Saturday, November 18, 2006
I know that this seems like a strange comment for me to be making considering my current location. But it's true.
Once a week I have a silly little economics lesson with Tatyana Yurievna (she calls it "Ecological Problems in a Transitional Economy" or something along those lines). Anyway, this week we talked about the "Swedish model" - meaning the social democracy that has been working so well for the past 70-something years. Swedish citizens have it great. From there, we somehow got on the topic of Ikea. I love Ikea. It's just so dang efficient and (possibly more importantly) reasonably priced. Little did I know there is actually an IKEA in IRKUTSK!!! Add that to the list of things that make Irkutsk the "thriving metropolis" that it is. I haven't made it out there yet (since I don't really need anything, it would just be another temptation) but a few of my friends have. While it's not quite as humongous as the Frisco or Houston stores, it's still got all the flat-packed goodness of a real Ikea. And if they don't have what you want, you can order anything that Ikea makes from their catalogue (for a small addition cost, of course). Oh, Ikea - how I love thee.
I love it when I discover how small the world is. I've been feeling dreadfully homesick for the past two weeks, and the only relief (besides actually going home) is when I find something that reminds me that no matter how far away I get (and I'm about as far away as is possible right now), I'm not really all that far away at all.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
I got a little taste of home yesterday. After a week in limbo, my FedEx package from Uncle Todd and Papa Jon (aka Daddy) finally made it into my hands. I had to go pick it up myself from the office, because apparently “doing everything in our power to get your items to you” (the motto cheerfully repeated to me by the recording when I called the
Anyway, back to the package. The customs people vetoed the chalupa fixings and burned CDs, but everything else got here. There were some super-warm socks and long underwear to keep me from freezing my butt off, and a couple of head-warming thingies. Also, a pair of pants to help in the layering. Not only is the warmness of the items appreciated, but it’s nice to have something else to wear for a change – even if it is base-layer stuff. I’ve been wearing the same dang clothes for more than six months (and I didn’t take that much with me). And more socks means that I can go longer without doing laundry before my roommate comments on my smelly feet. Hehehe. Just kidding – as much of a pain in the ass as it is to do laundry here, I do wash my clothes rather regularly.
Of course, the best things in the package are the things I have no hope of obtaining in
And of course, I can’t fail to mention how much I appreciate the inclusion of copious amounts of bubble wrap. While this may not have been an intentional part of the care package, I was wondering how the heck I am going to get home with these bottles of Buryati Balzam, seeing as how I’ve not seen a single sheet of packaging wrap anywhere in the last few months. We all have our priorities.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
On another note, I love snow. As if you all hadn't noticed already. I keep thinking that I will eventually get sick of all the cold white stuff floating around, but just the opposite is happening. With each snow fall, I become more and more in love with it. There's just something about waking up in the morning to a fresh blanket of snow, and being the first one outside to make tracks in it. It's like starting from scratch each day. The effects of non-existent emissions-controls aren't nearly as noticeable. The city has taken on a completely different personality. I feel like a little kid (and have been told a number of times that I act like one) when I go out of my way to go traipse through a fresh patch on my way somewhere. It's so much fun. I have to get as much in as I can before I go back to the land of snowlessness.
Okay, enough of my musings. I have to go find the Fed-ex office because the incompetent fools can't find my address on the map to deliver my package to me. Grrrr.