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.)

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