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S Lyogkim Parom/Have a Good Steam!

Written on: Monday March 3rd, 2008

A journal entry from: B Poccuu

Hey everyone. This is actually one of three entries that I just put up, so you can go back two pages and read even more about my life.

We got back really late from Pskov on Monday, and then I had to do homework. On Tuesday we had our meeting as usual, and then Matvei, Kseniya, Ali and I went to the Mariinsky, but more on that in a second.

After the meeting we went to eat at Carl's Jr. with a bunch of people, and I went to buy new shoes. They're flat and comfortable and pretty. I wore my heels all around Pskov and kind of wanted to kill myself, but now it's better.

The Mariinsky was AMAZING. We saw a «collection of the best ballet moments» from basically every awesome ballet that you can imagine. The theatre is absolutely beautiful on the inside, and we were in a little box under the Tzar's old box. The dancing was amazing, and my friends kept making fun of me for getting caught up in it and gasping all the time. Hey, I didn't take ballet for 15 years for nothing. We also got away with getting the Russian student prices, muahaha.

On Wednesday we had an excursion and no class, so I met with Ali around noon to go over Fonetika. That class is so stupid?the only reason that I know what's going on is because I took linguistics last semseter. I don't see how they can expect us to know what «assimilation» and «vocalization» are in that kind of setting. Anyways, after that I went and bought some plastic shoes, and Ali and I met up with Marina to take our phones to get fixed. Marina was really awesome and helpful?she took us to the service place and put everything under her name. When our phones were ready she even brought them back to us.

After that we went to the?. Banya! And it was amazing! Ok, I'll explain the whole process to you all. First of all, everyone is naked. It's slightly weird at first, but you get over it quickly. This is mostly because the first thing you do is sit in this ridiculously hot room that feels like maybe it's slightly hotter than hell. After steaming for a while (you even have to leave a hat on while you do this?gah!), you rinse off and then jump in a pool that is the temperature of the coldest river water. You all know what I mean. It's so so so so so cold. Then, you gather up your birch twigs that have been soaking in water and re-enter the room of hellfire in order to climb on top of this wooden platform, where it is so hot that it is hard to breath, and beat each other with birch sticks. This sounds odd, but it was surprisingly refreshing. It's also good for your skin. Then, after the beatings, you go back out of the hot room and douse yourself in the pool of ice once more. You do this whole process one more time (for a total of 3, 4 if you're really into it) before taking a shower. It sounds ridiculous and weird, but you feel so incredibly amazing afterwards. When we met downstairs and found the guys (separate banyas), everyone looked amazing and we all felt like we had just swam a mile. I was ready to eat a horse.

So in all, I really love the banya. I'm going back this Wednesday with some of my friends?we're going to a different one that has a pool for swimming in (with bathing suits). It should be fun.

On Thursday I had my Fonetika once-a-month exam, where I have to perfectly read a selected text, know what it means and mark it with accents and such. I chose something from Garri Potter, which was fun. She immediately cut me off, however, and said, «Katya, you can pronounce everything correctly and your fonetic markings are perfect. So we're going to move on and work on intonation (which we haven't done yet). I will now spend the next 20 minutes yelling at you about that.» Or something to that effect. Bleh.

After school on Thursday I went to the Hermitage (finally!) with my tutor. It was really fun. We sort of did a speed tour, and I don't necessarily remember everything that I saw, but I can't wait to go back. I also went to Angliya, this English book store on the Fontanka Canal, and bought a book to read and some magazines.

On Friday we had our Valentine's Day celebration at school. Every class had to perform something?ours did a song and we choreographed a little dance to it, it was fun. Some of the other groups did some pretty hillarious skits (both Matvei and Andrei dressed up as girls, which was hillarious.)

After the celebration we got coffee, and then that night we hung out with the marines. They're a pretty fun bunch, and they have a car they don't mind driving you around in. We also went to KFC, where they have ACTUAL REAL BARBECUE SAUCE. It was pretty mind-blowing.

On Saturday I felt like relaxing, so I didn't do much of anything till I met my friends at CitiBar that night?they have free wifi and amazing grenki there. Grenki is this delicious substance made of fried bread, garlic and melted cheese. Mmmmmm.

On Sunday I did nothing. I slept late, ate and did homework. Oh, I did go to vote with my host mom, which was cool. The Russian voting system is a little behind the times?you still have to put a check mark on a piece of paper and then put that paper in a box. It seems impractical to me to have to count all those ballots in such a large country, but hey. Whatever. Everyone knows Medvedev's going to win anyways.

Today I had classes. After class we went to try to find a dance studio again, and once again we failed. Dom 20 on Gorokhovaya doesn't exist. So there. We also went shopping, and I bought a bag that won't kill my shoulder so I can use more than one all the time. I finished all my homework early and now I've been doing this for a while, after talking to Mike on the phone. Dinner was weird tonight, but then that's not particularly out of the norm here.

Tomorrow we're getting blini (Russian pancakes, only better) after school to celebrate Maslenitsa (the Orthodox equivalent of Mardi Gras), and then we're going to the Philharmonic on an excursion. It should be fun. I'll update this more often, I just have been rather busy lately.



From Kelsie on Mar 3rd, 2008

Yes, I replying to all of your blogs haha. That stinks that you can't find the dance studio. I wish I had more money to take dance :( That's funny that dinner is always weird though. Can't wait to read your next blog!

From Jakobine on Mar 4th, 2008

Hey, sounds like you're having a really good time all together :)