so even though i didn't have class on wednesday i've been keeping pretty busy. zoya gave us a ton of HW on tues. night so that took forever to do. on wednesday, since aleksandr is on vacation..somewhere, we went to ostankino tv tower instead of our normal lecture. it was nice because i got to sleep in for a couple more hours, and then we met at VDNKh, which is a neighborhood on the outskirts of the northeastern end of moscow. it's a really nice
area, a lot nicer than vykhino sadly. the walk to the tower was far but it was nice seeing a different suburban neighborhood for a change, as opposed to downtown. VDNKh had its own monorail, which is unfortunately lacking in vykhino, and it was just nicer in general. we got to the tower and were a little early so we walked around a bit. and ok let me just say that the security at this thing was ridiculous. compared to prague's tv tower, i had to give them my passport, student id, and then they had to make us actual plastic id cards just for a tour. i also
had to check my backpack and was mostly stripped of all my worldly possessions. and then finally we had to go through 2 separate security checkpoints and metal detectors. but overall it was worth it, the views from the tower were pretty incredible, you could see the kremlin, arbat, the new moscow financial center, and um, lots of nuclear power plants. it was funny because the tour was in russian, and they made us watch a video beforehand about what to do in case of an emergency. obviously we didn't understand it, but they used hilarious photos and examples
which included people in gas masks. and that's all i'll say about that. but Lena was with us and she eventually got the lady tourguide to give us a private tour from the observation deck and lena translated. so yeah we were there for about 3 hours or so. it was fun though. afterwards kathryn, katya, alyssa and i found a park and walked around, got ice cream, etc etc. we found a small children's amusement park that was kind of decrepit but apparently still in use. pity the children.
oh and i forgot, svetlana's daughter Lyena was over the apartment the other night when i got home, and she speaks some english, so i was thrilled because she translated some semi-pressing issues to svetlana for me, such as laundry. turned out i was correct in what i had thought svetlana told me, but i just wanted to make sure. we watched the end of a movie which, from what i gathered, had something to do with a man who could see the future and um, yeah. that's it. lyena is nice though so i hope she comes over again. she said she likes to practice her english so who knows.
hmm let's see. thursday i had class again and it was zoya's birthday so we got her flowers and chocolates. she was happy, i think haha. it's also a russian tradition to give other people candy or small crap on your birthday so she bought some french truffles for us. mmmmm. lunch was gross as usual (lately they have been serving terrible things such as kicel' which is a drink that has a consistency halfway between juice and jello).
anyway the boat tour of downtown was after lunch so i went with katya and alyssa. it was pretty cool, we passed by the kremlin, sparrow hills, red oktober chocolate factory, gorkii park and stuff like that. i bought a czech beer on the boat which i had had when i was in prague, but the bottle turned out to be huge (i had no idea i swear) so by the end of the ride i was a little blehh. it was fun though.
i don't really have plans for this weekend yet, besides sunday we're going to the moscow conservatory for some kind of organ concert. nobody really ever gives us information prior to excursions so they always seem to be somewhat of a surprise, haha. russians don't really like to plan too far ahead. some of us also might be going out on friday night with someone we met on the boat tour, not sure about that yet though. we haven't really done much nightlife stuff yet because we've still been figuring out how everything will work and stuff.
but yeah i think i have been getting more confident in ordering things in russian and just making small conversation with people wherever. the other day i went into the elevator with someone and they asked me which floor and i understood and [promptly] responded haha, so i was proud of myself. but yeah umm i guess that's it for now, but hopefully next time i will probably talk about the conservatory trip and any possible nightclub trips from this upcoming weekend. which i am highly looking forward to haha.