Loading Map...

If It's Not Broken...

Written on: Saturday April 12th, 2008

A journal entry from: B Poccuu

Hello everyone. Sorry it's been so long, but here we go!


Last week was pretty good.  I got my third discussion club out of the way, and it was a pretty good time. On Wednesday I didn't go to the Russian Museum (it's my enemy) and walked around Nevskii by myself to take pictures of all those important things like the Hermitage. The weather was super nice and sunny. I also bought three books (for four dollars!) at the used book store--
A collection of poetry by Alexander Blok
Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
A collection of Russian songs and Romances (!!)

It was awesome. I also went to the internet cafe.

On Thursday or Friday I didn't do anything terribly exciting. On Saturday I went to my friend's apartment (which is much nicer than mine, btw) to interview her host family. I also went to O'Kei (and bought a belt! hoorah!). 

On Sunday we had the Brain Run! It was amazing! First of all, the building they told us to go to (number 16) didn't exist, and it was actually in number 25. I was there from 11AM to 7PM doing the Brain half of the competition with Marina. The  Russians were really excited that they had a foreign person, but they all thought I couldn't speak Russian so the other teams gave stuff away, haha.

This is how it worked: they would send us a message on ICQ (like AIM) with a riddle/clue. Marina and I would figure it out and then call Diana and Liz, who were on the island (Kronshtadt). Oh, we didn't get to go to the island as the Brain half, but it was fun anyways. They didn't tell us that till the day before. Ok so anyway, then we would call the other half of our team, and tell them where they had to go (the answer to the clue) and they would go there and do a technical game of some kind. Then they would get a code to send to the people running it, and they would send us the next clue. It was a lot of fun, and there were like 15 different clues. They would be things like this:

A (random) Soviet leader, who headed x newspaper, wrote this in 1941 on the same day as the day of Army in the Congo. There's a street named after his son on Kronshtadt. Go there.


So yeah it was really hard, and I had to do a lot of research online in Russian, but Marina said I did a good job. Our team didn't go to the last thing, because it was 7:30 and it was on a peninsula of the island and the buses had stopped running. But guess what--- we came in third!! Out of 12 teams of Russians!!!! It was awesome! And they said we would have come in first if we had gone to the last thing. Woo!!!

On Monday I brought Liz a candy bar because she and Diana had run constantly without eating or taking a break for 9 hours on the day of the competition. Marina and Diana got us certificates and flowers too. So yeah, the Brain Run was a great experience.


On Monday I also did 6 interviews because I laid in wait for the tutors in Marina's office when they came to get their salaries. I also signed up for classes.

It randomly got cold again this week until today, so Wednesday and Thursday were really cold. On Tuesday it was still warm, so Liza and I wen't to O'Kei and I bought Across the Universe.

On Wednesday we had our oral presentations in the Literary Cemetary. It was really cold, but the presentations were good. I realized something when I was getting ready for mine--it is ridiculously easy to give presentations in English now. After speaking Russian for so long, giving a 7 minute presentation in English was like nothing. It was awesome. Everyone said they liked my little shpiel about Goncharov, too. (He's my hero, so it makes sense. What's not to love: he looked sort of like a turtle with mutton chops, wrote hillarious stories, and was bitter all the time. Oh, and he accused Turgenev of plagiarism. Lenin mentioned him too, so he's uber famous, ha.)

Hannah's presentation was really interesting, because her person (Bekhterev? I don't know how to spell it in English) actually had the balls to, when summoned by Josef Stalin to explain why he was so depressed, diagnose Stalin with PARANOIA. How awesome is that? Of course, Stalin had him killed and then purged all mention of him from Soviet history. Not paranoid at all, right?


After the presentations we all went for sushi and then I went home. On Thursday I went to the UBER American mall out on the outskirts of town, Mega. It's connected to an Ikea, and it was amazing. I think we were all in the mood for a little Americanness. I bought a couple shirts, and it was an overall fun time.

 When I got home my host mom was watching the Zenit game (soccer) and it was really fun to watch it with her. She gets really into it.


Yesterday I broadened my cultural horizons and went to the Church on Spilled Blood (the onion dome church). It was really cool inside, though everything is restored and not very old looking. They had some pictures at the end of what it used to look like, and what it looked like during Soviet times (when it was used as storage for a theater company).

Today Liza, her tutor and I went to Smolny Cathedral (the big blue one). We climbed the old bell tower and it was a greaaaat view. I'll upload some pictures later.

 Oh, I almost forgot--my host mom got her driver's license! She was way excited, and told me all about it. 


I think that's all that's happened lately. This week we're going to Pushkin/Tsarskoe Selo and the Amber Room. Sochi is in less than 2 weeks and we'll be home in 4 weeks and 3 days. Crazy.

This is our new quote of the week:

Well, if something breaks, just think to yourself, "it's Russia." Because after all, why would it work anyways? 


From Caitlin's Mom on Apr 12th, 2008

So glad you updated - we've been missing you. We're going to Troy for Senior recital next Saturday - wish Caitlin luck.