Thursday, September 3, 2009

the calm before the cold

so they are telling us that right now, moscow is having its "indian summer", since it's really not all that cold right now. it's definitely a lot cooler than home, but i guess the temperature has been around 65 as an average since i got here. it's still hot during the middle of the day though. but everyone is saying that in a week or two, it's going to get a lot colder and wetter quickly, so i'm probably going to need to go buy a warmer coat, or something.

anyway, i guess it's been a while since my last update. i'm trying to post as often as possible but my internetsituation has still not improved, and my choices are either the dorms, which involves lugging my computer to classand most likely around the city for the rest of the day...or mcdonalds. so yeah neither is really convenient. i don't have any terrible, immediate need for my computer, but it'd be nice to check stuff for a couple minutes each
day without having to keep it in my bag until that night. hopefully soon i will find a better solution.

classes started this week. on monday we had a kind of orientation day which was fun because we didn't really haveto do much, haha. we met alexander rouchkin, who is the head of Grint, and we took our placement tests. they divided the 10 of us into 3 classes, and i'm in the middle level class. on tuesday was my first russian class, which lasts for about 3.5 hours. so needless to say i'm pretty much exhausted once it's over. unlike at home, though, i still have to spend the rest of my day attempting to speak russian, haha. so it really never ends :P

on wednesday we had our english lecture, which is supposed to be about the "political and economic geography of russia and its former states". the guy who teaches it is really, really, really pro-russia and tries his best to give an unbiased viewpoint, but usually fails haha. btw he doesn't like poland at all for some reason. but he seems like a really nice guy, and we only have it once a week on wednesdays except next wednesday because apparently he is on vacation. also presumably we have no homework for this class, and from what i have gathered, one test at the end. sounds like my kind of class, haha.

so aside from school, we've also been doing the touristy things, which is partly why i'm so exhausted and have been going to bed at like 10 (crazy, i know) lately. we've been to red square, of course. i was actually there by myself one night last week, but only stayed for a little while since it was getting dark and i didn't want svetlana to worry, haha. but it's funny because even though i've seen so many pictures from so many angles of the square, to be honest, the layout of it is nothing like what i expected. i'm not even sure why, really. but yeah, the square is beautiful, with GUM, the kremlin, and st. basil's on 3 sides, and at night with all the lights it's
even more amazing. it's amazing to think of all the history you are literally standing on there. st basil's is also a lot smaller than i expected. i guess it's all perspective, though.

other than red square, today i went on another walking tour with one of the directors from sras, and we started outside tretyakovskaya gallery, continued down towards luzhkov bridge where all of the trees with the padlocks from just married couples are, and then we crossed the moskva with a great view of the kremlin and red square, and then finally finished by going past okhotny ryad (hunter's row, the underground mall), bolshoi theater (which is regrettably closed until 2013...or later) and the first mcdonalds in russia.

so that's what i've been up to this week so far. i've been really tired lately but i think it's still just a little of the jetlag combined with all of the sightseeing, so that will hopefully go away soon, especially once i get into a regular schedule. my next plans are for saturday night, because sunday is moscow day (every russian city has a city day) and so there are a bunch of celebrations planned for this weekend. on sat. night we're going to red square where they have been setting up this week for a huge festival type thing. there's supposed to be
bands (we actually saw a HUGE marching band practicing while we were there the other day) and fireworks and all that kind of fun stuff. so i guess i'll talk about that next time! haha.

so this has gone on really long again so i'll cut it here. hopefully they won't ALL be this long, i'm trying to update as often as possible. next time i think i'll devote a small part of my post to some observations i've made since i've been here, because there are some things that are just so laughably odd that they need to be mentioned.

anyway, wishing everyone well! do svidaniya!


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