It was a long trip. Last Friday was the longest day of my life. Seriously. I got up at 3am moscow time and went to sleep in my own bed at 3am Eastern Time. 12 hours right? no problem. You have to remember that between those times, I had a 4 hour flight, an 8 hour flight and a two hour flight. Plus layovers in various airports. I had many adventures, like almost getting on a flight to Detriot, but the upshot is that I started crying when, at 9pm eastern time, my airplane landed in Cleveland. All I could think was "Oh my goodness, I'm in Cleveland. I'm home, I'm home."
It was a shock on the flight from Moscow. I flew Swiss Air from Moscow to Zurich. Why was it a shock? Because Swiss Air speaks German and Swiss Air speaks English. They do a little French too. So it was a bit of a shock to be on this airplane and have the in-flight magazines not be in Russian, and to have people automatically address me in English. I was freaking out and had to mentally tell myself that "I need to be doing English."
I've been here almost a week and the novelty is starting to fade. I mean, yeah, I'm still happy to be hanging with my parents. To be able to see my family and friends. But in some ways, I no longer feel connected to them. My feelings are as changing as the wind. Mostly I don't want to be here. But my problem is that I'm not sure that I'd want to be back in Russia either. I don't know where I want to be.
I feel bad that I haven't updated more. Mom said people had started asking her why I wasn't updating. The truth is that I've been really busy. I feel like I've been going almost non-stop since I got back last week. What have I been doing? Well, aside from a family dinner and a party tomorrow, I've been doing what I've always done. I run errands with my parents, I go to church, I occasionally meet with friends. Yet somehow now, it seems like too much. Probably because I've gotten used to having entirely too much free time.
I haven't gotten back in to watching American TV yet. Just haven't felt like it. Don't really play a lot of Wii either aside from Wii fit and occasional guitar hero. I've been reading a lot. Working on Pride and Prejudice right now. I sleep a lot too. I tell you what, it hits 8 or 9 pm and I just crash. But I don't dare go to bed until at least ten. The one night, I went to bed at 8:45. Bad idea because as I result, I found myself nice and awake at about 4:30 in the morning. Fun.
What else has been happening? Well, I've got myself a cold, On the way home from the airport I forgot the English word for smetana (It's sour cream by the way) and I occasionally find myself asking questions with Russian intonation rather than English. Oh and I've gotten rather sick of people asking me "how was your trip?" I mean normally, it wouldn't be a problem but after ten and a half months of ups and downs in a foreign country, how do you answer that. I mean saying the standard "good" is just so inappropriate. Mostly I just say "different" and leave it at that though I'm seriously thinking about just giving a good russian answer, "normalnye"
Sometimes I do things that are really rude without thinking, and then I'm like "Oh, man, I'm really really sorry about that." Sometimes I find myself reaching for the button on the back of the toilet to flush it, before realizing it's not there, or I'll reach for the little triangularly folded paper napkins on the table and then remember you have to ask for them.
I've been enjoying American food, but every time I eat it, I can't help thinking about all the Russian food that I can no longer eat. What do I miss most? Caviar, Salo and Ice cream.
I was at a wedding yesterday. Watching the Bride and Groom the just seemed so young. Although actually, the couple is a year or so older than me. I told mom when I got home last night that some days I watch people and I feel positively Ancient.
She says it'll pass and I know she's right, but you can't come out of Russia, or exchange for that matter, without being changed in some inexplicable way. My friends tell me I'll get used to life here again, that I'll get "Back to normal." That makes me want to scream. I don't have some disease that I'm overcoming and can then return to society. There's nothing broken about me.
Well, I guess that's all. At least for right now. But stay tuned for more drama and excitment from the land of Capitalism and Free Trade. (And yes, I've been thinking that rather sarcastically lately though I have no reason to.) Oh, by the way, if you know me and haven't heard, My welcome back party's tomorrow. It's at the church from 2-4 so feel free to drop in and have all your burning questions answered. I should really go finish my power point for that too.