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On the Plane

Written on: Tuesday January 22nd, 2008

A journal entry from: B Poccuu

(Note: I wrote this on my computer, and I am posting at a later date.)


So I?m sitting on the plane to DC. I?ll be posting this later; in case you?re wondering, no I am not accessing the internet from the plane. I finally managed to get my luggage to weigh less than 50 pounds, although I did end up bringing 2 suitcases, 1 carry on and a computer bag. I suppose that?s not so bad for 4 months, but I was aiming for 1 suitcase.

It was kind of weird to leave. I don?t think it?s set in quite yet that I?m going. I feel like I?ll be driving home tonight or something. I don?t think I forgot anything, but it?s too late to wonder about that. I feel like I have enough with me to supply a small army.

I started getting scared on Saturday. I am about to leave the country for 1/3 of the year. I am about to have to survive speaking Russian? that?s a little worrisome. I?m a little preoccupied with my project, too, wondering how these interviews are going to go. Well, my plan is to just jump in and try to interview my host mom in the first week, in order to get some practice and get myself going. If I put it off it will seem harder and harder, and I?ll be less inclined to actually try. I know myself well enough to know that I am an expert procrastinator.

It?s weird to finally be leaving. I?ve wanted to do this for as long as I can remember. Russia hasn?t been the destination in my mind for all that time (until about a year ago I wanted to go to Spain), but I?m still going abroad for a semester. It just feels very strange.

I?m wondering what sort of culture shock I?m going to experience. I know I like Russian food (maybe not the more adventurous kinds, as I avoid pickled things), and I can at least function language-wise (I hope, anyways). I know that once I get there things that seemed silly or inconspicuous will be the biggest issues. I?ll regret bringing some of the stuff in my 100 lbs worth of luggage, and wish that I had brought items that seemed useless at the time. Like duct tape. I really should have brought duct tape.

I won?t lie, I?m used to having life be somewhat easy for me. Laundry is easy, getting food is easy, communicating is easy, getting around is easy, shopping is easy. I don?t have to worry about public transportation here. Drinking water from the tap is not an issue. I know that once I arrive, things that I don?t even think about anymore, that have become reflex, will become frustratingly difficult. Not having a dryer, for example, or being unable to brush my teeth with water from the tap. Having to navigate a foreign metro system (thankfully less complicated than the one in Spain, at least) and having to express myself in a language that I consider myself to speak at a mediocre level (at best). (Maybe my language skills are better than that, maybe they?re not. I know that I have a talent for languages, but I still get tongue-tied and freeze up.)

I?ve promised myself that I will avoid speaking in English whenever possible, and that I will throw myself into this experience. I hope to improve my ability to communicate orally, to at least feel comfortable with motion verbs (damn them) and to increase my vocabulary. I want to challenge myself constantly, by visiting new parts of the city and meeting new people. I?m glad that I?ve chosen this interview project, because it will force me to try to meet Russian people.

It?s really my fault for not going to Spain. It would have been easy for me, since I?ve had Spanish for about 14 years. I don?t find Spanish particularly difficult, and it?s not hard to communicate. I think that?s why I like Russian better, though. I can?t let myself choose the easy option. Spain would not have been enough of a challenge. I?m far too much of a nerd for that. (I also get really bored with Spanish, and Russian is never boring.) It was hard enough to let myself drop from a double major in Spanish to a minor. I am a massive dork.

I always feel really awkward on planes. I feel like I?m too close to the person next to me, and I never finish my drink in time for the lady to take it when she comes back around. This leaves me with a surprisingly large amount of trash chillin? in my seat with me. I also can?t sleep on planes, which is massively annoying.

Alright, we?re landing soon. I?ll write again before I leave on Thursday. ?