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.

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