Saturday, October 21, 2006

I can't decide whether what I did last night was good or bad. I lied to my roommate - told her I had a migraine to get out of going to the movie theater. I really didn't want to go - just to see some dumb movie, that I wouldn't even want to see in English, much less dubbed into Russian. And I REALLY didn't want to go to the club afterwards either. I think I've already talked about that. So I stayed home, read a little bit of Moby Dick (yes, I'm reading it again just fun), and watched North by Northwest, which I finally managed to find somewhere. All around a great evening.
I didn't feel too bad about lying this morning. Lies woke me up not once but twice on one of my few mornings to sleep in. First, she woke me up when she stumbled into the room at about 7 am. Any normal person coming home at such an hour might try to be a little courteous and be quick. But not Lies. Rummage, rummage, rummage. Then she got up again at 9 am, and instead of going to the kitchen, as I would have, to do what ever it is she felt necessary to work on that early on a Sunday morning, she woke me up yet again. Arrgh.
I need to stop ranting about this. I can't change her habits - can't even really do anything without being rude. All I can do is hold out for the next two months - and hope she finds a host family real quick.

Friday, October 20, 2006


I think I had as good a day yesterday as is possible in Irkutsk. Most of it was spent as a lazy bum. I slept late - well, as late as possible when you've got a roommate like mine. Then I made a huge pot of Texas-style chili - fodder for the foreigners coming to visit me in the evening. I sat around reading until about 2, when I had to head over to Olga Lopsonovna's for our literature lesson. I must say, it was one of her best. And knowing that it was my birthday, she had tea and cake ready when I got there! My teachers rock.
I have to admit, last night's was not nearly as rowdy as the party's I'm used too. For one thing, we only had one little room - we couldn't really spread much farther than the kitchen for fear that the wrath of my evil neighbor might present itself. And the dorm nazi can only ignore so many things (even with a blini bribe). It was nice though - all my friends showed. I was trying to count how many languages were being spoken and here's the tally - Dutch, German, Flemish, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Polish, English, Chinese, and Korean. Whew. I'm suprised my head didn't explode.
The only real problem with having a party in the dorm is that the dorms are locked at 11 pm - which means anyone who doesn't live in the building has to go home before then. And most of my friends live in the next building over. Sigh. I'm probably the only American alive to manage to turn 21 without getting drunk (because two drinks isn't enough to intoxicate ME). And I went to sleep at 11.30 pm. I feel kind of lame. But that's the way things work here - everything just kind of shuts down around 11. I could have gone to a club if I really had wanted to, but there were two things holding me back - 1. I don't really like clubs - I'm more of a bar/pub kind of girl, and 2. I didn't really feel like staying out ALL night. Especially after Lies went to bed without helping clean up, leaving me to scrub all the pots and pans. Did I mention what a great roommate she is :-/.
Anyway, I did have a nice day. Oh, and I finally got my care package from Grandma - complete with bluegrass CDs and fajita seasoning. It's going to be a good weekend.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Blini Bribe

I found that in a select number of instances, food can be just as good a bribe as money. Such was the case with Nina Feoderovna, the resident "dorm-nazi" here in Irkutsk. I found out she was going to be working tonight (night of the big birthday party). What to do? Well, I had just made a huge plate of blini (Russian crepes/pancakes), and couldn't eat them all anyway, so I figured I'd run some down to her and butter her up. It worked quite well. Not only did she say no problem to having people over, but she said she'd arrange things with the nighttime watchlady at their dorm so that they won't have any trouble getting home. Woohoo! Who knew having your 21st birthday in Russia could be so fun?
I just made a huge batch of chili and Karin is bringing something yummy for the vegetarians. It should be a killer party.
Of course, we'll have to see how I feel about it tomorrow morning...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Victory at last

I finally managed to reclaim my Saturdays. This afternoon I had a long, semi-heartfelt conversation with Natalya Alexandrovna concerning my situation in the Regional Studies class. I wasn't learning anything at all - it was a complete waste of time. It would be one thing of I was an economics major or interested in international business - but that is not what I'm here for. And it's not like the class would have counted for anything anyway. I'm now (unofficially, of course) working on my own to study the region - reading more and more in Russian, and seeing as much as possible of the area before I have to start hiding away from the cold.
Mongolia, here I come (in a month or so, anyway).
Some bad news - I just found out that the evil babushka is on duty at the dorm on Friday night. This does not bode well for my party plans. Maybe she can be bribed with chocolate...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Shot down once again

Stupid people piss me off. How long have I been talking about wanting to go to China for Thanksgiving? Far too long. I've been in and out of the international student office at IGLU ever since I came up with this hairbrained scheme to get me to Beijing, attempting to get them to work on my paperwork so that I'd have my new Russian visa in time. And each time I went in, the assured me, "There's plenty of time. We're working on it." Well, no they weren't. And even with my persistent badgering, they managed to screw up my plans. Thanks to their stupidity, my new Russian visa (which I need to reenter the country should I choose to leave) won't be ready until the day after I need to leave in order to get to Beijing by Thanksgiving. DAMNIT! I can probably still swing a trip to the PRC, but it won't be for Turkey Day. Grrrrr. It's one thing when I screw up my own plans - it's quite another when somebody else does it for me.
Well, there's only one thing to do in this situation. Let out a heavy sigh and say, "C'est la vie." This is the way things work in Russia. You have to shout at the top of your lungs over and over again to get things done right, and you'll still probably have problems. But at least I'm still legal and everything. The stupid people in the international office screwed Aaron over even more - by completely forgetting to fill out his visa extension paperwork. Oops. Luckily they admitted their error and paid the fine for him - before he got exported. Hehehe. Oh, silly Russians.
Just for laughs...
When I opened Internet Explorer at the internet cafe today, Google popped up - in SWAHILI! How exciting. I love it when I see random stuff like that. There are cool people from all over the world roaming around just as I am. Kind of makes me want to go to Africa (it sure as hell would be warmer than Siberia).