Ok, so here I am in internet cafe #3. This one actually has a mouse, and is not in Korean, so I think it's a winner.

I'm going to do this in bullet-point formation for my own convenience.

- I'm finally starting to figure out the whole transportation system. I can now make it to town and back on my own without getting lost. This sounds easy, but it's quite hard here, because while there are a plentiful amount of buses, there are no posted maps of the bus routes, and about 50% of the time the stops are not named. On the buses themselves there is a list of the stops, however they are more general neighborhood names rather than a concrete guide (not that you'd know where you were at anyway). I'm lucky though that I live along a fairly major road and my stop is named.

-- I have a tutor now. It wasn't really a concious decision, it was more along the lines of our coordinator here said that Middlebury would pay for tutors if we wanted them, and I said "why not". So now I have one. His name is Igor and he's a student in the (I believe) History department. Interestingly enough, he said his parents were in Palmer about 3 weeks ago, and he himself will be in Seattle for sure and possibly Alaska this summer.

-- Bosya (cat) doesn't bite as much now. He's quite the rambunctious animal..I think as a kitten he bit, so no one ever got in the habit of holding him. I can hold him now in the mornings (when he's happy to see me) and sometimes during the day if I don't mind too many scratches.

-- Ludmila Vasilevna still feeds me too much, but I think she's starting to figure out how much I can possibly eat, and only pushes me slightly beyond that now. It's rather odd how much more people here worry about you than at home. You can't believe the fuss it caused when I nearly went outside with wet hair.

--Yesterday we had our first excursion. We went to a really interesting little outside museum names Tal'zi. There we saw some cool old buildings, and went sledding on furs, had a pillow fight of sorts, and rode around on this interesting contraption consisting of a sleigh and a long pole attached to a post. This way people push the pole, and the people in the sleigh get a surprisingly scary ride. After that we went to a banya. Banya's are basically the best invention ever...and this one was on the bank of Lake Baikal. So, instead of a cold pool like the last banya was in, we ran to Lake Baikal to cool off. I'm just glad we decided to bring bathing suits, because after 2 or 3 Baikal runs there was a reasonably-sized audience watching from the cliff above...accompanied by many the cry of "Molozi!" (basically, "way to go!"). Luckily it was a warm day...probably +5 F. Last week there was a cold snap, and it was hovering around -25 F....We were supposed to have our excursion last week, but we heard it was supposed to get down to -40 F.

--School's good for the most part, sometimes boring, sometimes I can't understand anything at all, and usually I wish I was still asleep...but school's not really the place where I learn the most anyways (when it comes to language/Russia at least).

--Oh, and this morning Lud. Vas. made blini. Basically the best thing ever after banyas.

Well, that's about all for now. Camera is still broken, but I intend to steal pictures from everyone else.


Well, at last I've found a computer (with no small amount of help rom some of the people who've already been here for a semester). Unfortunately, this computer appears to be entirely in some sort of Asian language, so it's my pure luck and the fact that I manged to remember where the sign in button was that I made it this far. I have 15 minutes, so this is (as usual) going to be short. BUT I'M HERE, and alive.

I also have a Russian cell phone now, so call me if you aren't afraid of long distance --

8 914 942 3631

Also, my camera broke...or rather, I think the zoom got jammed, so now it won't stay on (because it can't open). So, I'll either have to buy a cheap camera or just steal pictures from friends..which is more likely. This means that everyone will have to wait to findout what Irkutsk looks like.

I'm living with a retired pediatrician named Ludmila Vacilievna. She's quite nice, feeds me too much, and has a very rambunctious cat.

That's all for now

I'm not much in a blogging mood..and one can't force a blogging mood..so, I'm going to keep this somewhat short. I did however feel that everyone would like to know that I made it safely to Moscow. Tomorrow I'll be flying with my group to Irkutsk, which I'm not looking forward too because I've had enough traveling for now. I also discovered that while British accents can be delightful in normal situations, they annoy me when I'm tired and stuck in their airport on a 10 hour layover (after 12 hours of flight time).

About this blog

Good news: no more required disclaimer!
Bad news: I'm really lazy about posting when I'm not in Russia