Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Keep the car running...

A whole week since my last post… And it’s been a fun week <3  Karelian dancing is becoming more fun as people are getting used to us, and we are bonding with the locals J  one of them attempted to teach me to waltz yesterday, without much success, I admit, but he tried…  I will learn it before Monday.  Still far too many girls in the group though, we have to sit out a lot, but I finally got some photos of us!  And a video, but stupid internet won’t let me put it up… 

The reason I’m learning for Monday not Thursday is …. I’m getting a haircut on Thursday!  Yay!  I may end up with a mullet.  Or one of those very short European fringes. Or both…  we will see.  This is going to be a challenge, I can feel it… but the wonderful Marina has been invaluable – she booked me an appointment at her hairdressers, and has promised to come with me… Everything will be fine J
this is not my mullet.

This weekend was a fun party weekend ^_^  on Saturday we went to Marina’s (my haircut companion <3) for a party.  We drank beer and played twister and MAFIA… I still don’t really understand that game, but it’s fun J  I lost at twister though, epic fail  I suppose balancing isn’t really my forte. 

Sunday, slightly hungover, Rob and I went to (finally) meet my doppelganger!  Yay!  She isn’t really my doppelganger, but still, weirdly, she is called Katja and has my date of birth…  close enough to be weird…  She was very nice, and works as a secretary of a political party, which is interesting, and speaks SUCH GOOD ENGLISH.  It’s not fair, I want to speak foreign…  In fairness, I did have a proper conversation with Pani Marta after polish today, although it was very confusing for everyone involved.

Then, Sunday night, still slightly hungover, I joined a game of NITE LIGA (russian link).  Apparently others have heard of it under the name of Encounter… I don’t know, never heard of that either… it’s like a treasure hunt, you get given clues which lead you to an address in the city, where you find a code, written on a drainpipe or something, and you phone the code through and get given the next clue.  Normally it’s done in cars, but on Sunday we did it on foot.  Three hours running around the city in the dark, solving Russian language cryptic clues.  Needless to say, I was a liability I think am sure, but it was fun.  And it helped me kind of learn my way around.  Kind of.  Hey, I’ve only been here a month.  But now my legs ache.  And I have a cold, because I didn’t wear a scarf.  I want a bacon sandwich. 
as if i just googleimagesed bacon sandwich...

Sunday, 25 September 2011

what a way to make a living...

So I’ve kind of abandoned this blog thing, sorry about that <3  but on the other hand, people are pestering me to update it, which is a nice feeling J  this week has been musical – last Saturday we went to a couchsurfing meeting (so many people there, for such a small town) and one of the girls we met does karelian folk dancing, and invited us along ^_^ so that’s what we did both Monday and Thursday,

This is big news, as the last time I did country dancing I ended up with a dislocated kneecap and a month in plaster…  but it was fun :) what we lack in finesse, we make up for with enthusiasm I think. 

(not my knee)

And then Friday and Saturday was Carelian Faces festival (link) ^_^  I was under the impression that it was a folk festival, but it was very mixed.  It was very bizarre, as the actual thing at Das Kapital finished at about 10pm, but then everyone went to a different club for the afterparty, where the bands who were playing on the other day played… generally I preferred the music on the Friday, but then everything was made better by CAROLINE, the fantastic glam rock band from I think Finland, who were just amazing (especially when they played 9 to 5) <3 Lucy and I both fell in love with the lead singer, but I saw him at the bar at the afterparty, and he was quite short, which made me sad.  He still had perfect cheekbones though.

he was prettier in the flesh...
Also at that party I got all offended because of a Zambian Rastafarian, which was a first.  He had done sets both nights talking about respecting this, and respecting that, and old people, and middle aged people, and children (but none of that Michael Jackson stuff), although at one point he did suggest we burn the Queen, which was a bit far, I thought.  Anyway, I decided to put that behind me, and when I saw him at the party I liked his hair, and I told him.  I don’t care’ - that was the response I got.  What do you say to that?  I’m not sure how I responded, but I was really offended… I’m not sure if I committed some horrendous faux pas, or if he was just rude, but either way, misery guts…

Monday, 12 September 2011

I just made this all colourful, and then I lost it... Imagine it's colourful <3
Well that was impossible…  I just had my first Polish class, yay <3  not exactly what I was expecting, but it was just nice to hear some polish…  It’s a beginners’ class, so we were doing pronunciation and basic things like that, but at the same time it was IMPOSSIBLE – we have Pani Valentina, who is Russian, and Pani Marta, who is Polish, and doesn’t speak much Russian (2 teachers to 3 of us though, <3). 

So throughout the class Pani Marta would be talking all in polish, and then Valentina would explain stuff in Russian.  Already I’m at a disadvantage.  Then we did an exercise ‘what does this mean’, so they wanted me to take a Polish word, and put it into Russian…  And then I didn’t understand what they said at the end, but I think they will email me some homework, so I can ask then…  I thought it was such a relief to hear polish, where I at least understood most of what she was saying, in class anyway, but when I got out of class and went to a kiosk, I found myself relieved to be speaking Russian again…  basically, I’m buggered…

But anyway, back to the point of this post.  The point is… [fanfare please]  <3 RUSSIAN FOOD <3
Personally, I like it, but I would prefer it if she sometimes didn’t tell me what was in it…  Last night at dinner we had this amazing baked fish thing, and I asked her what it was called, and she said ‘I made it up.  It’s just cod, tomatoes, mayonnaise and cheese.’ 
·         We have a lot of carp here.  I think it’s carp anyway.  It’s white and bony and comes from the lake. 
·         I think the mystery meat is generally pork.  Generally.  Or maybe turkey :/
·         It’s true that they don’t involve vegetables in meals, but there is always a plate of salad from the vegetable patch on the table (bacon, eggs and dill pickles for breakfast, anyone?), and there are markets selling dirt cheap watermelon everywhere.
·         Breakfast is always an event.  This seems to depend on the host, but Irina makes hot food every morning, even if it’s just instant porridge.  At the moment all that hot food first thing is a bit oppressive, especially as there’s nothing to wash it down with but scalding hot tea, but I think in winter I will really appreciate it.
·         They don’t drink much.  I don’t mean alcohol – I’m sitting in a cafĂ© at 10am and loads of people are drinking beer – but just liquid.  You can’t drink tap water, but they don’t seem to have an alternative.  We have tea with or after meals, but that’s it.
·         They have a mental sweet tooth, these Russians.  Irina puts 3 spoons of sugar in her tea, and after dinner for pudding we just have jam.  Just jam.  Homemade, but that just means it’s a little crunchy…  you have it in a saucer, with a teaspoon.  It’s bizarre, but quite nice. 
So yeah, in all, I like the food here J  I was a bit unsure before we came, having heard mental horror stories, but it’s not so bad.  Glad I’m not vegetarian though.  Or allergic to something…

Friday, 9 September 2011

first day on a brand new planet

So, we've lasted nearly a WEEK <3 nice one, go team :)

My host's name is Irina, and she's very lovely, she works in the university so she knows all the goings on and most of our teachers.  We also live with her sister Tamara and her poodle (complete with pompoms) called Irma.  Our flat is quite small, but *thankfully* on the ground floor, which is great until someone walks through the park as i'm getting changed (x>_<x)  but it's ok. 

i'm not so good at photographing rooms...
that's my room <3  the lessons are fun, we do a mixture of all sorts, and I can feel myself improving, which is good  yay! \ (^_^) / 
the town is small, but lovely, I think, there are a few nice places to go and the lake is beautiful.  At the moment anyway... one of our teachers suggested taking a picture of it every day, and while I can't quite be bothered to do that, I will try to take lots.

 Some of us went out on a Grand Russian Finding Mission on tuesday.  it was a lot of fun, but we suffered for it the next day.  And we were successful!  Hurrah!  I hope this is the start of many great adventures <3

Friday, 2 September 2011

The Final Countdown...

This is it then I guess...  I'm packed (ish), my passport's in my bag, my roubles are in my purse and I've said goodbye to nearly everyone, some people twice.  Now I'm just sort of sitting and waiting until it's late enough to go to bed - I'm getting up at 3am after all.

Rachel got me an Edward Monkton card  /\ and journal, which was super sweet of her, and got everyone to sign it, which was sweet even if Bomb signed it while I was thereNow I feel sort of obliged to keep a journal though :)  I will do my best \ (^_^) /

Sian and I went to see One Day on Wednesday, and I admit, I loved it.  Yes it was predictable, and yes, Anne Hathaway's yorkshire (?) accent was appalling, but it was nice.  A bit like Atonement, but with a happier ending.  And it had Romola Garai in it, and I think she's fantastic.  She seems to have suddenly appeared in a lot of stuff I've seen recently (Glorious 39 and The Hour e.g.) but IMDb says she's been doing a fair bit for the last ten years. 

Also, if I start spouting conspiracy theories anytime soon, it's because I've started reading WikiLeaks... you should too <3

Friday, 26 August 2011

seagulls screaming kiss her kiss her

ooh, new blog <3  I've lost count of how many times i've started a new blog...  this time it's powered by something beyond my own self indulgence though, so perhaps it's a keeper :)  someone pointed out to me that by writing what I'm doing, I won't have to keep telling people, so read and enjoy then <3  I have a feeling it's going to be [disappointingly] boring, perhaps I will ...make some stuff up occasionally :)

I went to a spa for a few days with mum this week, as a sort of >>mother daughter bonding exercise<<, before I leave \ ('o') /.  I had a lovely time, and we did lots of different things, and I'm a little ashamed that the first thing that comes to mind that I did was tried rollmops.  It wasn't perhaps the best part of the trip, but certainly the one that's clearest in my mind...
Year abroad is getting scarily close...  I have
  • visa
  • roubles ordered
  • a landlady called Irina
  • mittens, knit by my own fair hand
  • an umbrella

my mittens of awesomeness

still no suitcase though...  there's time yet.  time which I waste knitting at the moment, I have knit those mittens, a scarf, a sweater, half  a bedspread, and I think seven and a bit socks.  I say 7 and a bit because at the moment I have this:

I think I'm going to miss being beside the sea, even though I haven't been to the beach for a very long time.  It's more the idea of it, I guess, knowing that I can go any time I want...  I keep thinking of things that I want to do this summer, and I only have a week left to do them, it's not going to happen, I want to make jam, to go scrumping, to go to the beach and swim in the sea, and many other summery sort of things...  but instead I'm sitting in my house, wearing my kigu and knitting socks....
it is a nice beach...