Saturday, September 09, 2006

Things can always get worse...

This is going to be hard to explain without slipping into profanity or completely confusing all of my readers. But I'm going to try anyway, because I'm a believer in the therapeutic side of writing - I feel better once I've "talked" about it.
Basically, today sucked. More than most days even. I have reached my maximum level of frustration and anger in the same day and the result is not pretty.
I was pissed off from the beginning because I have a class on Saturday. And not just another Russian class, but my one regional studies class, the only class I can't skip. Well, my schedule had no room number written on it. If this had been at UTD, I would have logged onto SIS (well, if the timing was write - we all know that SIS doesn't always behave) and found out where the class was located. Or gone to the registrar's office. But things just aren't that easy in Russia. The room numbers for the classes are written down only in one location - the board with all the schedules for each faculty. So basically you have to look for your course on this huge board at the same time as everyone else in the university.
So I tried this approach. No luck - for some reason the lesson I was supposed to be attending (in t-minus 20 minutes at that point) was not on the list. So I tried to find someone to ask. But because it was Saturday, all the main offices were closed - only the sub-offices and such were open. Try finding someone to answer such a specific question when you don't know how to say phrase it in their language. After about 10 offices, I was told to go to this one classroom. I went, and after about 5 minutes of the lecture, I realized I was in the wrong class. Of course, there wasn't much I could do about it at that point. Get up and leave immediately? And piss of the professor without being able to properly apologize? I didn't even know where to go anyway or who to ask next. So I sat through an hour and a half of straight lecture about environmental problems (I think), getting dirty looks from the professor the whole time because I wasn't taking notes like the rest of the class. AAAHHHHH! Afterwards, I went and explained my situation to her as best as I could and she was nice enough to walk me down to the office where they distribute keys for the classrooms before lessons - an obvious place to find an answer to my mystery, right? Not exactly. The lady there had no idea about this course I was asking about and told me to go to the dean of my school. Of course, it is Saturday and the dean is not here on the weekend. So where do I go. Home. No other choice. I missed the first day of class in a course that may or may not exist, and now I have to go back to Natalya Alexandrovna's office on Monday and tell her about the problem - for which I will probably take the blame in some way.
What am I doing here?
At least I don't have to be anywhere tomorrow. I just have about three weeks worth of dirty clothes to wash. By hand.
If only I could find something besides vodka to drown my sorrows in.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


That is indeed a word with multiple meanings. Yes, it's cold outside (though the weatherman says it's supposed to warm up this weekend). But I also have a cold. Due to the cold I think. Confused? I am too - medicine + Russian classes is not a good combination. It makes for even more confusing moments.
The new roommate is cool I guess. Haven't really gotten to know her yet. She accidently put the wrong key in one of the doors yesterday afternoon (the one that goes to the corridor where there's about four rooms, including ours, and a kitchen and bathroom). When I tried to help get it out, the key broke in the lock. And these are huge skeleton keys, so I don't know how I managed to snap it. But try telling the little old Russian lady downstairs what's going on, get somebody to fix it and keep your sanity at the same time. It's tough. And my neighbor kept on yelling at me, insisting that I do something about it right that minute. Relax, things take time in Russia. Has she not noticed this yet?
Anyway, I'm off to bed again, with lots of fun stuff to make this cold go away. I need to borrow a movie or something from Aaron. What's a sick day without loads to sappy movies to watch?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Snow and other news

That's right. Snow. During the first week in September. Not a blizzard exactly, but those were definitely snow flurries floating down this morning as I walked to the bus stop. And during class, the teacher suddenly looked at the window and said, "Снег!" (That's Russian for snow if you didn't guess). Oh man. I need some gloves. My hands are frozen. And so are my ears. I look silly in hats when I have short hair, but I'm going to have to do it anyway.
Okay, enough with the disbelief. On to business.
My new roommate showed up today. I haven't met her yet (I was in class) but there I know she's been there - she's already unpacked. I told the other Belgians that there were a couple more coming, so I think there's going to be a Belgians+Hannah party this weekend. :-D. As Donkey would say, "In the mornin', I'm makin' waffles!" Okay maybe not. No griddle. Or frying pan. Or large bowl to mix the batter in. But soon. Very soon.
I have no idea what's going on with this damn program. Things still aren't worked out. 24 more hours, then all hell is going to break loose. These people are going down if they don't fix this mess.
Oh, and Jordan would be proud. I just started reading The Dubliners. I couldn't help but smile when I read the chapter about Eveline. If you're a Nickel Creek fan, you might remember a song on their latest album with the same subject. Now I know where the story comes from. :-D. I feel smart, for the first time in several days (oh wait, the first time in several weeks).
Okay, off to find something to warm me up. Pizza?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Okay, a real entry

Sorry if I got any of you to worrying with that last post. I was a bit upset, to say the least. It's a long story, and I think I'll have to wait a week or too before I can fully explain it, but let's just say that things here haven't been going exactly as advertised. I'm fine and having a good time, don't get me wrong. But I signed up for certain things and am in reality doing something completely different. I'm taking a Russian Literature course IN RUSSIAN - which is cooler than cool, but wasn't exactly what I had in mind for the semester. And I'm not even sure I'm going to get credit for it - the courses I had preapproved don't seem to actually exist. Hmmm. What's going on?
Anyway, I have been having a good time. Every day more students join from other countries. I met a group of students from Antwerp, Belgium yesterday and they are in one of my classes (for now anyway - they may change). And I am supposedly getting a roommate tomorrow who is also from Belgium, though from another city and university. There's a girl in my Literature and Style classes from Germany (somewhere in Bavaria, but I don't know what city exactly) - she's pretty cool.
Oh, that dang literature course. When I said I wanted to read War and Peace in Russian one day, I didn't think it would be so soon. War and Peace and others. Oh boy. I'm in trouble. Should have brought a better dictionary. I see a trip to the bookstore in my future.
Natalya is taking me and Adam (one of the other Americans) to the Decemberists Museum on Friday (the political/social movement, not the band :-D). That should be cool. And there's an outting to Lake Baikal sometime later this month. Woohoo.
Alright. I'm serious though, about calling me. I feel better everytime I talk to someone from home. Thanks to those who already have (and to Iris for taking the full forceof my fury by being the first).
Off to lunch...


Why is it always me that gets screwed? I don't have the time or the inclination to explain what I'm talking about on the blog, but someone call me so I can vent my rage.
P.S. - I miss the Crocodile Hunter already.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Yesterday was one of those really nice days, where everything seems to go just the way you want it to. I slept really late (well, as late as possible when you have neighbors like mine), then spent the rest of the morning reading and just relaxing. In the afternoon, Aaron (the American down the hall) showed me where the local market is (so that I don't have to go all the way downtown), then introduced me to Cindy. We mostly just walked around and window shopped - didn't really have an aim for the day. When we went to the internet cafe together, that's when I ran into Yannic. I hung out with him yesterday evening, since he is on his way to Mongolia today. I knew he was from Switzerland but it turns out he is from the same town that Chris is living in right now! Sometimes it's hard for me to fathom how small the world really is. Soooo many random things just seem to fit together. It's really cool.
Last night, right before I went to bed, I decided to have a cup of tea out on my porch. I was standing there at 1 in the morning and I couldn't help but relax. It is so different from St. Petersburg. The only sound I could here was a dog barking somewhere far off - no cars, no people, just the one dog. And I could actually see the stars again. Oh boy! I missed the stars. I'm trying to spend as much time outside as possible right now, while the weather is still decent. Yesterday it was really pretty - the rain finally let up and I could take off my jacket. I know I only have a few weeks left for the cold sets in, so I'm making the most of the time I have til then. I guess I should probably buy a winter coat, eh?
I finally got my schedule figured out today. Boo. I have class everyday of the week except Sunday. And the are all morning classes - either 8.00 or 9.30. I miss last semester's three-day weeks. But I'll live. The only thing that really sucks about it is the Saturday class - it's in a different faculty with the Russian students instead of other foreigners, so it's going to be way over my head and I'm going to fail. Miserably. But maybe it'll be interesting. We'll see.
I think the odds of my being able to take a trip to Mongolia or China are getting a bit slim. I don't know if we have any holidays during the semester. But I'm keeping my hopes up. If not, I'll just go snowboarding or something on Sundays...

What are the odds of that...

No time for a detailed blog at the moment, but as I walked into the internet cafe to check my email for a moment, I ran into one of my neighbors from St. Petersburg - Yannic, the guy from Switzerland. Of all the places to run into somebody, Irkutsk has got to be pretty low on the list.
I've met a couple of cool people in the past few days. A guy named Aaron from somewhere in the U.S. lives down the hall and today he introduced me to a girl from Oregon named Cindy. She's leaving soon though.
Okay, on to get some food.
Something other than lapsha...