Thursday, July 3, 2008

Day 6, in which we eat Russian fast food, and it almost rains sometimes.

Firstly, my pictures are here.

I still need to figure out how much this is all costing (this internet business), before I post the rest of them. Oddly, the website is entirely in Russian, and the instructions I got only have the english names for things. That's the only time that's happened since I got here - usually it's all in Russian, so at least I can match things up so I know what they're looking for.

It was much chillier this morning than it has been, which was nice. Partially because I like the cold weather, and partially because I overestimated the cuteness and practicality of light sweaters in the summer. For me, they're almost completely impractical, and I look less cute when I'm annoyed with my sweater.

It was my conversation class today, and I wasn't really sure what to expect. One of the girls in class yesterday told me this teacher talked a lot faster, which was true, but she was just as nice as the other ones. She was much younger, and more informal, and teased me a little for not talking very much. I told her I might talk tomorrow.

We learned about beverages today, which is convenient since Alexandra's been craving milk, and we weren't sure how to order some. The stores are mostly a lot different here, at least the ones near our dorm. It's like an open air market, but indoors. You tell them what you want, and pay for it, and they give it to you. At least, we tell and mime and point at what we want, and they sometimes get annoyed with us for being clueless (but are also sometimes very nice) and then we pay, and they roll their eyes at our large bills (stupid ATMs), and we get our food.

So during our beverage class we learned all sorts of adjectives for drinks - strong, sour, cloudy, sweet, dry ("In Russia we don't really know about wine, we just drink it", our teacher Russian, of course). Part of our homework was to try any of the drinks we haven't tried. So I went out this evening after we ate dinner and got some Kefir. She said it wasn't yogurt, but it is. But not sweet, and much more sour. I'm going to keep trying it, but I can't say that I liked it. It was suggested that I put some fruit in it, but I don't want to ruin the fruit. It tastes a little like sour cream. So that part of my homework's done.

As an aside, in other interesting gastrological news (everyone I'm travelling with seems surprised about my one-track food-based mind, how odd), I tried Russian hot chocolate at the Russian fast food place (Teremok) today. Russian fast food is much different - I had a blin with ham and cheese, borshch, and Russian hot chocolate, which is fabulous. Because a small comes in an espresso cup, with whipped cream, and also it's pudding. Yeah, you heard me. It's slightly less solid chocolate pudding, but also better than the jello kind. It makes you feel more like you're drinking/eating food, than something made of plastic and marshmellows and potential pig peds.

Next on the list is Russian beer and vodka, but I think we're all so intimidated by having to pick out the bottles and tell the devushki ("young ladies", but what you call any woman working in a shop, really) exactly what we want, that that might take a while. They give us dirty looks when we're just buying water, for goodness sakes. Such sass. Although, that might just be their faces. But the sass we've experienced is so much sassier in contrast with the lack of confidence in most American girls working behind counters. Russian shopgirls pretty much own you.

We did manage at one point today to outwit an ATM (bankomat, in Russian). Unless it thought it was outwitting us. John went first, and when a big wad of 100 ruble notes came out (instead of five hundreds, which are useless), it was like we had found the holy grail. So we all put in strange and tricky amounts, and got hundred ruble notes back. Definitely a good ATM to visit, and it's right near school. So when doing intellectual combat with robots, we're all set.

I lost it and gave in to depending upon the internets yesterday night. I've been trying and trying to figure out the pattern to the shawl I'm making since I got here, and it just wasn't making any sense. So I posted on Ravelry, and someone rescued me, and it's going much better now that I don't have to keep unravelling the whole thing.

We're feeling a little intimidated by the upcoming weekend, I think. It's been nice to have something to get up and do every day, and the afternoons to study and relax. The idea of a whole day of free time freaks me out a little, but we have a whole list of places we want to go. Apparently at the Zoological museum they have the only preserved Mammoth, and a blue whale. Some incredibly huge amount of species on display. And yet, in the back of my mind, I'm not sure if I do or do not want it to be like this.

I have one bug bite on each of my elbows. Do not ask me how this happened, for I do not know.


Anonymous said...

Hi, it's Tillie!
YAY!!! So I've read (and laughed!) through your blog thus far, and Russia sounds bizarre and interesting. "In russia, shop girl owns you" and I really like this "no anchors here" business. Because honestly, nothing ruins my day like having to parellel park between two anchors. Also, this Russian hot chocolate sounds amazing! I must here more about Russian foods! Also, oooo it would be fun to see if Russia has a fun bath/fragrance shop for something neat to add to your sniffies collection. I'm glad that you're doing well, and are excited about class! Your showering sounds pretty much hilarious, and I chortle at the epic adventure that bathing in Russia is. Many hugs! Is it possible to call you? I'll try! If it'd be terribly expensive, just don't answer and I'll leave you a message. :)

annnnuh said...

your blog is absolutely wonderful (as well as your russian adventures!). Do you know how much the atm (lol bankomat) transaction charge is?

and my fav quote
"And that is why all of these posts will be on the same date, whenever the miracle of the internets is granted to us."

also make sure you tell alexandra hello from nj and that yves is having a baby. she might enjoy that info.