So, I've been living in my new apartment for 3 days now, and so far it seems that I get woken up in a new and bizarre way every day. Yesterday I woke up to the sounds of a drunken man with an amazingly loud voice shouting what from my 8th story apartment appeared to be military commands. Not the most pleasant way to wake up, but I shut the window and went back to bed.

Today was sort of creepy. The weather has been extremely unpleasant the last two days (rainy, dark, dreary, windy), and so the sky had a sort of red glow to it when my alarm went off at 7 am this morning. What I heard next sounded like a scene straight out of the movie Ночной Дозор. For those of you who haven't seen it, here's the trailer:

I couldn't find the scene that I especially wanted, which is where so many crows are circling an apartment building that they cause an airliner flying overhead to crash, but you can get the picture.

So anyway, that's what I woke up to this morning: red sky, intense racket, and swarms of birds being tossed at random by the wind.

The perpetrators:

There were so many more of them than this shot could capture. I'm hoping that they aren't a permanent feature here.

Additionally, one of my neighbors seems to have a morning ritual of coughing up every one of his (or her?) internal organs. Russia is full of strange noises.

Also, in keeping with odd events, I got to participate in my first census today. Ironically it was Russian and not English, and at first I had no idea what was going on or why on earth some pushy lady at my door wanted to know how many people lived here and why she wouldn't just go away when I said "I'm not Russian" and let me finish my nap. She also insisted on coming in and using my table before I had fully grasped that she wasn't anyone from the apartment building but was a census worker. Actually, I got to do it twice today since the first lady wasn't expecting a foreigner and didn't have the correct documents. I was sort of glad because I was quite rude at first and I wanted a chance to redeem myself. The first experience was something like this:

*loud knocking interrupts my nap resulting in instant surprise and grumpiness*
Me: *opens door hostilely*
Woman in big coat with bag, pencil, paper, and Russia scarf: Hello I'm fdrjsifgjwosjgre fdsfg will you participate in wjrewjafjeajfgea.
Me: I'm not Russian.
W: How many people live here?
M: *failing to understand why this has any relevancy at all and regretting opening the door* .....I was sleeping.....*motions to the bed as if to say "If you'll go away now I'd like to continue"*
W: So you won't participate?
M: *thinking "Who. Are. You?"* uhhh....
W: May I come in? *comes in without waiting for answer and heads toward table*...*mentions something about documents*
M: *trailing sulkily behind* You don't need my documents, the International Office at the university takes care of everything
W: Oh, no I just didn't bring the form for foreigners.
M: *finally figures out that this is a census and not an aggressive building supervisor and cooperates somewhat more willingly, but still mostly sulky about the nap*

Then someone came back later with the correct forms and made me do it all again. I tried to be extra nice because I felt guilty. She said my name was pretty, but didn't like accepting that I don't have a patronymic.

I can also start the oven now. It involves sticking a flaming newspaper torch into the front of the oven and waiting for the gas to catch fire. This is how the landlady told me to do it.

Today I also made ranch dressing from one of the ranch packets that I brought along. I used it to eat a carrot.


Your morning fog picture is fantastic!

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