With moments like these...

Trip Start Aug 06, 2008
Trip End May 17, 2009

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Flag of Russian Federation  , Central Russia,
Sunday, December 7, 2008

I found a new favorite word. A
word that I know that I will use until the day I die and one that you, my dear
friends, will be sick of in a matter of moments when I get home. I've used it several times in my blogs
and I am almost sure that you know exactly what I am about to say..
Koshmar. The word for nightmare. I
know that not everyone understands the delicate workings of living in Russia,
but koshmar is the perfect word to sum it all up. Russia is an amazing place
but I have been here long enough to know that if it don't make sense then you are doing the Russian thing but
some things are just nightmare's and one can't help it like:

in class and the teachers decide that we are not being subjected to enough
impossible Russian grammar that they think is easy like katori, (a conjunction
that combines two sentences like "which") Genitive Plural and
Aspect/Pairs. The first words out
of my mouth were "eta koshmar" with pouted lips and eyes that I hoped
didn't show my fear. And what does
the teacher do? She laughs at me! Crazy Russian! "Of course it is easy for
you." I mumble, "you've spoken Russian all your life and I need all
my life to understand Russian."

on a bus with 200 people on it (I'm not kidding) and being felt up by complete
strangers... koshmar! (but maybe
it's not THAT bad....)

a trolleybus stop in the middle of nowhere and tells everyone to get off
because his shift has ended and he wants to go home and you are miles away from
your apt.... koshmar. (but the Kremlin DOES look beautiful at night)

looking like you are an American and being charged double and you haven't even
opened your mouth! Koshmar. (how
does an American "look" anyway?)

watching the women and seeing that underneath their sexy clothes and make-up,
their lives will never be fair or right because this is a society of men and
they can do whatever they want to the women....ochen ploha koshmar (very bad
nightmare). All I'm saying is Thank God that I am a foreigner, oh the stories I
could tell....

of course, the good outweigh the bad.
It seems like now that my time here is about to end that I am actually
getting the swing off things.

can now order McDonald's without having an extra something or not getting the
right thing (which is crazy considering that all the food is named the same in
the states with different inflections... you would think that it would be
understandable even if you put the wrong syllable in the word)

have made many new friends from all over the world and hope that we keep in
touch. (for a while anyway.)

can look at a bus and know where it is going and hop right on without
hesitation and know where to get off.

the metro in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Did you see the map of the system?

can walk home at 2 am and not worry about being bothered. (after all I am a woman here, right?)

found that I LOVE train travel!

is not the end all be all. Life is short.
Enjoy it.

despite the cold and hard exteriors of these Russians, they are warm and
generous. (at least once you get past the younger generation, they pretty much

I learned that people are people not matter where you are in the world. They all seem to have the same general
qualities. Some have had it harder
than others but they live through it and survive. A true testament to strong will and determination because if
I had to have lived in a country such as this I don't know if I could have
survived or could survive because it's not over. The remnants of the Soviet Union are still around us. The faces and names might have changed
but it is still very prominent in modern lives. I wonder if it will ever fully
go away...

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