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Saturday, June 11, 2011

First Days In Moscow

 So where should I start. The flight was not too bad, free on-flight movies. My friend Joe and I got emergency exit seats in Economy plus so there was some more leg room. When we landed at Domodedovo, there was a big culture shock. After passing through immigration and customs, we walked into the main room of the airport where there was a huge congregation of people waiting for those who had just landed. It was pretty chaotic. Then we got on a bus, and just as the driver was pulling out of the dirt parking lot, he ran into a car! It was my first Russian experience haha. I was surprised that they actually exchanged insurance info. It took two hours to get into the city of Moscow from the airport because traffic was so bad, but we saw a lot of dachas on the way. The outskirts of the town are pretty ghetto and dirty, so it was not a great first impression. However, further down the road I got to see the Moscow river and the massive skyscraper of Moscow state university. We finally reached the dorms and luckily I got put in a room with two guys I know pretty well from the orientation. It gets really hot at night and the time change has thrown me off, but overall the dorms have been ok. I like the shower but the toilets are designed funny and our toilet keeps running. The building is pretty safe, there is a security guard you have to show your id to everytime coming into the building and you have to leave your key with the lady at the desk. So maybe dont show mom the next part. On the first afternoon we were there, my stomach started hurting really bad and cramping up. Our RD was showing us around the neighborhood and I felt like I couldn't walk any further cause I was in so much pain. I had no water either and I was really dehydrated. I was sweating prefusely and I thought I was going to pass out, but that was not an option on the streets of Moscow. I literally thought I was going to die haha. This guy from the program, Dane, was very nice and went back to the dorms with me. I bought water on the way, and I started to feel better and calm down. I laid down for a bit and took advil ( I wasnt sure which one was the stomach medicine...what is it called dad?) After an hour or so, Dane and I went out to get some food and we met up with another guy, Cody, on the way to the restaurant Yolki-Palki, where I successfully ordered borsch in the Russian. After dinner we walked all the way down the main street Tverskaya to Red Square. It was beautiful at that time because the sun was setting. It did not get dark until 11:30 or so, and it really threw off my sense of time. On Saturday I had to go to the bank and exchange money, and I went to this stand to buy blintzes. It was not too expensive and very good. Then toured the university's main building, which is very nice and modern looking. After this, we went to order photos for our student id's, and I bought a phone. My telephone number is +7 (964) 629-53-14. To call me from the US, you have to dial 011-7-9646295314. If you call me, I don't pay for it I believe. I feel much better that I now have a phone. I also bought a metro pass for unlimited use for 30 days, so I can use that whenever. The metro was not to busy, but it was Saturday. My favorite metro station was Ploschad Revolutsii. Here, they have bronze statues of soldiers, and it looks really cool. Last night the group went out to an Italian restaurant called Il Patio, where our RD organized us to meet some Russians. There I met a girl named Zhenya, who studies at Moscow State. I am not going to lie, she is very pretty, and I think she was interested in talking to me because I could understand a lot of what she said. After dinner, the Russian girls led our group around Red Square and the river, and there's so many beautiful building and cathedrals. Zhenya and I walked together, and I had a tough time understanding her because she spoke so fast, but she was very nice and helpful. She is going to be a tutor for our program, so I hope she becomes mine :). To sum this up, I have only been here for two days, but it was felt like I have been here for a week. I now feel more comfortable, and things don't feel as foreign. Tonight I am meeting my host family, so I am looking forward to see my new neighborhood.  

DG

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