Monday, August 25, 2008


So today was the first day of classes. I had two. "Comparing Governments" and "We Came From Monkeys" The first one is going to be interesting, the second..well..let's just say that it's not my cup of tea. I came out of the classroom feeling like my brain was overloaded. So the semester starts. But what I'm really looking forward to is my last class tomorrow. Why? Because it's my Russian class! "Reading and Speaking" Here I come! I'm really really excited. I miss Russia so stinking much and miss speaking it, and the culture and everything. It's so bad, coming back because I seriously think about it every day. I seriously cannot watch American fireworks displays anymore without automatically remembering the couple I saw in Yakutsk, and the announcers calling out propoganda and the shouts of everyone going "Ura!" Gah! I want to go back to Russia, but in the meantime, I'll have to settle for becoming active in the Russian department.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

What I Love About College

So, I've discovered that there's something very special about being at college? I mean, it's really great so far although I haven't started classes yet (They start tomorrow) so maybe it'll get worse once they do, but somehow I doubt it. My favorite thing so far about being in college though is FREE STUFF!!!! I mean seriously. I thought the commercial building at the fair was great but that's child's play compared to a college campus. The past week my collection of free stuff includes Two SPU t-shirts, a Laundry Bag, a change purse, a little backpack, ten dollar gift card to Panera bread, a key chain light and whistle, and a key chain pen. I have a lanyard that has my room key on it along with some other things, and the only thing I actually bought was the lanyard. It's like people are just dying to give stuff to college students. It's absolutely awesome!

Another thing that I like is meeting completely random new people. It's so fun and easy and acceptable on a college campus to go up to someone and be like "Hi, I don't know you" and start talking to them. Okay, maybe not those exact words, but you know what I mean. Besides, if you don't talk to random people, you don't learn anything.

Finally, college is great because there are always interesting things to do and usually they are free. Last night I went to see the movie version of The Kite Runner which was our summer reading book. This week I've also been to a dorm-floor jam session, learned about guys who play the card game Magic and eaten dinner with several random groups of people. I am seriously just eating this up.

Oh and speaking of "eating up" Let me tell you that the food situation here is different. The Center is where it's at with Chinese, burgers, bagels and such, oh and ice cream, really good ice cream. I go there a lot because it's the closest eatery to my dorm. I get lazy and don't always want to walk clear across campus for food. Though there is a good place on the other side with amazing milkshakes. The problem with the food though is it's so easy. It doesn't feel like your spending money at all. See, when I'm at home and getting ready to go through the drive through, I stop and think "okay, how much money do I have? Do I really want to spend X amount." But with the meal plan it's all on my SPU ID card and you just swipe and go. They aren't teaching good money management here but it's really convenient. "ooh, I feel like a rootbeer float" swipe!

And so, I guess I'd just like to say that I definitely recommend college because, well, it's just completely awesome!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New Blog

So, I am a member of a forum for exchange students. I hadn't been on in a while due to all this preparing for college stuff, but I logged on today and found out about a kid who's going to spend their exchange year in Russia in the city of Niryungrei. This is particularly exciting for me because Niryungrei is a city in the Sakha Republic. In case you're interested, here's the student's blog.

Russia Bound

I look forward to following this blog.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I move in tomorrow. Into a college dorm, sort of a place of my own. So why am I not excited about it? Well, to be honest, it's anti-climatic. I mean come on. I spent the last year in Russia for Pete's sake. After a fourteen hour time difference, moving half an hour away seems like nothing. Am I worried about my roommate? Well, not really. I mean we at least speak the same language. Will things there be different. Well, this is America so basic culture is the same. Yeah, I think that college while it's not going to be a breeze, it's something I can deal with. I guess what I'm trying to say is that Russia's put some stuff into perspective for me.

Though life isn't a box of cherries either. I'm rather stressed at the moment, mostly because I'm trying to work out my schedule. As I mentioned, I had a meeting with SPU's head of the Russian Department, and the good news is that he seemed to be rather impressed with my "mad Russian skillz" heh. Basically, he told me to drop my "Where in the World Are We?" Class in order to take either "Speaking and Writing" or "Today's Writers." Both of which are Russian classes, but he couldn't remember which one was at the same time as "WITWAW?" no problem. Okay, so I figure no problem. I'll talk to my Advisor and all will be well. Except that I did some checking and have discovered that the Russian classes I'm supposed to be taking don't fall at the same time as "WITWAW?" Blin! Blin! Blin! Chyort! So after much thinking about it and schedule studying, I'm thinking that I'm going to be taking my math class in the evening in order to take "Speaking and Writing". But that's twenty one credit hours, and I'm not sure I can take all that when I have a couple of hard classes this semester. Hard classes in Addition to my Math. So at the moment, I'm looking into dropping my math and taking it next semester. I'd rather put off math than Russian. The latter is too Important to lose.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The World Homesickness and Final Preparations

So For those of you who've been living under a rock the last week or so, the big news of the day is that Georgia and Russia are practically at war. And everyone's freaking out. Especially about the fact that Russia supposedly is overreacting. And maybe they are. But I find myself in Inexplicable ways both defending and putting down my adopted country. When people talk about how bad Russia's being I'm quick to point out that "In case everyone's forgotten, Georgia's the one who started it." But then at the same time sometimes in the next sentence I tell people about how carefully we need to watch Russia because that's how the CCCP (Soviet Union) got all that land back in the day. They just never left after the war.

I find the whole attitude towards the United States to be interesting too. Sometimes I feel like Everyone goes around hating us, and telling us that we're not the world's police and that we need to keep our noses to ourselves, yet when stuff like this happens, everyone wants us to come and save them. It doesn't make any sense to me.

In other, more personal news, I've been particularly homesick lately. Homesick for Russia that is. I've just been hurting. I don't know if I'm really homesick for Yakutsk itself, but I miss Russia. The culture, the language, everything. I miss speaking Russian and all the books in the bookstore being in Russian. I miss having Chai and the culture that goes with it. I miss everything on TV being Russian and am depressed that in watching the olympics here, they only show the American athletes.

Then I also get my little freakouts. For example, yesterday I pulled out my khomus to play it and realized that it was all rusted. Naturally, this made me completely freak out and as I result I burst into my parents' room at like one in the morning because I didn't know what to do and was terrified it was ruined. Mom told me that sand paper might word very gently. I said that I wanted to wait until morning to do it because if I tried to do it last night I was tired and freaking out and was sure I'd mess it up. That worked out though, because my dad, who'd been asleep (Or at least we thought he was) heard the whole thing and this morning before leaving for work, he looked on the internet how to clean rust off delicate things (I do put the Khomus in my mouth after all.) So this morning mom and I set to work and with a combination of Lemon Juice, Toothpaste, a bit of steel wool and some vodka, got my khomus mostly better and much prettier than it has been in a while. Henceforth, I will be taking much much better care of it.

In other other news, I'm moving into the Smart dorm at SPU on Tuesday. I'm not sure how I'm feeling about this. I mean in someways I'm really looking forward to it and in others I'm not. I'm also upset because I don't know that I have room in my Schedule for a Russian class this semester. The good news is that I'm talking to the Doctor who's head of the russian department on Campus tomorrow. I'm hoping if he can't get me into something, he can at least offer suggestions to keep from loosing my Russian, which by the way, I already feel like I'm loosing. It's not nearly as much in my head now as it used to be. That's very frustrating. I'll let you all know how the meeting goes.

Sunday, August 03, 2008


So I thought I would dedicate an entire post to walking. Okay, or maybe not the entire post, maybe just half of it. But you see this is a really big issue for me and I guess in some ways, it's a part of reverse culture shock. See here in America, you can get your driver's license at the age of 16. Okay, great fine. We drive a lot, especially where I live because there's no sidewalks for walking, town's a way off and there's not really any public transportation. Okay, I guess technically there is but it's so inconvenient and expensive that you might just as well drive. So I got my license when I was seventeen and the world was whole and I tooled around with my friends and decided that I was cool. Then, I decided to go to Russia. I was kind of depressed that the rule was I wasn't allowed to drive. "Man," I thought (rather ignorantly in retrospect) "I'm gonna miss driving." And I did, but I got by. How? Well, because God gave me a set of two working legs, that's how. So I started walking. I mean. that's what you have to do when you don't have a car and don't want to pay for a bus ride because they raised the price by two roubles.

So what does this have to do with Reverse Culture Shock? Well, let me put it this way. I went from driving everywhere to driving nowhere. Which wasn't nearly as bad as going from Walking everywhere to Walking nowhere. I really really miss walking. More than I thought I would. I mean. I really really liked walking. NOw It's not nearly as convenient to walk places so I don't. As a result, I feel fat and lazy. Plus my legs have gotten to the point where they feel cramped all the time. I'm always trying to stretch them and stuff As I sit or lay or whatever, but it doesn't help. They just feel cramped up. So I'm seriously thinking about walking four miles into the little town near us. Maybe take a day next week and do it. Go to the library or something. It's hard though to motivate myself just to walk for the sake of walking. I mean I did it in Yakutsk, but Usually I could find something to entertain myself among the various stores I passed. Just randomly walking, out in the middle of the country, well, it's not as much fun. I mean, it is, but it's just not the same.