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First Week

Written on: Friday February 1st, 2008

A journal entry from: B Poccuu

Well, let's see. On Tuesday we did find out where we are placed. I'm in the middle group (of three) out of the semester students. It's definitely the perfect place for me?the grammar is at my level, and the other classes are challenging. I have phonetics (fun), word building (awesome), grammar (interesting), oral practice (the one I'm worst at) and politics. I haven't had politics yet because our teacher was sick on Tuesday. I have politics, word building and phonetics 2 times a week?the other two I have 3 times a week. All of my teachers are really nice and they are really excited about us learning Russian. I've already got about? oh, 8 text books. Oora!

This is my schedule:
9:40 ? 11:10 Fonetika / Phonetics
11:20 ? 12:50 Grammatica / Grammar
12:50 ? 1:40 Lunch
1:40 ? 3:10 Slovobrazovaniye / Word Building

9:40 ? 11:10 Razgovornaya Praktica / Oral Practice
11:20 ? 12:50 Stranovedeniye / Politics
12:50 ? 1:40 Lunch
1:40 ? 3:10 Stranovedeniye / Politics

Excursion day!

9:40 ? 11:10 Fonetika / Phonetics
11:20 ? 12:50 Grammatica / Grammar
12:50 ? 1:40 Lunch
1:40 ? 3:10 Razgovornaya Praktica / Oral Practice

9:40 ? 11:10 Slovobrazovaniye / Word Building
11:20 ? 12:50 Razgovornaya Praktica / Oral Practice
12:50 ? 1:40 Lunch
1:40 ? 3:10 Grammatica / Grammar

After class on Tuesday I went exploring with my friend Alyssa. We went up and down the street nearby school?I wanted to buy new boots. It was pretty fun. I also visited an internet café. Tuesday night I just stayed home and did homework, since I was basically exhausted.

On Wednesday we didn't have class, so a bunch of us met up at 1 to do the Crime and Punishment walking tour. It was awesome. We went through Cennaya Ploshad (the Haymarket square in the novel), down the streat that Rodya lived one (gah!), and then to where the pawnbrokers house would have been. We also passed the street that Dostoevsky lived on when he wrote it. I am such a dork.

After we finished the walk, we went to Nikolskaya Cathedral, the Mariinsky, and the synagogue (it's massive, like a cathedral). There were some really nice people in the synagogue who let us take pictures and gave us a little tour. We all want to go to services in the synagogue and to Orthodox services.

At 4:30 we met at the dorm to meet our tutors. My tutor is Katya (same name!). She's really cool. Apparently I got one of the awesome ones who isn't sketchy, so hoorah! We all ate at a pizza place (paid for by the program, excellent) and then went to the hockey game. Apparently it was the champeonship of Russian hockey. The Petersburg team (CKA) didn't win though. Very sad.

After the game I came home. I was tired, and I had to finish my homework. I did watch Lost with my family, though. I've watched it every night this week. I think it's been good for my Russian.

On Thursday I had classes. After class Kseniya and I wandered around looking for an internet café. We never found it, so we went to a different one. Ok, weird story: I ordered a «goryachi shokolad» (hot chocolate, supposedly). What did I get? Heated-up chocolate pudding. No joke. Weirdest thing I've ever eaten, and it gave me a stomach ache.

After the café, Kseniya and I wandered around for a while. We went to the grocery store, where I bought some juice (peach, mmm) and a Twix bar. I was craving something American. Afterwards we went home. I again watched lost, and did about 3 hours worth of homework. Gah.

I bought a dial up internet card as well. It's pretty useful, if slow. It took forever for me to figure out how to use it, because I can't read the Russian instructions for non-Windows XP users.

Today I had classes (surprise, right?). Afterwards, my friends and I tried to get sushi. We failed, as the restaurant was too crowded. We went to Kofe Haus instead. It was good, if a little overpriced (like Starbucks). Then we went shopping for a while. I searched for boots for days before finally finding some today. The others made my feet hurt, and they smell funny. The new ones were pretty cheap, they're sturdy and they're leather. They're also lined with fluffly warm stuff, and they're not very high. My host mom approved of them, so that means they're good. She told me she was worried I would buy bad boots. Earlier when I called her to say she didn't need to make dinner for me, she asked to speak to anyone with me who spoke Russian (I was in a different store than my friends at the time). When I got home, she told me it was because she wanted to tell them not to let me buy bad boots.

Russian women gulyat around Petersburg in 5 inch heels?they must be magic or something, because I think I would die. Some of us are planning on joining a gym, and we've been told that we'll get made fun of there for wearing tshirts?Russian women stroll on the treadmill in sparkly tube tops.

After shopping we ate at Carl's Junior, which is like McDonalds (we also have that) but better. It's really cheap, too. It was nice to have french fries, haha. Then I attempted to take a mashrytka home. Mashrytkas are like mini buses that are privately owned, and therefore go much faster. In order to truly act like a Russian, you must calmly flag one down and scan the side of it quickly or ask the driver if it is going where you want to go. If you are too slow, it will drive off. Then whenever you get to where you want to go, you have to yell «Stop, please!» It's kind of an adventure. The mashrytka I wanted never came, though, so I took the bus. I got stuck in traffic for about three million years, but I did make it home. My host mom and I listened to music and watched tv in the kitchen while I drank some chai. Oh, I almost forgot. I slipped and fell in the snow on the way home. It was going to happen eventually-I got it over with.

This weekend I'm going to udelnaya, the market right outside of town. On Sunday I'm going to the museum and grocery shopping. I've decided to pack lunches on weekdays, since the café at school is a bit pricey and I want to conserve money. I made a budget the other day, and it shouldn't be too hard to stick to, since the conversion rate is so good.

Oh, a little exciting news before I end this entry. In the last few days, Russian people have asked me for directions, asked me if a certain bus is coming to the stop we're standing at, and asked me for the time. I look like a Russian! People think I'm Russian! Hoorah!



From mom on Feb 3rd, 2008

Glad your first week has been fun - stay warm- mom

From the most spectacular sister on Feb 3rd, 2008

thinks you should update photos!! And the Patriots are winning the super bowl so far :( Its depressing. Then they had tom petty and the heartbreakers (they looked more like old farts) play at half time. Its was extremely boring. And now... I'm waiting for the game to start again after a million commercials. OOO I spent like 300 dollars shopping this weekend. I got 6 really cute tee-shirts, two tank tops, one "school-apprioate" shirt, a pair of jeans, and codorys. :) pretty exciting. And i have to shadow the highschool tomorrow. ANd I'm the only girl in the whole grrade who has to shadow a guy too. :( Anyway, don't you love extremely long comments. Muwhahahahha. Love ya like... i love volleyball... sorry I couldnt think of anything. ---hannah

From the sister who misses you most on Feb 3rd, 2008

hey wow i cant believe you look russian... haha thats great. and you falling in the snow is priceless. im glad your having fun. i made it through my first week of into the woods! it went really well. my wig for snow white kinda makes me look like one of the beatles tho but anyway... does caitlin know you have been writing cause she hasnt commented? ill let her know but anyway i miss you and love you so very much xoxo

From mom on Feb 4th, 2008

yes - Hannah did get clothes- but that is all for the spring and summer - and not $300!!!! The Giants won the superbowl. Upload pics when you get time. love

From The oldest sister on Feb 4th, 2008

Yes I know Kate has a blog I got the email!! I am so glad you are not dying in Russia!! And also having fun. I am sad that you will miss my Senior Recital, but never fear it will be recorded and you will be forced to listen to it. I tried to make cookies and the apartment and I burned them all . . . I am very angry at the oven right now. We had 3 boys from Valencia stay in Troy and play with the band, they made me think of you, and I spoke what little spanish I knew to them. Hopefully I will be picked to go there this summer and play with their band. Please stay warm and safe. I am glad you look Russian, maybe it will keep you from getting stolen!! I love you!