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.


Blueberry muffins right? Did they taste good anyway?

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