I think this is number three now, right? If I loose count, forgive me. Also please forgive any spelling and grammar errors as I seem to be losing my writing ability due to learning more Russian.
Anyway, I hope that this update finds everyone well. Life here is always interesting. I still feel like I have yet to develop a true routine as random things seem to pop up and come and go. Maybe this week my routine will finally reveal itself. I've been waiting for it for almost two months.
Speaking of which, I'm finishing out my second month here in the city of Yakutsk. It's very odd the way the time seems to fly by, but at the same time, it's very slow. Not that slow is always a bad thing. I guess the main thing that's slow is school. School bores me. A lot. But I go because if I didn't, I wouldn't get nearly the exposure to Russian. I've been trying to make more of an effort to participate and do homework which helps, but school is still tedious.
For those of you who missed the memo, I celebrated my 19th birthday here. I feel so old. Do you realize that most of my 19th year will be spent here and that when I get home I'll be ready to turn 20? AHHHHH! lol.
The governor of District 5010 came for a visit this last Friday. I ate dinner with him, his wife, and the Rotary Club president on Thursday night. I did some translating which was kind of exciting. It shows how much my Russian has improved since I've come here. On Friday I basically spent the entire day doing stuff with and related to the govorner's visit. Raisa and I were really tired when we got home Friday night, so she told me I didn't have to go to school saturday. That was really exciting.
I know this letter isn't as formal as the last one, not as well organized, and maybe more rambling, but I just don't feel like being formal right now. I think that you all will deal with it.
My language has improved. I'm not sure really about my speaking except that I have a larger vocabulary than I did two months ago. I get so frustrated when I can't express myself. Though last night I was able to figure out how to tell a girl why I didn't like the last Harry Potter book. Which made me feel really good.
I have my ups and downs. I want you all to know this because I don't want to paint an unreal picture of my exchange. There are days when I just want to curl up in a ball and cry. There are days when I think that I never want to go back to America. There are times when all I want are my friends an family in America. Yet, if given the chance I wouldn't go home. It's like I don't know what I really want. It's weird. It's like this country makes me bipolar.
Yet, at the same time I know that it'll feel odd when I go back to America. How do I know this? Because the idea of me going back already seems...different...The way I see and view America is different. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I already feel the change. Though it may not look like it, I'm already a different person than I was when I got off that airplane in Yakutsk's tiny airport almost two months ago. Already I see things through different eyes, there are issues that I look at differently, and there are things I've learned here that I will carry with me.
I don't know if any of this is making sense, and maybe some of you don't enjoy reading about my emotional process. You think when you signed up for this e-mail I was going to give you the bare facts. Well, I've got news for you. These are the facts. Yeah, I could tell you details about my daily life here, but I already do that in my blog. If that's what you want, then go read it. http://learnspeak.blogspot.com I just figure that this is my newsletter, and you wanted updates so here they are.
Sometimes I think I'm a bad exchange student. I think that maybe I'm not outgoing enough here, I don't try hard enough to make friends. Sometimes I think about the day I get off the plane in good old Cleveland Ohio. Sometimes I think about it a lot. More than I think I should and then I mentally chastise myself because I need to be living here, in Yakutsk Russia. Sometimes I want the time to hurry up so that it can be february, or march, and I can be more used to living here. There are moments that I wish would last longer. Sometimes I wonder why Rotary picked a person like me to go on exchange. I know they had their reasons, and I've always wanted to go on exchange. Felt like I was meant to go on exchange. I know that once I get through it, like the Moscow airport, I'll have a sense of accomplishment. I've seen so much and done so much here that I couldn't in America. If I could go back in time to the beginning of my exchange journey, and were given the option of coming or not, knowing what I know now, I would still come. Because even though this is probably the hardest thing I've ever done, I know it's also going to be the most rewarding when I get done.
I appreciate those of you who have read this far. Appreciate the fact that you listened to my personal...not problems really, I guess reflections is a better word. If you were expecting this letter to be something other than what it was, maybe next time you won't be disappointed, but this right now is the reality of my life.
I have this thing about stuff that's more personal, how it doesn't go on the internet because you never know who reads it, so there are some things that are best left to a paper journal, or not said at all. I do not classify this as one of those things. Because I want you to know what exchange is like, and this is it.
I was going to do shout outs now, but I figured why? mostly because I talk to those of you I would shout out to on a semi-regular basis, so I guess I'm just going to leave this letter where it is. As always I appreciate your thoughts, comments, prayers, and e-mails. I really am doing well here. Don't think that I'm not. If this letter came off sounding really negative, I didn't mean it to. It's more of a reflection. I've come to love this city, the dust, the cold, the old school cars. I've already started making plans for how to save up money to make a second trip here. So life really is good.
I hope that you all are doing well too wherever you may be, exchange, college, home, high school. I hope that you are enjoying whatever it is you have chosen to do, just as I am enjoying mine.
Until next time,
Якутск, Республика Саха (Якутия) Россия
Yakutsk, Sakha Republic (Yakutia) Russia