Back in my university days I used to be mildly (or extremely) obsessed with this game:

It was a great way to waste a lot of time in a not particularly mentally stimulating way, but had just enough strategy that you felt a great amount of accomplishment once you beat all those pesky desk invaders. I mean really? Who likes desk invaders anyway? I know I don't. Lately though I've realized that every day I play a real-life version of Tower Defense. Actually, what I play is called Towel Defense (pretty clever, huh? I just came up with that 2 seconds ago). It is equally as stimulating, but not quite as fun because if you lose it means that the bathroom floods and you have to clean it up.

As perhaps you've guessed, this has to do with my shower. My shower is beautiful and I love it, but like most Russian appliances, it's totally inefficient. If it were a person it would be the one that you tell to "Go stand in the corner and look pretty" while adding "Dumb as a rock, God bless her." That's really what my shower does -- it stands in the corner and looks pretty. I appreciate the effort. However, here are some of my shower's negative qualities: it's bipolar, the drain is slow, and it LEAKS. Sometimes it literally decides to switch the direction that you turn the lever for hot and cold water. By that point you have to just turn it off, say something like "No, dear, you're completely confused..."....or "COME ON! I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THIS!!" and start over.

Back to Towel Defense. Here are the rules: you have 4 rags. You must position the rags in such a way as to prevent the most water from spreading. Bonus points if any of the rags stay dry. Like any good game, the level increases every day. The first shower I took there was just a little trickle, and now I'm convinced that a good quarter of the water from my shower ends up on the floor.

Well, today I got a high score.

It's a little hard to see, so let me explain what's going on here: the yellow rags have completely stopped the water, leaving one blue rag completely untouched and the other blue rag with only a damp corner. I must say, good job self!

I will go to bed a winner tonight.

Oh! I forgot to mention that I also made (accidentally) blue muffins the other day.


Over the last few weeks I've talked a little bit about my oven. You see, it's a gas oven. Initially I was pleased because it's a fairly new gas oven that has a button lighter, so no matches necessary. Unfortunately, this is Russia and that button is broken. No worries! The landlady left me two boxes of matches. What she didn't tell me at first though was how to start the oven. A few days later she came back with some various items (a rug, silverware, light bulb, pan) and I asked her about it. Yesterday I decided to document the process.

Here's how it works: you rip up a bit of newspaper and make it into a little torch. Then you light a match, light the newspaper, turn on the gas, wait until it catches fire, and then put out the newspaper real fast. This is the exact method that my landlady taught me. In this video I do it masterfully -- no large newspaper flames, my newspaper torch doesn't go out, and the oven stays lit on the first try. Usually this process gets repeated 1-4 times.

That may potentially be the most boring video ever, but at least you can also get a feel for the scale of my kitchen. It's quite tiny.

Other updates:
I bought boots. I'm generally a "no heel" type of person, so naturally I went out and bought boots with 3" heels on them. To be fair I did look at hundreds of pairs of boots and my search had been going on for about 3 weeks. I really liked this pair, so I decided that perhaps my love for my boots would overpower the ache in my feet and maybe in time my feet might even come to appreciate them too. I also feel really Russian, which is pleasing.

I also finally got around to buying a sweater dress. Let me give you some history: Kendra and I have been ogling sweater dresses for the past year or two, but have always been too cheap and too picky to give in to our desires. Sweater dresses are amazing because they are big stylish sweaters. As we all know, sweaters are just one big bundle of warm soft wearable goodness, which is why they are so fantastic. However, sometimes you want to wear a sweater and look sexy too. Or, alternatively, you want to wear a sweater, but don't want to wear pants. Well, that's where a sweater dress comes in! So anyway, the other day I decided that I was finally going to find one, and I did! I think it looks pretty good:

Who knew that my full-length mirror would be so good for taking pictures of myself? It brings out the narcissist in me. New clothes don't help.

In other news the rest of the world (a.k.a. America) is finally catching back up to Russia in regards to the time change. Daylight savings ended here last week, so instead of being 9-12 hours ahead, for a week I was only 8-11 hours ahead. You'd think that it would have helped when it came to talking to friends from home, but in reality it only seemed to complicate matters.

I also bought tickets home for winter break. I've only been here for 2 months (and I still have 1.5 months to go before I'm home), but it feels like a really long time! I think that these first 2 months will have been the hardest of my stay here. When you're bombarded with so much new information all at once it has the habit of slowing time down and wearing you out extensively. Now that I'm starting to get more settled and build up a routine I think that time will start to make sense again. Either way though it will be great to be home and see people. I've found that the strangest things are making me homesick. Primarily idling cars. Every time that I walk through a parking lot and I see a car waiting it makes me think about being home and either having my own car or having someone that I know waiting for me. There's just something secure about having a ride. Unfortunately, while I'm here I'm banished to public transportation and walking. The weather has also been reminding me a lot of Sewanee. I sort of miss those long walks from Quintard to campus. I don't necessarily miss being a student, but I do miss the suite and all the fun times that we had. I even miss McClurg a little bit (mostly because now I have to wash my own dishes). I'm missing a lot of things right now.

However, I'm also starting to feel comfortable here. I've decided though that I need to focus more on building friendships here. Lately I've just been using the internet as a crutch. I get up, I go to work, then I come home and get online and hope to talk to people. I should probably stop doing that as much. The time difference means that I'm just wasting a lot of my time. We'll see if I actually end up changing anything, but it's a good notion. I'm at least realizing that I SHOULD change my habits....I'm just lazy sometimes.

Also -- it's 3:55 and the sun is setting. It's going to be a long winter.

About this blog

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