Friday, July 27, 2007

Defeated

A few days ago I finally admitted defeat. There is no way I am going to see everything and do everything I want to do in the little time I have. It just means I'll have to come back to St. Petersburg one day. You might be thinking to yourself, "then why is Rie wasting her time and using the internet?" I have a final tomorrow for which I have to do research anyway. Yes, I have to do research...part of my final is a report on Кижи. I don't remember anything about Кижи.

Today we went to the Kunst Kammera. (I'm not really sure how it's spelled in either language). Inside is supposedly the eighth wonder of the world...which world I'm not quite sure. (Maybe it was a joke that was 5 foot 7). Anyway, it's a huge globe. And it was cool. If you've heard of Kunst Kammera...yes it does house things that ought not to be shown on display. This was actually my second visit to Russia's first museum, so I didn't spend much time in the "Chamber of Curriosities."

I can't think of much else to say. I don't feel ready to come home, but everyone else is so maybe there's something wrong with me. I am excited to see my family again. I'm not ready for school to start, but I still have a month left. Russia, I won't forget you.

Monday, July 23, 2007

POST 100

I don't know. Everyone else makes a big deal when they get to 100. It's probably not a real count though because I've deleted a few along the way and...well... maybe it's accurate according to today and that's all that matters.

Okay, my favorite place so far has been Псков (Pskov). It was beautiful. We drove up Thursday and had a bus tour of the city. Friday we went to the Puskinskie gory. Ha ha, I think the real translation is Pushkin's hills or something like that. It was funny, though, to see gory written on the sign. Anyway, I hope no one ever felt bad for Pushkin for being exiled. Man, he had the life! He was exiled at one point to his parent's estate. It was beautiful. There was so much open air all around. His exile is what most people imagine for a dacha. (None of us Americans have been to a Russian dacha yet). Anyway, we got home late and decided to walk around the city.

Harry Potter came to Russia on the 19th. Friday was the 20th. A group of us was just walking around when one piped up, "That's a theater. Anyone want to see Harry Potter?" Yes! So I totally saw Harry Potter is Псков. My life is complete.

Saturday we had to wear skirts because we went to a monastery. We got to go underground to see someone's tomb...I wasn't really paying attention. I was more excited at the fact that our only lights were the candles we were carrying...the type most people use as something for the icons...yeah, I'm not orthodox. I don't really know what I'm talking about. Anyway, it was cool. My light never went out. I'm special.

Then we came home really night. I'm a little upset they let some people of at a metro stop and I should have gotten off at that point too because the metro is much faster than the bus and I have the farthest to travel. They weren't letting other people off because the bus was going to the island where everyone else lives, but I think they forgot about me and my roommate.

Scary Story Time:
So, we get on the metro and change lines where necessary. We're standing to get onto a metro cars and I notice a guy drinking...what? I don't know or care. He walks around a bit and stands behind Luda. I'm a little nervous, but he hasn't done anything and Luda doesn't seem to care. We walk on the metro and surprisingly I'm able to get a seat. At the next stop the seat next to me opens up and Luda sits next to me. Then I notice that the guy is sitting accross from me to the left. I hope none of you are scared as of yet because the only thing surprising thus far is that I've actually noticed this guy from the beginning. Usually I'm in another world. Oh, and I'm still really annoyed because I'm thinking to myself I could be home right. The time is really close to 11pm.

All of a sudden I notice this guy is starring at me. He's not just looking though, he's leaning forward starring all the way. I match his gaze because the last thing I want is to look like a docile little girl who can't hold her own. He winks. This wasn't a, "Hey you're looking good let's go somewhere" type of wink. This was a "I'm going to kill you and your little dog too" kind of wink. (Oh wait, my dog's already dead). My eye starts watering so I blink. He gives me a "what the heck does that mean" look and winks again. I can't take any more of this, so I look away. He spits on the metro! I don't like this guy.

We get to a stop that is not mine and I grab Luda and pull her off the metro. The guy sitting next to my new friend was laughing, so Luda thought it had all been a joke. She's smiling thinking I was just being paranoid. I'm reassuring myself that it's better to be paranoid than stupid. I had actually wanted to get off the metro right before the doors closed so he couldn't follow us. The problem was I was in a bit of a panic, so I got off way too early. But guess who did get off the metro right as the doors were closing? Yes, my winking friend. He went accross to the opposing platform. I don't know how, but it seems he lost sight of us and was looking for us in wrong place. We waited for the next metro and got home in safety.

On another note: no one in our group has successfully purchased Harry Potter. It makes no difference to me because I plan on reading it in the states. Still, I feel bad for them. Vlad was trying to tell me that if I wait to read it in the states, everyone's going to tell me the ending before I read it. Well, you do you die. I'm Russian now and I know how to fight like on...okay maybe the previous story negates that.

I have only one week left. Many people say they are ready to go home. I guess it's time to start getting ready. Our program is cramming a lot in this room. Normal weeks we have one excursion. This week we have four planned. Oi! We'll see if I come back in one piece.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Giselle

So, a while back Chelita got after me because I did not have the intention of going to a ballet. Apparently there's a rule somewhere that says you can not come to St. Petersburg without seeing a ballet. Me? I just didn't want to go to the kacca. Pitiful reason, I know.

I have not been to institute yet. I really wanted to go; but I keep forgetting. And plus, it starts at 7:30, which means if I go I won't get home until late. Then there's always the question if I want to go home and eat beforehand or wait until afterwards and then eat really late. (Bear in mind it takes me an hour to get home and an hour to come back).

Yesterday I was going to go to institute and no one, not anyone in the entire universe could stop me. Then Stephanie calls Megan who is eating luch with me and asks if we want to go to a ballet. No! How much? FREE! How often will I get to go to a ballet for free, in the first theater built in St. Petersburg? When will I ever get a chance to go to institute in Russia? Next week-but that's it. Okay, I'll go to the ballet.

Why, you may ask, do I get to go to a free ballet in the Hermitage? Because for two hours I sat at a desk and told people to go to the information booth if they needed information and I told others not to go out the entrance. Actually, what I said was "Exit that way" in Russian. That's all I've done for the Hermitage, but I have a badge and that means power.

Example...also yesterday...a few of us decided we wanted to see Dostoevsky's tombstone. It costs money to enter the cemetary. We showed our badges and got free tickets. Then, Igor Sergeiovich, who does not volunteer at the Hermitage because he volunteers at a hospital and actually does stuff for them, told the nice kind lady that he wasn't really one of us and that he was going to buy his ticket. She refused to let him.

This same guy is the guy who didn't bring enough money to get into Peterhoff after the hydrofoil. In Russia, there's a foreign price and a Russian price. We usually get the student Russian price because we have Russian Student Cards. However, the lady at the kacca charged us all the foreign student price. Igor Sergeiovich goes to another lady and says in Russian that he's not getting his discount. The lady looks at his card and says that it's stamped with some special stamp and he gets in for free. We all paid 150 rubles, but he got in for free.

Umm, getting back to topic: Giselle is the name of the ballet I saw. Afterwards there were some Australian ladies taking pictures. I didn't really think much of it until the guy behind me asked me if I knew why they were taking pictures in that seat. No. Why? Because Queen Catherine always sat in that seat: second row, left side, aisle seat. I think he meant Catherine the Great, but I don't remember exactly what he said. Anyway, afterward I wanted a photo of my own, which may or may not ever end up here. Point: I KNOW that I have sat where royalty has sat.

Tomorrow I'm going to Pskov. Then we'll have a week left. I feel like I've wasted an abnormal amount of time on the internet lately.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Help! I've Lost My Roommate!

Okay, Saturday we decided to go to Peterhoff. We went as a group of friends...as in this was not a planned excursion. However, we went as a large group of friends, incorporating almost all of us. As what normally happens, we split into our smaller groups because it's hard to get around in mass of 15 people...especially when it's a holiday for the attraction you're visiting. Anyway, we get closer to the end and most of the groups join together...not all mind you. All of a sudden, someone says, "Where did Ludah go?" Thinking maybe she got left behind, Nadya, Alyona, and myself stop and wait. However, our stopping and waiting was pretty pointless because if she had gotten left behind somewhere, it would have been a while back. Thus, she really wouldn't have known to go where we were waiting. So, eventually we went to the exit. We waited there a while, then decided we were tired, and then went home.

I then called Vlad who said the only ones missing when his group left were me, Nadya, Alyona, and Luda. Good ol' Luda, we left her all alone in Peterhoff. Don't worry. Russia has a saying. Язык до Кива доведёт.It basically means that if you can speak the language, you can go anywhere. Luda found her way home. And I'm having a mental blank and can't remember how to spell Kiev in Russian.

I always think of more things to say after I get off the internet. Oh well. Time is flying by so quickly. I won't have much free time and I guarantee you I won't be able to make it to Finland. I think we got gibt of our free time because we went on a cruise. Oh well.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Новгород

Okay, Wednesday our group went to Novgorod for a day. Our trip wasn't that interesting because we spent most of our time on the bus driving to and from Novgorod. Lena, our designated tour guide, told us the legend about how Novgorod was founded. Mind you, she only speaks Russian, so if my story is wrong, sorry?

There were two brothers. One was Russian, one was Slovenian (this is possibly the first place where I misunderstood due to a language barrier). They wanted to found a city where there were no people already living. They came to a point where they couldn't walk anymore and were tired. On put his stick in the ground and an oasis sprung up. They realized that there were no people here, so they decided to found the city.

Later an epidemic broke out, and all the people in the city had to move. So they came to a new city. (Novgorod means "New City"). Years passed and one brother decided to go back to the old city. Thus, there you go. Staraya Rus is what the old city is called. I'm actually not sure what it is in English, how it's spelled in Russia, or anything about the old city. So don't hate me.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Another Catch Up

Okay, there's been a lot of things on my mind latley. Firstly, let me tell you about the 4th of July in Russia. We wanted to attend the party at the embassy. So, Igor called the embassy on the 3rd I think it was. He was told to call back on the 5th. "The fifth? But that's after the 4th?" The party was actually scheduled for the 6th, the day we left Moscow. I bet we probably still could have gone for a bit, but no one called back on the 5th.

So, instead we decided to go to TGI Fridays (Т Ж И Фрайдис). We looked it up in the phone book. Apparently there were 7 in Moscow. Finding one was an adventure. We all became emothional (in a bad way) and people blew up at each other. Then we all...not all at once though...sat down at ate dinner together. It was exactly the most amazing 4th of July I've ever experienced. Some people started singing "America the Beautiful" in the restaurant, just in case anyone doubted our origins. That was actually was kind of fun. Then we went around the circle and said why we were grateful to be American. The table was so long that we had translaters in the middle (you know...translating the inaudible silence that seemed to be coming from people's mouths from far away). We tried not to turn it into a Russian bash, but that was all we had to compare it to.

Have I mentioned at all that I volunteer at the Hermitage? Probably not because we actually just got started. Now if you're wondering why I would volunteer at the Hermitage, I'm right with you. I hardly like to spend my time with a bunch of naked pictures and stuff. My reason= the classic "everyone was doing it." I didn't want to be alone okay! Anyway, that's where I'm going after I get done with the internet. It actually was pretty cool because I got to see their gold collection. And now I can go in any time I want. (Because, you know, I can't get enough of these museums that are on every corner). And now I have to think of a title for this post. Hmm.

Oh...and I also wanted to mention cold showers. In St Petersburg they turn off the hot water for about three weeks. They do different areas at different times. I think everyone else has their hot water back, but I live far away from everyone else. And we still don't have hot water. Thanks for listening to me complaining:)

Monday, July 09, 2007

Moscow Pictures









Okay, this time they're in order. The first one is not Moscow, sorry. It's a picture of a raised bridge in St Petersburg. The next one is St. Basil's Cathedral. The next one is a random dog in Red (or Beautiful) Square. He became the subject of many photos. The next one is of the Temple of Christ the Savior. Actually, I think it's usually translated as a cathedral too, but it's name in Russian means temple. The next one is a picture of Dima proposing to me. Actually he was just trying to be my height, but it looks like he's proposing...in front of broken down St. Petersburg bridge (and yet the picture was taken in Moscow?). Thursday Chelita treated us by taking us to the circus. Photos were forbidden, that's why I didn't use flash. The next one's of Tolstoy's backyard. He and I, we're close. The last one is of the theme park that I wasted 16 dollars equivalent to ride two rides. 50 rubles to enter, 150 rubles for a water ride (it was hot) and 200 rubles for a ride that was closed. So we ended up riding a different ride that only needed 150 rubles, but I had already bought an extra ticket worth 50 rubles...so now it's a two dollar stub. There you go, that's Moscow.

Yes, I did see dead Lenin for anyone who wanted to know. No, it wasn't a very good view. They take us from the shining sun into a dark room. Before my eyes were fully adjusted we walked in a line around his coffin. I have bad eyes. I didn't see him very well. But, I did see him.

I don't think I ever want to go to a museum again. All we did in Moscow, it seems, was go to museum after museum. By the time Lenin came around, I was not the most optimistic person. Oh, and no cameras are even allowed in Red Square when Lenin's being viewed.

Cruise Pictures





Okay, I hope this works. You never know with blogger. The first picture is me touching the wall durring a lock. I look invincible, that's why I'm posting it. The next picture is of Kizhi. The next is of our boat. The last is also durring a lock, but it's a different one from the top. It was actually my first lock. These pictures are out of order.