Friday, March 14, 2008

The Lord of the East

So, I'm chilling in Vladivostok. Actually, "chilling" isn't really the word. The temperature was 7 degrees celsius (And yes, that's positive) when I got off the plane yesterday. There was also wind. A lot of wind compared to what we have in Yaktusk. I stepped off the plane onto the tarmac and was like "Wow, it's so warm here!' ha ha ha. There's no snow.

I kind of like it here actually. The landscape is like San Francisco meets southern Ohio. Though I've never been to S.F. So I don't know how accurate that description is. There are lots of hills here, and the city is basically built on them. The hills slope down to the sea of Japan so that's pretty cool. The other landscape feature that's worth noting is that since it's not nearly as cold here as Yaktusk, there are full-sized trees. I didn't know how much I missed full sized trees until I saw them (all over the place) on the drive from the airport and I'm like "oh wow! trees! How cool is that!"

I got picked up from the airport by some random guy. We went to different places around the city so he could get groceries, then took me to an empty apartment, was like "you'll be living here" told me that Yulia, the apartment's inhabitant would be home later, after work, and then left. oooh, fun. ha ha ha. Naturally it was entertaining for me to stand there when this woman comes home from work and be like "uh...hi. I'm Abigail and I'll be living in your apartment for a while. " it was all good though. Basically, I ate dinner and went to bed because I was pretty wiped out. Even short plane rides have that effect on me. Plane rides= Abigail conking out during and after.

This morning I woke up about ten, looked out the window and was throughly depressed. There was a thick blanket of fog over the city and there was rain and a major wind going on (I opened the window.) I spent the day doing absolutely nothing and enjoyed myself immensely. I did not get dressed, and I did not even put in my contacts (gasp!) instead, I spent the day alternately drinking chai and flipping through the tv channels, some of which we don't have in Yaktusk. Not that you care, but I watched such mind stimulating programs as "Mythbusters", "Rugrats," "Woody Woodpecker" and "Scooby-doo". All dubbed into Russian of course. I was half-way through watching "smallville" which is one of those programs that I never watched in america, but I watch here, when Yulia came home. Slightly awkward feeling for me as the TV is located in her room, but she was like "It's okay, watch." So I did. It wasn't long after that when Raisa called from Yaktusk. The conversation went as follows:

"I called earlier why didn't you answer?"
"Did you call the sottovii (cell)?" while thinking Yeah, I'm gonna answer the phone in a near-stranger's house when I've been living here for 24 hours
"What about Korea?"
"Well, I'm not there yet, I'm still in Vladivostok" obviously, since you called me here.
"Did you meet with Eleonora yet?"
"Why not? "
"Call her. Right now, you need to call her and talk to her"
"I'll call you back tomorrow"
"Okay, bye."

I talked to Yulia about talking to Eleonora, and Yulia made a call. We then found out that Eleonora is sick in the bolnitsa (Hospital) and won't be out until next week at which time I'll meet with her. In the meantime I have no idea when I'm heading for the golden shores (?) of Korea. And so I'm relaxing here.

Yulia is a doctor. She does cardiograms and stuff. She has a daughter who's on exchange this year in Taiwan and who, like me, really missed home at first and is doing a lot better now. Yulia said that on the weekend, since she doesn't have to work, we'll go to the sea. NOt that it's warm enough to swim in or anything, but just seeing the sea (and maybe taking some pictures) would be cool.

As I mentioned, I like Vladivostok so far, but it was the weirdest thing yesterday, I was sitting at dinner and thinking about how it's like starting exchange over again, with a random family, but at least this time I know the language and more culture, and then all of a sudden I realized that I missed Yakutsk Yes, you read that correctly. I actually miss that Frozen, tiny, town stuck in the middle of nowhere. Maybe because it's familier, maybe because it's been home for seven months, or maybe because I really do like that city more than I realized. Whatever it is, last night for the first time I was homesick, not for home in Ohio, but for Yakutsk. Funny how that works.

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