he wants to hang out before you leave."

I guess I really am leaving.

I finished my journal last night. The paper one I keep. It's the end of a series of journals I've been keeping since my Freshman year of high school. I will still paper journal. I've got the new one all ready to go. But it's different because I'm closing one chapter in my life and opening another. It's not bad, it's just different. Just real.

I'm about to go to a goodbye party for Joe, who leaves for Taiwan on Sunday. Everyone is moving on, and now, so am I. I think I'm ready to let go and get moving, but sometimes I wonder....

Here's a picture for you, I found it on Google Earth. It's a picture of Yakutsk. One of the prettier ones I've seen.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


This is in case anyone cares that I will be living on various airplanes for two days.

Leave from Cleveland August 30th.
New York

I arrive in my new city on the morning of September first. What really blows my mind if I think about it is that it'll be the first in Yakutsk, but it will still be the 31st here in Ohio because of the 14 hour time difference. How's that for Mind-blowing?

Letters From Russia #1

Rotarians, Fellow Outbounds, Classmates, Family, Brothers, Sisters, Friends, Romans and fellow Countrymen lend me your ears. (Heh heh heh)

Seriously though, If you are receiving this e-mail it is because you have expressed interest in knowing all about my Siberian Adventure. For those of you who may not know I will give you some background information.

I decided that I want to travel and that I love the Russian language. So when I applied for Rotary Youth Exchange, Russia was my first choice, even though it's not a country my home district (6650) usually exchanges with. I am ever grateful to all of the Rotarians who helped me in this journey. I know it's your job, but I appreciate it so much. Anyway, I will be spending the next ten months in the city of Yakutsk, Russia. I will be leaving on August 30th, from Cleveland. I will be flying Cleveland, New York, Zurich, Moscow, Yakutsk and will be arriving in the city that will be my new home early on September 1st.

In Yakutsk, I will be attending the university and in general, learning all I can and assimilating to the Russian Culture and way of life. It's the opportunity of a lifetime, one that I've been looking forward to for over a year.

There are a few other things that you need to know.

-I do not know how often this e-mail will come out. I'm thinking right now, that once I get there and get settled it'll be about once a month, but I'm not promising anything because I don't know how it'll go once I get there. You might receive it more or less often. Sorry, but since this is such a great experience I want to experience it and not spend all my time writing e-mails.

-At the bottom of this e-mail, is some information. It includes my name (In English) the city where I'm going to be (In Russian and English) and then several other things. The website listed is a web log that I will also be updating while I'm in Russia. Hopefully. Chances are it will be updated more often than this newsletter though again, I make no guarantees. You are welcome to check the Blog and leave comments.

- If you would like to contact me whilst I am away you are welcome to e-mail me at this address. This is my personal address and so please feel free to let me know what's going on with you (especially all of you getting ready to head to college) as well as ask questions, send your thoughts, and comments. If you ask a questions, I will do my best to answer it and will probably put it in a newsletter in case other people are wondering something similar.

-Rotarians, and Outbounds you are welcome to e-mail me at my rotary address, and anything related (or un) to my exchange, and rotary can be addressed there. Also for the Youth Exchange Committee people, if there are any potential outbounds who are interested in Russia, or interested in just finding out more about exchange feel free to give them my hotmail address. I would love to chat with them.

-I have also included my screen name for AOL instant messenger. If you would like to chat with me live online sometime, I have included it, but I make no promises because I don't know if I will have access to it, or how the 14 hour time difference is going to affect that. If you have MSN messenger you can chat with me at

-Already several people have requested that I send/bring them stuff back. If you have something that you would like me to bring/send to you, please e-mail a request to this address and I will talk with you. I am going to tell you all right now that I cannot bring/send stuff to everyone for two reasons. One, I am only allowed 2 suitcases at 50lbs each and two it is expensive to ship things from Russia all the time. If it's something you really must have, e-mail a request to me and we'll talk about it.

-Finally, if there is anyone you know that you think would like to be on this e-mail list, or should be and I haven't put them on, have them e-mail me with a request to be on it, or e-mail me yourself with their name and e-mail address. I will be happy to add them.

Well I think that does it for now. You probably won't see another e-mail from me until I get over to Yakutsk which will be two weeks from today (Goodness) Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I make this journey.

Oh and I almost forgot. If for some reason you happen to miss an e-mail check out the blog where I will be posting a copy of the e-mails I send for posterity's sake.

Paka for now!
Abigail Faust
Якутск, Республика Саха (Якутия) Россия
Yakutsk, Sakha Republic (Yakutia) Russia
E-Mail: (Rotary)
AIM: InterpretedSigns

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I got back home this morning and checked my e-mail. This is something I've been doing everyday. Well I do it almost everyday anyway, because I'm addicted to the internet like that, but I've been especially careful to check it since the travel company told me that I should be getting information soon. Sure enough there was a lovely e-mail from bokoff-kaplan that said something like this:

Hi Abigail,
I just tracked the return envelope from the Russian Consulate and it looks like I should be receiving this today. Please let me know if the 30th of August is okay for you to depart. If this date works for you then I will go ahead and send you a travel itinerary for your trip to Yakutz.


I'm pretty excited. Naturally I e-mailed her back and said that the 30th would be great, and I asked for an estimate on when I'd be receiving my itinerary. Oh my goodness! I have so so much to do and suddenly I have two weeks (From tomorrow) in which to do it! Can you say major freakoutness!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Leaving is Like Dying

okay I know that sounds morbid, but it's the strangest thing. I've had the oddest feeling lately. I think it's because I'm just waiting. It's like as I look at my life, my future, I can't see anything past a certain point. I think. Okay, I'll probably be leaving in the next couple of weeks. Yet it's like when I try to think about what's coming my mind draws a complete blank. It's like my life just stops after two weeks. Thank goodness that people haven't stopped talking about future events around me. Then I really would feel like I'm dying.

I think that's maybe my problem. I sit and talk with people, and my Rotary friends are all like 'Yes, I'm leaving in X days, I can't wait!" and my friends from school are going "Wow, move-in day is in ten days, I can't believe we're in college now" and my friends from church are all getting ready to go back to high school and college and what am I doing? I'm getting ready for Russia, but it's like I don't have any real plans, because I don't know when I'm leaving or anything. It's like I'm caught in some sort of suspended time. It's like life keeps flowing all around me and I'm just staying stationary. I don't even know if I can describe it accurately enough in words, maybe some of you have felt this way and know what I'm talking about. In that case you understand exactly what I mean when I say that it's kind of like dying.

People say "So what are you doing?" and I say "I'm going to Russia." And that's all I know. The question I've hated for a while now is "When are you leaving?" I hate that question so much. Yet at the same time, my attitude is kind of reflected in the way I answer. At first it was "The end of August!" And I would say it with such enthusiasm, now my answer is "I wish I knew" Said with some irritation and frustration and disappointment. It's not that I have a bad attitude about going, I'm just eager to go, and it's hard hearing everyone else's plans and not knowing my own. I don't like being suspended in and above time like this.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Essential Phrases Important to Survival in Russia

One of the things I bought when I went to town to get a few things was a Russian phrasebook. I have a dictionary but wanted a phrasebook because, well because I'm
lazy and if I get lost in the airport I can find the phrase I need without pulling out my dictionary and looking up one word at a time and then putting it in the correct grammatical format. Why do that when Lonely Planet does it for me? So as I was reading through the phrasebook yesterday, I found some interesting phrases that I thought were essential to survival in Russia. Here they are for your view pleasure, who knows, maybe they'll come in Handy if you ever visit the motherland...

Ввоз в Российскую Федератсию компакт-дисков Джастина Тимберлейка строго воцпрещается
vos v ra-si-sku-yu fi-di-rat-sih-yu kom-pakt-dis-kav dzha-sti-na tim-bir-ley-ka stro-ga vas-pri-sha-yit-sa
The importation of Justin Timberlake CDs into the Russian Federation is strictly Prohibited

Я поддерживаю путина
ya pad-yer-zhih-va-yu pu-ti-na
I support Putin

Я под кайфом
ya pat key-fam
I'm high

ты выйдешь за меня
tih vih-dish' za min-ya
Will you marry me?

Я обуза
ya a-bu-za
I am a waste of space

это лекарство для личного пользования
e-ta li-karst-va dlya lich-na-va pol'-za-va-ni-ya
This drug is for personal use

Well that's all I've got for right now. Hope you've enjoyed.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


So I feel rather alone. All of my exchange friends are gone or getting ready to go. I don't even have a departure date yet. I'm hoping to have my visa by the 17th. Hopefully earlier. I'm just waiting on word from the travel company. The waiting is hard, and it's depressing watching everybody else pack up and go. No, that sounds awkward, it sounds like I"m just sitting here twiddling my thumbs, which I'm not. I've started packing, am working on my power point presentation. I went shopping yesterday and bought some last minute things. I'm trying to figure out what I don't need because my suitcases are tiny. It's just the endless waiting that's hard. For the most part I'm enjoying the last few weeks here. I've been eating breakfast with my mom and grandparents a lot. It's funny but whereas last summer, I might prefer to stay home and sleep rather than go to breakfast, this summer, I find it hard to just roll over and go back to sleep. Because I knew in a few weeks I'll be eating breakfast thousands of miles away and a year is both long and short.

That sounds like an oxymoron, I know but it's the truth. A year can be both long and short.In the grand scheme of things a year really isn't that much time. Compared to like five years or ten years or whatever. Yet at the same time a year is a long time. A lot can happen in a year. Things can change dramatically in a year. That kind of scares me.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Travel Company

So as far as I can tell, from the e-mail my dad got, the travel company received the documents I sent them. They mentioned that they would now be working on getting my visa and after that I'll get my tickets and know when I'm leaving. I have a feeling that I'll be finding out when I leave just before I actually board the plane. I don't really know how I'm feeling about it right now. Part of me is depressed about the year I'm going to lose here. There are some people I am really going to miss. Yet At the same time, I know that this grand adventure is a once in a lifetime experience.