Oh no, not the language code!

If you don't hear from me again, the Middlebury KGB got me.

So then....life. Where did we last leave off? May 2nd? Well, a lot has gone on since then. For starters: I graduated. However, after surviving only 1 month of freedom, I once again find myself in a rigorous university setting. The only difference this time is that I've switched languages.

I also now know where I'm going to be in Russia -- Tolyatti (Togliatti). It's a rather large industrial town on the Volga River that was named after an Italian communist. All of the historical sights that dated from before the Soviet era were also washed away in a flood 50 years ago. Sounds pretty picturesque, huh? However, the good news is that the people seem really nice, and the town is located in an interesting area. I've corresponded a little with the girl who was there last year, and she said that she had a really good time. It is also pretty far off the tourist track (unless there are people out there with Lada fetishes), so it will be really good practice for my Russian speaking. As far as the living situation goes, it sounds like I have a choice: I can either live in the dorm, or find an apartment. The apartment sounds like the better situation to me, but I'll admit..the idea is a little frightening. I've never had to rent an apartment before, let alone in Russia. The idea of being alone in Russia is also kinda scary. Of course I'll have a babysitter from the university who will make sure that I don't die, but I won't have a Russian хозяйка to make me food, tell me how the buses work, and make sure that I don't go out on the street with wet hair. I also suspect that my daily diet would consist of a whole lot of macaroni and sandwiches. Not that I mind that too terribly.

My current problem is dealing with the constant stream of paperwork that insists on overwhelming me. The worst part is that I keep having to juggle it all between different addresses. By the way -- getting a visa approved? How does that work anyway? I have had very little guidance on this subject. I know that my invitation has been approved and is being expressed mailed to me at this very moment...but then what? I guess I'll figure that out when it gets here. If I were to get metaphorical, this would be the part of life where the training wheels are starting to come off. There's still a hand lightly holding on to the seat of life, but you know at any moment it's going to let go and pretend it didn't.

On a lighter note, today I saw a baby squirrel and a baby bunny within 5 minutes of each other. It was so adorable I thought I might choke. This year at русская школа I'm living in a dorm that's off in the woods. You wouldn't think that there would be as much wildlife around since it's not a particularly dense section of woods, but there is. The vast majority of this wildlife also enjoys peeking into my room to see what's going on. The other day I was sitting at my computer looking up Russian verbs or checking facebook or something and I look over to find a little face looking at me! It was a SQUIRREL! He was sitting on the ledge outside my window and seemed very intrigued by the goldfish crackers on my desk. I tried to take a picture, but I couldn't get my camera ready fast enough :(

Oh, by the way, Coolio did come to Sewanee. It was absurd and epic all at once.

I suppose I should go be social or something.

p.s. - the bugs here are crazy. Something bit me on the ear and it is really unpleasant.


Your metaphor about the training wheels coming off hits close to home... and, you're right, renting an apartment is very, very weird. I'm just glad I don't have to do it in Russian.

p.s. Coolio's presence on the mountain was indeed absurd and epic all at once.

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