Saturday, September 29, 2012


So as usual I failed miserably to keep up with the blog, but I think this week I had a pretty valid excuse.  This week I tried to withdraw extra money (I use my ATM card for money here) but for some reason it didn't work.  This was, understandably in my opinion, quite a crisis, since not only did I not have money to pay for my metro card (I can't really get anywhere without using the metro), I had no money for things like food and no way with which I could get that money.  Unfortunately, I first noticed the problem around mid-day, which meant that back home where my bank is, it was four o'clock in the morning, giving me plenty of time to think up any number of horrible explanations as to why my card didn't work.  Rather than simply assuming that it was a simple mix up, I thought it was because perhaps my card was physically broken, my account had been hijacked and all my money withdrawn, and any other number of horrifying explanations. None too surprisingly, it was a simple mix-up.  Even though I had informed my bank that I was going to be in Russia through the month of May, they put a block on my account.  Luckily, though not without many hours of worrying, the problem has been resolved and I am back on my merry way.
A picture from the canal tour I went on (can't have a blog post without a picture!)
In this post I figured I would talk about my daily life a little bit and some about the area I live in, since both topics haven gotten the shaft in my futile attempts to cover everything big that is going on in my life here.  For the most part, my life here is pretty routine.  My commute to the university is about 50 minutes or so, so I'm up pretty early each day to be there by the time class starts at nine.  For the most part, classes are pretty standard, we have a class each morning in small groups of five people and then have a second period of class each day with everyone on the program (20 people) about things like literature, writing, or reading comprehension.  We all then take one direct enrollment class at the University.  The class I'm in, along with two of my friends, is called "National Security and Safety" and is all kinds of ridiculous.  The three of arrive on the first day of class to find a completely empty classroom (we were pretty early) so we all went in and sat down in the back of the class.  The class is at a pretty high level so we figured we wouldn't understand a lot of it, and since we are technically only auditing the class, we figured it would be best to be in the back of the room, an "out of sight out of mind" type deal.  As we are sitting there, a number of seemingly random students come in and ask if we have class in that room.  We of course answer yes, after which the students all seemed to get confused and leave.  As it turns out, they were all taking the class too, but since they didn't recognize us, they thought they had the wrong room.  The class has since been a series of such shenanigans.  For example, our real professor has yet to show to the class.  Instead, we have a substitute professor, who in my opinion cannot be more than fifteen years old.  I only know him as the tin man, because of the shiny suit he changed into before last week's class.  He actually showed up to class in a different outfit, but (this is only a theory) after seeing some of the girls in our class (some of whom are very attractive) he left for a a solid five or ten minutes, returning in a disturbingly metallic silver suit, in what could only be an attempt to impress his female students.  This week, he wore a black velvet suit (it looked like a leisure shirt), or as I called it, the "Grim Reaper at Home" look.  He also seems to hate America.  While I freely admit I miss a lot of what is being said in class, most of the parts I do understand are devoted to explaining why America is the source of all the world's ills.  Over the past month I have learned that the United States secretly supports all of Russia's competitors in global politics (China, India, etc.), that we are trying to take over Libya in an imperialist war, and something about using Star Wars (the Strategic Defense Initiative, not the movie) to attack countries with lasers.
My life at home is pretty quiet.  I spend a lot of my time doing homework.  When I'm not doing homework however I spend a lot of time with my host parents.  Most of the time, Natalia Evgenievna and I watch TV.  Russian TV is really bizarre, there are a lot of spinoffs of bad American TV shows and then some stuff that is just completely strange. By far the strangest, and most entertaining, show is one called "Давай Поженимся," which translates as "Let's get Married."  The show is a really bizarre form of a dating show, where one contestant meets three potential significant others.  The show is really ridiculous because it is presided over by a panel of "experts" who are all older women, who pass judgement on the potential candidates.  They have judges who are tarot card readers, zodiac experts, etc. who all do their various things on camera.  Then everyone seems to have friends or advisors with them whose sole purpose seems to talk over everyone else and confuse me. 
I'm going to wrap things up for now, seeing as I have already spent an unseemly amount of time writing this post, hopefully I'll write some more tomorrow!

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