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Monthly Archives: July 2011

…for Russia!

While I am anxiously waiting for my letter of invitation,  I can’t help but think of all the delicious food items and customs that I get to consume (read: gorge on) and live with for the next ten months.

The fierce and unrelenting babushka made the list

What I can’t wait for in Russia

  • Pastries that cost a dollar — Great for my taste buds, destructive for my figure. And cholesterol.
  • Public Transportation — I have a personal love/hate relationship with marshrutki, those wild route taxis driven by even wilder Central Asian men. 
  • Babushki — Russia’s live GPS system. Also known for their fierce temperaments, aversion to the cold and drunks, and purple-colored hair.
  • Being an American in Russia — Being an American in America isn’t nearly as exciting as being an American in Russia, where you are instantly elevated to celebrity status.
  • The Putin/Medvedev throwdown in March 2012 — I read from some very reputable news sources (tabloids) that Paul the Octopus, the World Cup’s prophet cephalopod, predicted who would win the Russian presidential election. He only chose between Putin and Medvedev, and while Zyuganov is going to be in the ring (I think), let’s be honest — there is really only one choice two choices. It’ll be exciting to be in Russia during this battle of epic proportions.*
  • Traveling – I haven’t even been outside of the Moscow time zone yet! There are nine more time zones to see!

What I’ll miss about the good USA

  •  Being a minority and it being okay — Last time I was in Russia, I was groped an absurd amount (walking to school, walking home from school, on the bus, on the metro, on the street…), much more than my White compatriots, and I chalk that up to being Asian. From my personal experience, if you’re not white, then you’re subhuman. 
  • Convenience –everything is just so much easier in America. 
  • Cars — I’m a product of America. Cars go in hand with convenience. 
  • Personal space — The word for privacy does not translate into Russian. For example, if you are standing in line, and there is a hair’s width of space between you and the person in front of you, then you are not considered to be in line. 

All things considered, I can’t wait to go back. I can bear not having America’s conveniences for ten months in exchange for the adventure and the excitement of being in the Wild, Wild East.

*I’m not exactly sure who is going to be running in the Presidential elections. I’m assuming that it will be Putin and Medvedev, but both have been mum so far.

With the Pre-departure Orientation over, the long, slightly unbearable wait begins. And with absolutely nothing to do (hats off to you, slow-recovering economy!), that means that the month-plus until my departure will be filled with lesson planning, getting my visa, research question developing, rereading US history, and, most likely, a whole lot of worrying.

At orientation, I realized a couple of things: I don’t know how to teach and I don’t really know English. And while the crash course in English teaching/entertaining young Russian college students was very helpful, I don’t have the slightest clue on how to explain participles, verbs, gerunds (what are those, anyway?) or any of the intricacies of English grammar. While we are technically English teaching Assistants, the kinds of classes that we teach are ultimately up to the university.

Last time around before I was heading off to St. Petersburg, I was worried about not liking Russia. Now, I’m anxious about Russia not liking me. As a teacher, that is.

Oh boy.

But that’s part of the adventure, right?

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