Authors note: Sometimes I feel that I write better in the third person than first person. I've been thinking about doing something like this for a couple of weeks and finally decided it was time. I guess the real purpose of it is to give you more of an inside look at what my everyday life is like here. Hope you enjoy it.
The time and temperature sign on the top of the Sakha Telecom building read -3 when she was walking home from school. Negative three degress and she was eating ice cream. She didn't feel odd about it. She wasn't the only one enjoying the treat. She licked at the cone fiercely holding it first with one hand and then the other, as they alternately numbed and then warmed when she stuck them in her pocket. She was irritated. Irritated with the buracracy in this country. What kind of country makes you register before allowing you to enter a library? She frowned as she walked. Hoping that when she returned in a few days they would accept her American passport. Probably not.
Her face brightened slightly as she hit the carmel center of her cone. It was her favorite part. She strolled toward the largest supermarket in town, she thought it was the best because it usually had the most variety, but it was a good ways away from her apartment so she rarely went there. As she strolled she thought about how much she'd changed in these six weeks.
Lost in her thoughts, she no longer noticed the dirt covering the soviet era cars, and the bits of broken beer bottles lying around. It was just part of the landscape. She reached the store and went inside, rejoyicing in the relative variety. She strolled through the aisles and picked out what she wanted, noticing that there were only three brands of pop this time, while there were about five different types of colgate toothpaste. On her way to the checkout, she walked down the chip aisle. What she desperately wanted was potato chips. Potato chips that weren't bacon, onion, cheese or crab flavored. Just plain potato chips. She didn't see any and was turning away when her eye caught a yellow package. Joy of Joys! The package said "Naturalnye" and they were lays! She could hardly contain her excitement. Then her eye fell on the price. Fifty two rubles. She groaned inwardly. Fifty two rubles why that was a week's worth of bus money! She gazed longingly at the package, debating inwardly for a few minutes. Finally she reached out and plucked the package from the shelf. She hadn't had regular potato chips in a long time. It was worth it.
She paid and as soon as she left the store she opened the chips, the cellophane was music in her ears. She grabbed one crispy chip and popped it into her mouth. It was the best potato chip she'd ever eaten. Even the chips in the states couldn't compare to original russian lays. There was something almost more natural about it. Even the grease that was left behind on her fingers seemed more natural somehow.
Heading home, she munched her chips all the way, enjoying every last bite and resolving to save some for later if there were any left by the time she got home. There weren't. It was getting dark by the time she reached her building. She checked her cell. 5:15pm She keyed open the outside door to the apartment building. The first thing she noticed as she began to climb to the fourth floor was that the hallway smelled like beer instead of cigarettes. Well that was an interesting change. When she reached the door that lead to her apartment, she stuck her skeleton key in the lock without hesitation. She coaxed the key like a stray kitten and obligingly the door swung outward. She popped her second key into the door that led to the apartment itself and without furthur delay stepped onto the small swatch of carpet right inside the door. She took of her scarf, hat, and coat and hung them up. Glad that it was still warm enough to wear her shorter jacket, or kourtka, while at the same time looking forward to the weather that would force her to wear her warmer coat.
Looking for something to do, she plopped down at the computer hoping to hear a word from her family and friends. If she didn't she wasn't going to stress about it. She knew they were just as busy as she.