14 December 2007

04 December 2007

Launder. (Socks.)

I did laundry yesterday. I have a major beef with paying for laundry, so I usually take mine to my brother's house, or just don't do it.

It's like that song by Jack's Mannequin that has the weird part, where he's speaking (from "I'm Ready")--which, by the way, you can hear only through
one ear bud, interestingly:

I wake up to find it's another
four aspirin morning, and I dive in
I put on the same clothes I wore yesterday
When did society decide that we had to change
And wash a tee shirt after every individual use:
If it's not dirty, I'm gonna wear it.

What do I say to that? Молодец! Очень хорошо! Or, in other words (English words)...good work! Why should we wash our clothes unless it looks dirty or smells bad? No reason. Plus, if you do, they wear out, stretch, and fade faster.

When I was younger, I had the mistaken idea that you should change your pants every day. That's ridiculous. Especially when it comes to jeans. I'm grateful to Russia for helping me to overcome this. (No such societal implications there!) You don't need a lot of clothes, or shoes, for that matter. You just need a few essentials, and those essentials should be high-quality and things that you like so you don't mind wearing them often. You can wear them repeatedly and it's completely normal. Also, it's great if you have a lot of variety in those essentials, so you can switch around your ensemble a lot. Basically, I wear my jeans, changing the shirt, over and over and over again until they are smelly, and that takes a while. I also wear jackets repeatedly. I think I exaggerated when I said 20-25 times earlier, but it's often 10 or more. And sometimes, that's 10 times in a row, mind you. Who cares? Probably nobody. But if you do care, don't tell me, because I'm comfortable. Some people have a problem with denim stretching, but I rectify this matter simply by wearing a belt.

Can a beard be worn? Lindsey thinks not.

Enough on that:

Since I do my laundry at my brother's, and since he needed laundry detergent yesterday, I decided to buy some on my way over. That way I could use his when I was there and pay him back for the trouble and expense of having me do my laundry there. I wasn't cheap, either, because I bought the laundry detergent he had and I knew he liked. I stopped at Smith's and got the $10 Tide with 33% more.

I guess I didn't put the lid on tight in between one of my loads. It was set on the dryer and when I went to check on my clothes 40 minutes or so later, the detergent was EVERYWHERE--spilled all over the floor. I think half of the bottle spilled. Five dollars down the drain. It was a ridiculous amount of soap. I got Jon's help and we did our best to clean it up, although the floor was still sticky by the end. My hamper was pretty much ruined so I had to steal a laundry basket from Jon to put my clean clothes in. What a pain.

You know, something like that should be funny--but I'd had it with the day by that time last night, and I was mad that it had happened. Furthermore, it is quite difficult to see your money completely wasted and not know what to do or be able to do anything about it.

I just wanted to go to bed and end the day, but stuff kept happening that made me madder--like the door being locked when I got home. Not a big deal, but I was so upset that I had to put down all of the things I was carrying (a lot of things) and fish out my key and open the door and struggle inside and whatnot.

It's pretty ridiculous to think of it now, but...moments happen. Another one was this morning when I totally biffed (?) it shortly after leaving my house. I was running late but I definitely had to turn around and change my pants because they got dirty. (Dang it! I just did laundry!)

Ridiculous later, but sort of annoying in the moment.

And socks? Well, the past several times that I have worn socks, I have made bad choices about the color. You can usually see my socks through the shoes I have, so it's important that they don't clash with my pants or other outfit parts. And it's been really frustrating because I always am unsatisfied later. I'm not sure why this pattern exists or is continuing, but I have taken off my socks several times in the middle of the day lately, stuffing them into my bag, because I really can't stand it. Maybe I need some new socks, or shoes where socks are unimportant.

28 November 2007

There are certain things which cannot be explained.

Today, I heard a mistake from someone who should be invincible. The very instructor of the very class, who teaches us the correct way to use these very things, used something (very) wrong. Of course, speaking and writing are two different things, so I don't blame her.

She said, "I edited a book for...the English professors, whom are very good writers."

I almost raised my hand to ask if the "whom" should actually be "who" in that sentence, but I didn't want to criticize her speaking in front of the whole class, so I held my tongue. Instead, I wrote a little note to the person in front of me (uh...that would be Julie).

Surely if you were to split the sentence into two clauses: "I edited a book for the English professors/who are very good writers," it would be clear that "who" serves as the relative pronoun for the second clause and should therefore take the subjective case.

But if you look at it in another way, then it would be an extension, or modifying "the English professors," since "the English professors" is the object of the sentence. In that case (literally), would it take the objective pronoun, which would be "whom"?

And coming from that perspective, isn't Russian that way? Then I started thinking about it, and really...I don't know. I mean, I think it would be like this:

Я читала книгу профессора, кого (or maybe которого) хороший писатель
I (nominative) read book (accusative case) professor (genitive case), who (genitive case) good (nominative) writer (nominative)

(and actually the genitive case is the object case, so it'd be whom...)

but is that even grammatically correct in Russian?

What about который?

I'm confused.

22 November 2007

Why my camera is somewhere in the Swiss Alps (or, A Story from a time when I was in Switzerland)

"We got here to Grimmewald sometime in the morning. We traveled here from Interlaken, a beautiful city at the base of the Alps. We took a train, then a bus, and then a gondola up here to Mountain Hostel. Around one in the afternoon, we left to go walk and hike around. We hiked up the road through the villages. There are a few hundred people and only one road. We stopped at a place where a man sells sausage, milk, and cheese. Emily bought some sausage and cheese. The sausage was from a lamb and the cheese from a cow, and it was delicious. Possibly the best cheese and sausage I have ever eaten in my life. We stopped on a bench and had a small picnic. Emily stayed on that bench but we all went on and left her behind, trusting her with the responsibility of checking into our hostel once the reception desk opened. I was an idiot and promoted hiking the Jungfrau, the highest mountain in Europe. There was snow on the top. I was feeling that crazy sense of adventure, the one that says enthusiastically, "You are only in the Swiss Alps once, blah blah blah." We opted for a more practical option, though, the Schillthorn. I was excited to summit it. It has been a long time since I have been hiking or climbing at all. We began our journey.

We left the trail rather early on and decided to follow the creek, or river, up the slope. Unfortunately, I had the idea to cross the river. I discovered my lack of adventure and ability to leap across rivers easily. I took my shoes off and wondered for a long time how I would cross. Finally, I decided a place. As I was crossing, my camera dropped out into the river. I realized it immediately but didn´t do much. I said, "Crap, I just dropped my camera," to Rachel and she bolted into action while I just stood there, watching all of it play out. I did not have much hope. We saw the camera case and they got it out for me but the camera itself was long gone. I threw the case into the river. I did not want it anymore. I had been carrying the camera by holding it with my cardigan, tied around my waist. It was a rather ingenious way, I thought, but the river crossing could have used a bit more preparation. The cardigan was a little loose and the initial big step was not at all conducive to security as far as holding it was concerned.

We continued to climb. Then the mountain started getting steeper and steeper, and the grass turning into more and more rock. It was almost a vertical climb and we were not sure what to expect. There was a place at the top where we could see the grass ended but we were not sure if it wound around another side or just transformed into imposing cliffs. Rachel went ahead a little bit to explore. I was starting to feel really stupid and bad about the whole thing. I did not see any way to get down and was not sure there was a way to get up, either. Going down on that kind of terrain seemed suicidal to me. It was very steep and slippery, and rocky. It looked from where we were like Rachel was giving the thumbs up so we climbed up after her. When we got to her, it was clearly impossible. She said she was thinking it would be okay to attempt to climb some rocks (pure rock climbing without any gear) but when she tried, the rock was so eroded and came off in her hand every time she grabbed a hold. Rachel´s terror began at that moment. Apparently she is morbidly scared of heights. We were pretty high up and to all appearances, simply stuck on a rock. I felt horrible and hopeless. We saw a gondola going up to the station at the summit of the peak not too far away. It was odd to know that they probably saw us, and that we needed help, but what could they do? I started to imagine a helicopter coming to get us after being stuck on the mountainside for so long. I wondered how long we would have to be stuck on the mountainside. Dallin was confident he could get us down, though. I looked at him and placed all of my trust in him. I did not have any confidence in my own ability to get myself off the mountain, so I told Dallin that if he would help me down, I would follow him. And he did help me down. He was rather optimistic and encouraging. My confidence was building. He was telling me where to put every foot, pretty much. It was ridiculous, actually, but he was patient with me. Then I slipped and started to slide and that is when we had our slide for a few feet. Dallin started to slide with me and put his arm out to stop me and we were all right. But it killed any confidence I had gained and I was quite nervous and scared. Rachel and Dan were pretty far behind us and we saw that Rachel kept stopping, completely immobilized for long periods of time. The mountain was evening out and I started sliding on my butt instead of climbing down. Eventually, I told Dallin to go back for Rachel. He said she would refuse any help. That much was certain, that much was clear. I said he did not have to help her, simply make sure she kept moving. I made my way toward Christina who had been at the bottom earlier because she turned around ealier than we did. I fell once in making my way to her and it hurt for a while, but I got over it. Christina and I kept walking further and it started to rain. We found a huge rock that provided an overhang of shelter on one side and waited there. We were there for a long time and Dallin and Rachel´s progress was slow. They looked very small. I felt like I was watching something on the news about a rescue mission or something. When it started raining harder, though, we sought the shelter of the inside of the rock again and could not watch our friends. At one point there was a massive rumble of thunder. It was the loudest thunder I have ever heard in my life. It was absolutely terrifying. Lightning quickly followed. The lightning was very close and our situation seemed more dire by the second. It was getting dark, too. We needed to get off that mountain.

Eventually, they made it and we made our way down in the rain with absolutely soaking shoes. Finally, we got back to the hostel, and it was glorious when we did. Dallin was not so enthusiastic as he had been. His continual and indomitable optimism on the climb itself were invaluable, even ridiculous almost, to me. He remained absolutely positive the entire time. But in the end, we were all exhausted."

What adventures! No wonder I'm scared of mountain climbing these days.

20 November 2007

Read on.

I got an e-mail from my friend who is in Ukraine, Andrea. I wrote her in Russian, and apparently my Russian is really bad, because this is what she wrote back:
(Andrea, if you read this, I'm assuming it was all a joke...but I'm not sure...but it was funny anyway.)

Hey Amanda-
It’s so good to hear from you. I think I understood most of your email, but I was in a hurry and I didn’t have my dictionary handy so I had to guess on some and I may have missed some, my Russian is still really bad and not nearly as good as it should be. Anyways congratulations on the engagement, he sounds like quite the guy, although I can’t really see you with a bald midget, but I wish you the best. And I can’t believe you’re moving to Siberia with him next month after the wedding, that’s so fast and sounds insane, but I guess your Russian will be put to good use. I’m sad that I won’t be home in time to come to the reception, but good luck with everything. And I’m so sorry to hear about your hamster, I didn’t quite get what happened, something about a pot of soup or maybe it was cake batter, I don’t know but it sounded messy.

29 October 2007

There is a Costa Vida in Oregon.

Dear Gentry,

Thank you for pointing out the gaping flaw on my blog. I didn't mean to snub Hillsboro.

Long live Costa Vida.

Finally...they can laugh.

Yesterday, I jumped out of a moving car.

It gives me such pleasure to be able to make this statement factually.

Why, you ask?

Well, it’s a funny story. And it’s one that I hesitate to tell because I want to keep you wondering.

Our old roommate, Joni (This is great that I can say that sentence with commas because it is a non-restricted clause, not essential information: she’s our only old roommate. We have lived together for less than a semester and we already have an old roommate.), had a small housewarming party for her new house. We (my roommates and I) decided to go in Beth’s car. I had a car too but it had a bunch of crap on the seat from my brother’s work. She knew that she was low on gas but we hoped we’d make it to Joni’s. Cars can sometimes go a long way on empty.

We picked up Andrea first and were on our way when Beth ran out of gas. Her car lost power but continued to coast, continually dropping speed. We quickly came to the conclusion inside that it would be easier to push it home if we had the momentum of its movement already.

And lately I’ve been thinking I should be more proactive. Not just pointing out problems, but maybe trying to do something about them.

Everybody said the car was going too fast, but I didn’t think it was going that fast. I decided to jump out. I didn’t anticipate the consequences. The car, apparently, was going faster than I thought. I lost my shoe and fell down. I didn’t remember it, but my roommates (my witnesses) said that I rolled.

I guess you’re wondering why I don’t remember it. I am pretty sure that I didn’t lose consciousness. All I remember is the pavement under my feet, my shoe coming off my foot, an awareness of the fact that I was wearing nylon stockings, the fact that I was on the ground, and looking back at the car continuing to roll down the street, away from me, laying on the middle of the street somewhere between 6th and 5th north and 2nd east.

It didn’t hurt at all. I got up, got my shoe back on my foot, and started running back to the car to help push it. There was a guy who saw Elizabeth and I pushing and ran over to offer his help. We were two blocks away from the apartment and I couldn’t keep up for very long. I’m pretty out of shape I guess.

Elizabeth and the random Samaritan named Cody pushed the car into the driveway . It was a Sunday and we were in a hurry to get to Joni’s because it was already late, so we didn’t go to a gas station (there is a 7-11 pretty close by).

By the way, when did “pretty” start becoming a modifier equivalent to “approximately”? Weird.

On Sunday, we received Spotlight sheets to fill out. It asked what our favorite candy bar is and I wrote that I didn’t like candy. That wasn’t the joke.

There were also a couple of things, like “Birthday,” and “Name.”

That also wasn’t the joke. But what I wrote on the part for name was somewhat amusing. “Amanda ‘the Awkward’ Stoddard.” And I am not going to lie, “Awkward Stoddard” has kind of a nice ring to it. Also, under favorites, I wrote, “1. Gushman. Everything else is secondary.” (If you don’t know who Gushman is, see Facebook--or the photo on the left. He’s my favorite stuffed friend.) And then, “i.e. pumpkin rolls, making pumpkin rolls, and cream cheese frosting.” I turned it in that way. Too bad more people aren’t acquainted with Gushman Bones.

23 September 2007

Strange customs.

I want to know how all of the strange customs that we adopt in our modern culture came about. Things that aren't naturally so. My brother and I were talking a little bit about wisdom teeth yesterday, and we wondered why it is that it's necessary to remove wisdom teeth at all. Why would God give us teeth that we didn't need or use, or even have room for in our mouths? And what did people do before there was such a thing as wisdom tooth removal? On that note, teeth are kind of interesting. I'm sure that toothbrushes and toothpaste haven't always existed, so why is it so important now that we brush our teeth regularly (to keep our mouths fresh and free of cavities), or flossing? Who ever came up with flossing, anyway?

Also, this custom of women shaving their legs and armpits, and men shaving their faces, or the plucking of . Don't worry, I fully endorse these practices. I generally don't like facial hair (on guys or girls, for that matter), and I shave...but I don't understand why I have to. Why do I even grow hair on my legs if I'm a girl and girls aren't supposed to have hairy legs? It makes no sense to me.

18 September 2007


I think of this blog as my Russia blog because it's where it all began...but it's not. And actually, after 3 months of being American, I've forgotten what it's like a little bit there [in Russian]...to be there, to be Russian (ahem, I was never exactly Russian...but pretty dang close). How they say things and what they do, and all of the culture, the wonderful culture. That's terrible. It doesn't help that I suck at Russian. Ode to Russia...how will you be in my future? Only time can tell.

Handicap Sticker

My ethical standards have degraded to a large degree lately and I am not sorry for it, really. Ok, so maybe I'm a little bit sorry for it. It's guilt, but it's not the kind of guilt that's motivating me to change. It's just caused me to think about it...and not change.

Here's the deal. I have a handicap sticker...illegitimately. I am pretty sure there is someone in my family who has this legitimately, but somehow, because I have a car that is owned by the family, I have access to a decal.

Since parking in Provo is horrible (especially at BYU), sometimes I excuse myself and use it. It started this summer and it's gone on. At first, it was going to be a one-time thing. And then I started using it more and more, and justifying it more and more. And I thought, what's the big problem? It's not like faculty really NEED all of these spots they have. And I've gotten plenty of parking tickets on BYU campus (some of which haven't even been my fault), so I don't feel like paying again...but I do feel like parking closer to where I have class.

Today, I got a wake-up call in this department. Maybe it's God telling me that I'm wrong and need to start being more ethical...and not using something that I did nothing to deserve. It's not as if I steal handicap spots from people--actually, I never park in the handicap spots. Just faculty spots, and then I put up the handicap sticker so that I won't get a ticket.

This is wrong, I know. But is it really all that wrong? How many times do people have privileges that they don't deserve, anyway? Isn't that the definition of "privilege"? And the world is unfair, isn't it? Who am I to think otherwise?

Today, I was parking in the JKB faculty parking lot, right next to the Parking and Traffic Enforcement Office. There was even a girl ticketing in the lot. I saw her and she saw me, that was obvious. As I put up the handicap sticker, she turned around to tell me I couldn't park there (I presume), and then saw the sticker and said, "Oh, you're alright." (Or, more properly, "You're all right.") And I said, "Thanks." And headed to class.

But I was embarrassed, I'm not going to lie.

I do NOT have a respiratory condition, nor a cardiovascular disease, or any other "ambulatory" condition. I am not confined to a wheelchair. And I am not "blind." My knees sometimes pop when I walk and I get winded when I walk up the stairs south of campus, but that's my own fault. And I guess that means I am mocking people who actually have those disabilities. I'm not sure, but if I think of it that way, then I feel terrible. I'm really grateful to not have any of these conditions.

04 September 2007

Life's Questions

I have a lot of questions. Recently, I have decided to start asking them, which is the first step to getting them answered.

Here they are (the ones I can think of right now, anyway):
1. What do the solid white lines mean on the streets?
2. Are there Costa Vida's outside of Provo?
3. Can lovehandles be gotten rid of?
4. What causes hiccups?

--SOLID WHITE LINES are used on the right of roadway edge.
–SOLID WHITE LINES separate lanes of traffic moving in the same direction. Crossing a solid white line requires special care and is discouraged.
–Solid white or yellow lines are sometimes used to channel traffic around a hazard. –A double solid white line prohibits lane changing.
(Source: "Traffic Signals and Pavement Markings," CyberDriveIllinois.com)

I have noticed that solid white lines are used for bike lanes and the car pool lane on the freeway. Sometimes, it is broken white lines and I suppose this is the time when you are encouraged to cross, if needed. The other day I was confused because there was a huge shoulder, big enough for a lane. I thought it was a lane. I was driving in it. It wasn't a lane. (Moral lesson learned: the car pool lane is an anomaly. Don't cross the solid white lines unless necessary.)

2A. Costa Vida's are all over the country, including in AZ, CA, CO, ID, NM, ME (Maine), TN, TX, and UT. It did start in Utah. In fact, the first location was Layton, UT, in 2003 (source: costavida.net).It was Costa Azul then, as I remember. (To think, my hometown!) I thought it was a crappy restaurant because it was right next to the movie theater. Not that the name change had anything to do with it, but it is interesting to note that I didn't start enjoying the restaurant until it became Costa Vida. Now it's pretty much an addiction.

Costa: coast
Vida: life
Azul: blue

3A. Exercise doesn't burn fat from specific areas of the body. The reason that it may be helpful to tone the muscles in your abdomen, though, is when you do reduce your overall body fat, the more toned areas will have a nicer appearance. But there is no way to get rid of lovehandles specifically, or fat from any other area of the body. And it seems to me that the places fat goes is up to your body type, often, althoughApparently, fat in the lovehandle area for men is due to heredity. I also read that lovehandles are more common in men because the midsection is the area of the body where men tend to gain weight. I read somewhere that sodium (from salt) causes water retention in your body, and that "The amount of too much salt in your diet is responsible for around 80% of love handles." I don't think that statistic is backed.

4A. Wikipedia says this about hiccups: "While many cases develop spontaneously, hiccups are known to develop often in specific situations, such as eating too quickly, taking a cold drink while eating a hot meal, eating very hot or spicy food, laughing vigorously or coughing, drinking an alcoholic beverage to excess, crying out loud (sobbing causes air to enter the stomach), some smoking situations where abnormal inhalation can occur (in tobacco or other smoke like cannabis, perhaps triggered by precursors to coughing), or electrolyte imbalance. Hiccups may be caused by pressure to the phrenic nerve by other anatomical structures, or rarely by tumors and certain kidney disease. It is reported that 30% of chemotherapy patients suffer singultus as a side effect of treatment."

I get hiccups all the time. I wonder if, in my case, it is an indication of a more serious medical problem. "Some illnesses for which continuing hiccups may be a symptom include: pleurisy of the diaphragm, pneumonia, uremia, alcoholism, disorders of the stomach or esophagus, and bowel diseases. Hiccups may also be associated with pancreatitis, pregnancy, bladder irritation, liver cancer or hepatitis. Surgery, tumors, and lesions may also cause persistent hiccups." I don't think I have any of these diseases.

In Russia, I got the hiccups practically every time I ate. I don't as much anymore.

10 July 2007

Well, my long lost, it's been a while, ain't it?

It has been practically two months since I last posted on this blog and I thought about giving it up, just abandoning it, and letting it die from neglect. But I seek some excitement and when you share something, when someone appreciates what you share, it makes it that much more exciting and valuable. I don't think anyone reads this blog anyway, but we'll give it a shot, regardless.

I don't live in Russia anymore, and in some ways, I'm kind of sad about that. Provo is a much less interesting town to hang around in, but at the same time, I can communicate (potentially) with everyone in it, in a language we commonly speak, and so it provides a bit more to think about. I guess I'm into connections with words, because I have to admit that being lost by yourself in foreign cities is not the most interesting thing.

What happened to me in the last two months?

Very early in the morning on June 4, my host family drove me to airport in Moscow for my outbound flight. The sun was rising at 3:30 AM. Maya held my hand and hugged me for the last time, as she always did. And they stood at the gate that they couldn't go past and watched me leave with my large red bags that weren't even mine. I couldn't do anything but say 'bye' to myself (my hands were occupied) and look at them as they watched me leave them.

I backpacked through Europe with Moscow 2 people (Rachel, Dallin, Emily, Christina) and Dan. We went to Germany, then Switzerland, then France, and then England. I wore the same pair of pants every day for more than two weeks. I lived in hostels. I got sick of traveling but it was one of the coolest things I have done, probably. I was shocked in London by being able to hear language that I could comprehend fully (I speak English, and so do they.), and shocked by the use of a hair straightener. It felt like my hair just grew two inches in one day. It was a miracle. While I was in Switzerland, I tried to hike the Schillthorn (a mountain in the Alps) without a trail. I dropped my camera into a river and lost all of the pictures, the memory card itself, and the camera, of course. Как всегда. I had to write an e-mail to my host dad about that.

On June 19, I flew home from Frankfurt to SLC. On the 10 hour flight from Frankfurt to Denver, I didn't sleep a wink. I tried, but it wasn't working out for me. I missed my flight from Denver to Salt Lake and made Dallin miss it with me. So we spent a few more hours in the Denver airport. I did Sudoku. I was very tired. The United States looked very ugly and hot to me. When I got to Salt Lake, I had to wait at the airport for a while for my brother to come and get me. My cousin, Jenny, was with him. It seemed all a little too familiar to me, like I hadn't been gone at all. Even though I was gone for five months. They joked that Jenny hooked back up with her ex-fiance and I believed them. I'm so gullible.

I lived at home for a while and didn't have the motivation to put my life together. People told me I'd have culture shock and jet lag coming back to America again but I didn't believe them in the same way I didn't believe it when they told me to expect that when I left America for the first time. I did have jet lag. I did have culture shock. The most shocking moment occurred when I came to my apartment before I actually moved in, and there were several people in a small area, several conversations going on, everyone was the same age, and there were boys. I didn't feel like I could handle social interaction like that for a while, it seemed like too much. Not to sound boastful, but it was weird to say things without a reason, when no one was listening to me. It was confusing that people talked without listening to each other. That no one was listening to every word that was coming out of my mouth and sometimes the things that I didn't say. That no one was studying to know me anymore and that my presence was suddenly unfelt and temporary in a place. That I wasn't missed when I left because right now is governed by the principle of change. And it was weird to me how people are friendly to strangers and smile at each other for no reason, among a lot of other things. That is beyond comprehension for a Muscovite, maybe. I think I stayed awake for a 72-hour period, but I'm not sure. It could have been less. I really missed my host family. I think I cried two times since I came back.

I moved into my apartment in Provo and started school on June 25. I am taking Russian (every day, 12-2), a religion class on temples, and a Music/Humanities class. It's 9 credits but the only one I have to do actual work for is Russian. I have been looking for a job too, but I keep getting rejected. I have gotten several e-mails and I think that I would rather receive no response than the e-mail that says, "We're sorry, but your application was not chosen for further consideration. There were a lot of qualified applicants and it was a very difficult decision. But we wish you the best of luck in your job search." Great, thanks. Why can't I just have my old job back? I can't believe that I ever left that job. It was like home.

The weather is stinkin' hot and I hate this heat, it makes me miss my forest in Moscow where the shade was cool, where I liked to гулать с Лилей и Маей и собакой. It's dry and the sun beats down on you. Maybe when you can't tell the sun is making it hot it might be a little bit better...you can start to pretend that it's not really hot outside because it looks somewhat gloomy, as it always does. But that's not true, it's just a difference in humidity. And maybe I do really prefer dry heat. The humidity makes you feel gross and sticky and you can't really keep your hair straight. If you care about that. I guess this whole thing makes me sound really shallow because I keep talking about my hair. I do have to say, though, that I lived in Russia for 5 months without every straightening my hair. No, not once. And I was chubby, did I say that? Yeah, I gained some weight while I was there, but then I lost it. I was sick of feeling uncomfortable all the time, like I had just finished eating a feast. Fat is not a good feeling. I was disgusted with myself. But now I am okay.

Here I am in Provo, right now, and I'm still weirded out by that even though it's been a while. I think the desert is ugly and Utah seems pretty ugly in most places. I think I'm pretty much adjusted and I actually think I'm a little happier here because I am not too lonely anymore. I can drive a car around on the streets, somewhat competently, is that not weird? Here I am, and I know a little bit more than just the basics. But I still do really stupid things all of the time. That hasn't changed. It was almost better in Russia because I had a scapegoat for my stupidity: I was an American who didn't speak Russian very well and had never been there before. But what's my excuse here?

I keep wanting to take all the people I love here and go back to Moscow. I want to go back when I can communicate. I realized that even though I was in one place long enough for things to become routine and familiar, I never got over feeling like I was in a foreign place, that I was a foreigner. I think that's because I never could understand everything that was going on around me. But now that I look back on it, it feels like a memory that is the same as all of my other memories, no matter where they occurred. The fact that I was in--where was I, Germany?--a month ago feels the same as it feels to say that I was in Layton three weeks ago, or somewhere in the Provo Canyon Mountains a year ago. It's all the same. You are the same. Not completely the same, but you're still you.

But it's rather funny. Will you come with me to Moscow? I'll take you to meet my host family. We'll sit at the table with them and eat and talk a lot. We can go for a walk in the forest when we are there, if it's warm. If it's not warm, we don't have to do that. Then we can ride the metro to the museum or the nearest Russian Orthodox Church, where we will catch a whiff of the strange incense from the candles as they rise up with the prayers of the devout and we can look at the ever-present icons. And we would wonder about what Russia was like in the past because there are 800 years of history beneath our feet. And we could wonder how that makes a difference, or realize that it maybe doesn't. We can go to a concert, any kind of concert that you could imagine. We can go to Ashan and buy pizza and eat it in the store. We can drink kakarde and take off our shoes to exchange for slippers at the door. We can walk into a place that you can settle into immediately, where everywhere is your domain. You don't have to wait to put your stuff down until you get to your room. Maybe we can just ride the metro around and pretend like we're going somewhere. We can stand really close to, even be touching, complete strangers. We could see how ghetto dirty Moscow is. Where history sidles up with the gutters of consumerism and makes friends. Where you can feel disgusted and inspired simultaneously. We could see best and the worst in one glance. The worst show man can put on in the best part of God's earth, or maybe it's the best show of man in the worst of circumstances. I'm not sure. And we could smell the mixture of that dirt with that cologne that everyone wears. If it's cold we wouldn't want to ride the bus too much because the windows get iced over and you can't see out of them, and you get rather cold riding on the bus without moving. Your toes feel numb and your nose hairs crystallize.

Somebody asked me the other day why I chose to go to Russia and learn Russian. I don't really know, but I'm glad I went.

11 May 2007

Windows and Radishes in Russia

The funny thing about the window being broken...it wasn't.

Things like this are always happening, making me feel stupid constantly. I will tell a story about radishes too. But first, the window. It opens two ways. One way to open it causes the window to open from the side and the other way opens it from the top. To make this easier to explain, I've added visual rhetoric. (See pictures below.) In any case, I always open it from the side, and that was the only way that I knew how. I came home from St. Petersburg to flowers on my table and an open window. It was opened from the top and I thought it was broken. I tried to close it and was unsuccessful (obviously).

The problem was a case of "na ili ot cebya" or in English, "push or pull" kind of thing. It is like when you go through a door and you think you know that you have to push it but it ends up being slightly heavier than you think and so you decide it must need to be pulled, and then you kind of throw up your hands in despair because the door seems to be smarter than you are. Or am I the only one that experiences this? It's an easy comparison because it happened to me the other day, when I was going to the metro. I approached a door that I thought you had to push to open and spent about 5 or maybe 10 seconds trying to figure it out. I was right in thinking "push" but the door was heavy and I didn't anticipate it. I wonder what the Russian man behind me was thinking...

I left the already-open window open, determined that it was broken. A few days later, my host dad came into my room and noted that it was quite cold. He asked why I had the window open. I hesitated and said, "Because I don't know how to close it." He showed me how it closed quite simply and went into the kitchen.

Story number two is about radishes. On Victory Day (it is celebrated like July 4 is in America--it's a big holiday in Russia), May 9, we had a birthday party for Maya. Her birthday is on the same day. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but it ended up being a marathon event. We went into the nearby forest with a lot of food, a hammock, picnic table, etc. and set up shop, so to speak, and proceeded to have a barbecue of sorts. No matter that it lasted more than 8 hours. That's a long time to sit on a log. At the first, there was a lot of bustling about, making preparations. I didn't know what to do and so I just stood there, feeling rather useless. (Which I am, because I can't speak Russian.) When my host mom got the food out, though, I was gladly put to use cutting cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, and (I thought) radishes. Eventually, every one kind of wandered away and left me there, cutting away. The kids were off to the side, playing, and two women (party for parents and children, novel!) came and asked me something that I didn't understand. They didn't know who I was or that I wasn't Russian at first and I ignored their question and continued cutting my radishes. It took me about fifteen minutes probably to cut all of them and I was satisfied with my work by the end. The party progressed, and at one point in our feasting, my host dad turned to me and said that I cut the radishes very well. (In Russian, so at first, I didn't understand him.) Then he said it in English and I said, "Thank you," not fully realizing the strangeness of such a comment. Then I noticed everyone around the table looking at me and suppressing quiet laughter, and I was confused. My friend Mike (by the way, Mike served a mission here in Moscow a few years ago and came back for a visit), who was sitting on the other side of me, served as translator for a moment. "He says they don't usually cut radishes," Mike told me. And then I'm pretty sure I turned a little red. Gah.

Opening from the side. (Handle perpendicular.)
From the top. (Handle up.)
Closed. (Handles down.)

05 May 2007

Moscow in May...not enough time left!

My time here is drawing to a close and this obtrusive fact has made me feel contemplative lately. I feel unprepared to leave, as if I am trying still to piece together all of my experiences and my environment, which still boggles my mind at times. My group and Moscow 3 went to St. Petersburg last weekend and I missed my host family more than I expected. I was quite homesick for this apartment! I was so happy to come home. That night, we drank kakarde and my host mom asked me what I would do without it when I returned to America. I started to tear up a little bit on that line of thought. It's so strange how I feel like I am a part of their family, and even stranger to think that all of that will change in about four weeks. I am afraid that it will not be the same again, if and when I come back...I will be forgotten. I guess that happens, but it still is strange to me.

The weather is rather cold but Moscow is turning green. When I walk through the birch forests on my way to and from school, things seem greener every day. The light is lasting longer too, and I feel like I sleep in late when I wake up at 8 AM because it's been light outside for a long time already. My sleep schedule is really weird, in fact.

I recommend the book Lenin's Tomb. I have been reading it lately. It's about the collapse of the Soviet Union and Communist faith; it's interesting and well-written. I had read it once before, in high school (I was always interested in 20th century Soviet history for some reason), but rereading it now is a new experience. I am here. The streets that it mentions, they are in Moscow. They are places I have been, people that are close to the memories of everyone that I see. It is Russia's world, and I am in that world. In my attempt to understand its current implications and effects on the people and place that I am in, I feel overwhelmed by something that is so much larger than myself. It wasn't so very long ago.

My friend Mike came from Provo on Thursday morning. I met him at the airport even though my host father recommended me not to do so. I didn't know how else we would see each other, though, because we exchanged little information beyond his flight itinerary. I got on the metro and then in a marshrytka after that. It was the first time I've traveled in a marshrytka by myself--the last time I was in one, I was with Gulya. I remember her mentioning that I might be able to use them by myself in the Spring when I knew more Russian. I still don't feel comfortable enough speaking to use one, so I told the driver where I wanted to go and that I didn't speak Russian and he took care of me. When we got to the airport, he turned to me and held up two fingers. That was my signal. I saw President Beus, the mission president, and also some missionaries getting in, but I didn't talk to them. Actually, I had never met President Beus before that, and I wouldn't have known him except for his nametag.

It's been weird--like two worlds are clashing--to have someone I knew from Provo enter my world in Moscow. It's been nice, though. He understands Russian and can translate for me when I don't understand or tell me what words mean if I don't want to look them up. :) He's also shown me a few cool things around the city. (Like the fountain you see below at an "amusement park" we went to.)

20 April 2007

So it is a socially accepted practice...

Since the time that I first saw the old man urinating near the sidewalk, I've seen three like him. One of them was in the same spot as the first man, almost exactly. I was wondering if this is an especially coveted piece of land and they are trying to mark their territory. The other two were in the forest. I don't know if it's any better or not. People walking about for pleasure instead of in the street get to see this lovely sight.

15 April 2007


I attended my first professional soccer (European football) game yesterday. I actually am not much of a sports spectator. I really enjoyed going to soccer and football games and such with friends in high school, but I think it was probably because I knew all of the players, or everyone in the audience, or both. Otherwise, it's not that enjoyable. After a very short period of time, I invariably become bored and restless. And in yesterday's case, my toes also became numb. It was pretty cold outside. Or maybe it was my shoes. But the game was interesting anyway. And we paid 120 rubles. Of course we were staying for the entire game.
Locomotive Stadion was built especially for Russia's favorite team. They are sponsored by a state organization--Russian Railways.

Although we expected the game to be crazy (they frisked all males upon entrance--I was glad to be a girl right then), there wasn't much of a threat, apparently. Even the military that was stationed there to keep fighting and other such activity under control were a bit lax and sat down themselves to enjoy the game. But the metro afterward was another story. From the stadium to the metro entrance, there was a line of military men in uniform, some on horseback. (I don't know where they get such tall horses.) Inside the metro, too, there were some at each station. A lot of good they did, though. We were packed like sardines in the metro and everyone was drunk on victory and perhaps alcohol, too. They celebrated by pounding their fists onto the sides of the metro car with their fists and shouting, cheering, chanting, and other such things. Everyone in my group took a seat but I was standing in the middle of a bunch of mad football fans. Rambunctious boys. Jadyn took a picture for me; several, actually. This is the only one that didn't turn out blurry. Unfortunately, one of the boys I speak of (this one was probably only 11 or 12 years old, maybe) got his middle finger in there. Such lovely, familiar gestures. After I saw the picture, I showed my digital camera to him. "Смотри!" I said, trying to sound Russian (I have been trying that a lot these days...not that I don't love America...). He obediently looked and laughed in response. Oh well. It sort of happy that he at least listened to something that I said in Russian. It's more than my students do!

13 April 2007

What if?


The "what if"s are a sometimes interesting and sometimes gratitude-provoking line of thought. What if I still lived at Raisa's? I would never have met my host family, a thought that seems unimaginable to me after spending as much time as I have here. I would live with an elderly woman who speaks no English. I imagine we wouldn't have spoken very much. Perhaps I would've been more motivated to actively learn Russian, rather than becoming largely complacent as I have with what small knowledge I do have. I would live far away--an hour's bus ride each night. Perhaps in that case, I would stay at Jadyn's (head teacher's) apartment more often. In fact, I would probably spend most of my time at Jadyn's apartment. There, I could have the comfort at least of being able to communicate. As it is, I spend most of my time at my host family's. Jadyn's is within walking distance. I have a room to myself, a comfortable size and that provides comfortable privacy. It has a real bed. I can communicate with my family. I can drink kakarde. (To think, I never would have had kakarde!)

Maybe the main thing, for me, is internet access any time I want it. I'm lucky. Not everyone in my group has this luxury. The computer at our head teacher's shuts off every fifteen minutes or so, consequently you can't accomplish much. I am sure that I would have survived happily without it, but I am thankful anyway for the opportunity for indulgence. I enjoy the access to people, information, music, etc. I hope I haven't been abusive of the privilege. To tell the truth, I get on my computer and the internet daily, almost without exception. Is that a bad thing? Maybe I'm not having a truly away experience with such regular contact availability, when I can pretend I'm not on the other side of the world...as a nightly ritual.

I guess, in a lot of ways, I am thankful that I don't live with Raisa, but I'm thankful to her too. She was very kind to put me up for as long as she did and I loved her for it. I love her for it. She will always have my gratitude.

03 April 2007

Random thoughts on April 3 at my bedtime.

First, one of my favorite sounds in the universe is that of an orchestra tuning before it begins to play. I'm glad that this is included in the film Finding Neverland.

I made cookies today with my host family. They don't really have cookies in Russia. Babushka came and partook, as well (Lilya's mother). They said "Ochen vkysno," which pleased me. I told them that in America, we often drink milk with our cookies. My host mother tried it and liked it. I tried it too, but the cookies and milk combination in Russia is nothing like in America. The milk is simply...different here. I was expecting to enjoy the classic chocolate chip cookies and milk pleasure that I had always taken for granted.

As I was walking home from class today, I saw a man urinating near the sidewalk. This was shortly after I noticed two drunks, chatting as they were sitting on the fence. I mused to myself about what kind of value in conversation a drunk would have to offer. It seems to me like there would be a lot of potential for misunderstanding. Not only because of slurred speech, but brainless speech. I noticed the sound of the man urinating before I saw him. I had to look twice to make sure that I was really seeing what I thought I was seeing. He was rather old, with white hair. I had to laugh to myself. What else is there to do?

Dang Picasa....

I uploaded the images the first time from Picasa and for some reason, they didn't work for very long. Hopefully this time they will, since I uploaded them directly from my computer. Let me know!

Photos B

With our awesome Estonian tour guide in the underground!
A romantic view of the Baltic sea. The sand was cold.

02 April 2007

Photos A

Yay for squatters.

The Savior on Spilled Blood Cathedral, so called because Alexander II was mortally wounded here.
Turku, Finland. "Turku Cathedral." It's Lutheran.
A view of Stockholm.
Stockholm Temple.

10 Days: Russia--Finland--Sweden--Estonia--Russia

Day 1: Moscow, Russia
Today, we were supposed to meet at Jadyn's apartment no later than 10:30 PM. We were going to the metro to get to the train station. We are taking a midnight train from Moscow to St. Petersburg. After teaching (I got out around 8 PM), I go to Jadyn's for a few minutes, and then go home for a while, where I eat dinner and drink my last mug of Karkade for ten days. My family asks me what I will do without it. (It's now what I am known for in this family.) My host father decides he will take me to Jadyn's. I gather my single backpack and purse/bag. (He comments that this is too much, I should only have one bag...but I have the least luggage of anyone in our group, nearly.) He drops me off in front of Jadyn's apartment building. I meet McKenze's family and their luggage at the metro. They are already there when I arrive with Jadyn and her mom, who is also here to go on vacation with our group. What a sight on the metro in Moscow! A loud American family with 8 people, and enough luggage for an entire nation, I think.

Day 2: St. Petersburg

Surprise! A day in St. Petersburg. Gulya failed to mention that we would have time in this city. I sleep surprising well on the train. It's an open compartment, but there are beds. It is my first time sleeping on the train. In St. Petersburg, we store our luggage at the train station and set off sightseeing for the day. We leave the train station and walk down Nevsky Prospekt. We see Kazan cathedral, then the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. Some of us go inside. I am one who pays to see the incredibly colorful and prolific murals on the interior. On the outside, it looks like St. Basil's in Moscow. I get separated from the group and wander around for some time, looking at a small open-air souvenir market. I am relieved to meet up with Jadyn and her mother when they exit the cathedral. They tell me where the group is meeting (I forgot), and we go there. We run into the missionaries on Nevsky Prospekt. We wait for McKenze's family there while the rest of the group goes ahead to St. Isaac's cathedral. I again separate with the group when we reach St. Isaac's and go to the colonnade, climbing hundreds of stairs to a panoramic view of the city from all directions. A pair of Russian ladies ask me to take a picture for them. I can not figure out where the zoom on the digital camera they give me is, and I don't possess the words to ask, so the picture is very bad. I escape hurriedly after clicking the photo. We see a statue to Peter the Great in a huge park and head to the Palace Square. We see the Hermitage. We meet more elders who are serving there. It is so large that I could spend days in there. I look around with Travis and Andy from Moscow 3. We fall asleep on a bench. We are so tired. We then eat at Yolki Polki, a Russian traditional restaurant. We stay there for a long time. Then we return to the train station to retrieve our luggage and wait for the bus. I am homesick for my host family. It is a strange feeling.

St. Petersburg is the most European city I have seen in Russia. Peter the Great may be satisfied to know that it has remained this way, the way he built it. People say Moscow is westernized, but when I go to St. Petersburg, I don't believe them. I am impressed by the amount of restaurants and bookstores they have here, as well as younger people.

Day 3: Helsinki, Finland

We passed the border in a large tour bus. I feel like we are refugees fleeing from Russia as we pass through long lines to go through customs in the middle of the night. All in all, there are 43 people in our tour group. All of the ILP teachers in Moscow and a bunch of Russians, too. We arrive in Finland rather early on Sunday morning. The town seems abandoned. We do a sightseeing tour from the bus. We stop at a park with a monument to the composer Sibelius, a Finnish composer. Then we have free time. We see the city slowly come to life as the day progresses, but it still seems abnormally quiet. It is rather small. We eat in a mall and I get Chinese food. We walk around the city and look around at some stores, the ones that are open. I buy sunglasses for one euro at a small 'euro' store. The Finnish man who clerks the store gives Andy advice about healing the scab on her cheek in perfect English. We get on the bus again and drive to Turku. We stop at the Turku Cathedral there. Then we make our way to the terminal where our ferry will come. The boat is huge. It is like a cruise. We go to the top deck and see the boat leave the shore. We are heading to Sweden. We explore the boat and eat dinner at a buffet on the boat. I eat from the others' plates and do not buy anything. We watch the sunset on the water from the windows in the restaurant. We buy huge Toblerones, one dark chocolate and one milk chocolate, from the Tax Free Shop on the ship and we play Scum. Our cabin is as small as the compartment on the train, but it has a door.

Day 4, 5, 6: Stockholm, Sweden

We arrive in Sweden and get on the bus to get into Stockholm. We sightsee by bus and make some stops in the city. We see the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace. It is not very impressive. Maya, the tour guide, takes us to a restaurant where the food is very expensive. There are about 7 Swedish kroons to one dollar, and the lunch was 120 kroons. We walk down the street and find a few restaurants. I stop in an Italian deli and buy lasagna. I don't know until I start eating it that it is fish lasagna. I like fish, and I like lasagna, but not together. I don't want to throw it away but I don't eat any more. We go to the hotel and I carry it with me there. The hotel is quite nice. The first night we stay there, we have a movie night in our room. We watch John Tucker Must Die, The Sentinel, The Devil Wears Prada, and The Lakehouse. (None of them all the way through. They are all stupid movies, I think, but it is fun to watch them.) I fall asleep during The Sentinel. The others turn off the TV as they leave. The next day, we go to Skansen. It is an open-air museum, somewhere in between zoo and amusement park and museum. It is too early in the season for much to be open, but we walk around and see some Scandinavian animals and glassblowing, which is cool. Some go to a city called Uppsalla, but it is too expensive and I go with some others and wander around Stockholm. We wander the streets all day and get to know the city a bit. We meet the missionaries in Stockholm. Emily and I get our hair cut at a small salon on a street corner. We figure it is safe because they speak English. Everyone in Scandinavia knows English. This is very different from Moscow. The girl that cuts my hair gives me a trim and cuts off several inches from my hair. In the evening, we go back to the hotel and try to go to Ikea for Swedish meatballs. It is closed. We go back to the hotel and I go to bed. The next morning, we go to the temple. We go into the temple cafeteria and the temple president speaks to us about temples in English. A few of the Russians that are with us are not members. "Yet," he says, and we all laugh. There is some confusion about whether we can stay, but we can. I don't change my clothes and I enter the temple to the baptistery in jeans. There is a man and his son there, too. He baptizes in Russian. They are from St. Petersburg but now live in Finland. I am baptized in English by Katie's dad (another family member who came to Moscow for our vacation). I am glad for this opportunity. In the afternoon, we walk around Stockholm again, shopping and sightseeing. That night we take the ferry back to Turku. This ferry is older. Some people go to the discotheque until the wee hours of the morning, but I don't even explore this ship. I change my clothes and go to sleep.

Day 7: Helsinki to Tallin

We are back in Helsinki but we do not have much time here. In the morning, we see a stone church. Most of the day is spent organizing the ferry to Estonia. Katie's dad is leaving from Helsinki tonight and she struggles with the separation. The tour doesn't include Estonia. Those who are going to Estonia break with the rest of the group. We catch a ferry boat in the late afternoon. It doesn't take very long. When we arrive in Tallin, we find our hostile. We exchange money and eat dinner at McDonald's. Many speak English here, as well. I am starting to hear Russian again. It is weird to be able to understand some of the foreign words that people are speaking, but almost more frustrating than not understanding anything because I don't understand all. The hostile is dorm style. I am staying here with Katie, Dan, and Christine, also teachers in Moscow 1. There is a computer in a lobby here and we use it to e-mail. We meet some Americans while we are in this hostile. Two are in the navy, stationed in Italy. When we ask them what there is to see in Tallin, they tell us about bars, mostly.

Day 8, 9: Tallin

Tallin is a medieval city. We see a historical museum which mostly includes things about Estonia under Soviet rule and gaining independence, etc. We get the idea that the Russians weren't very kind to their Soviet territories. We try to take a tour of Old Town. It says to meet a specific street corner in the free guide book we picked up at the boat terminal. When we go to this corner, there is no one here. An elderly lady with a name tag finds us and begins speaking to us. She says she doesn't know about the tour we are talking about but offers to give us a tour of the secret passages underground. She quickly becomes one of our favorite people. She gives tours in four languages and speaks English well. We eat at a nice Italian restaurant in Tallin. I try lasagna again and am familiar with what I get, so I am satisfied. We go shopping and enter a store called Metro. Katie and Christine go to the hostile to get something and drop the leftover pizza from the restaurant off. Dan and I stay in the store a long time. I buy a jacket. Finally, we head back to the hostile. I hope to meet Katie and Christine on the way but we don't see them. When we get back, I tell Dan that I am staying. He leaves and I lay on the bed and read a book for a while. McKenze's family comes. I go with them--they go shopping and then I see their apartment. It is very nice and feels American. There is a room with a TV in couches. I go back to the hostile by myself and get lost for a while. It is our last night in Tallin. In the morning I go by myself to get money. I find a grocery store and buy fruit for breakfast. Then Katie and I go to the beach with a couple of teachers from Moscow 3. We come back and go souvenir shopping. We also go inside the Nigulste church. We see part of the original of "Dance Macabre" by Bernt Notke in this church. This city is very old. There is a clock from the 14th century. Katie takes a picture of me standing in front of it. The streets are cobblestone everywhere in Old Town and the buildings, all different colors. At 4, we go to the train station. The driver of the van that takes us is like a Muscovite driver. The train leaves at 5:10. We wait at the train station and board. There are no beds on this train.

Day 10: We arrive back in Moscow at 9:30 in the morning. It is Sunday again. General Conference has begun in the states. I am not sure what to expect when I go back to my host family's. I think they have forgotten me by now. I left my plug adapter with the fish lasagna in Sweden so I have to steal one from Jadyn's apartment. I am hoping for mail and am partially satisfied. My new ATM card has finally arrived. It is a relief to be able to get money in Russia when I need it. Luckily in the other countries, I could use my credit card when I needed to. It is warm in Moscow and drier than when we left. I walk home and get to my host family's around 11 AM. They greet me happily, but it feels like they didn't miss me. I can tell they have not been speaking English while I was gone. My host mother tells me that they have been drinking kakarde without me, though.

I am not sure how to feel about being back in Moscow. In some ways, I wish I could go back to America. My time here is dictated and slightly more than halfway over. Sweden, Finland, and even Estonia felt more western. Moscow is a rather unfriendly city for Americans and rather unnavigable to those who do not speak Russian. 2 months feels like a long time. In other ways, this place feels like home. The place that I am is at least familiar. At my host father's suggestion, I shower and take a nap. The bed is not soft, but it is familiar. I come home and resume my old habits.

01 April 2007

You know you aren't in America when...

An item at a 'euro' store, also in Helsinki. Why not 50 knives?

A sign on a record store in a basement mall. Helsinki, Finland.

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