Selasa, 28 Juni 2011

372 days later…

So, if my calculations are correct it has been 372 days since I was last in Russia and almost 5 months since I last blogged. Woops, my bad.

I will blame this lack of blogging mainly on the TERROR of final year (which, by the way, I have now completed with a 2.1!!! *glowswithhappiness* However I also think a lack of inspiration could be somehow to blame for my blogging discrepancies. So to put this right I have done the only thing possible…


I’ve explained everything I’ll be doing in my last post so I don’t wanna repeat myself (… or make this blog super long)

So on Saturday Anabelle and I (along with the 22 students we are in charge of!) landed in St Petersburg. We swiftly introduced them into the Russian way of doing things by cramming them all onto minibuses way too small to fit both 24 people and 24 suitcases. Then a quick 5 hour wait in a train station and they were ready to experience their first ever overnight Russian train.

Waiting at the station.
I always think that I will sleep well on overnight trains; that the motion will rock me to sleep. But I am always wrong. The hard beds make it impossible to find a comfortable position. Anyone who has ever had to share a bed with me will know I move around loads until I am at the optimum level of comfort for sleep, but I never seem to find it on train beds! So even though I was super tired after a long day of travelling I only managed to get about an hours sleep. Sob.

On arrival at Petrozavodsk the students had to face their worst fear – being put with the host families they will be staying with. I well remember the look of fear in their faces as they got off the train from when I first went to Petrozavodsk, having no idea who I would be living with. Fortunately I lived with the loveliest woman in the whole of Russia and her equally lovely daughter – Lyudmila and Olga, who I am staying with again.

Sunday mainly revolved around equipping the students with Russian phones and SIM cards so they could communicate with Anabelle and I in emergencies. Sounds a simple enough task but it involved me buying 8 new phones and 24 new SIM cards from 2 different shops (the first one ran out of SIMs!). Good practise for my Russian though.

Yesterday the students started university with a lovely surprise test. Which, to be honest, Anabelle and I are to blame for as when the university asked us how to split them into 3 classes we had no idea so suggested a quick grammar test (sorry guys!) We spent the day organising various things with the university and then went to the cinema to see The Hangover 2 (in Russian!) with Olga.

So far returning to Russia has shown me two things:

Firstly, that being in Russia feels completely normal. Me and Anabelle both found it so weird that in fact going to Russia didn’t feel weird. We feel completely at home! Even more so for me that I am back in the first flat I ever lived in in Russia, in MY Russian bedroom! When we got to the flat Lyudmilla said, “Sarah, put your rucksack in your room,” like I had never been away.

Secondly, I am actually astonished by how capable I am in Russian. For the last year I have felt that my Russian language is pretty bad but actually it really isn’t! At university most of our assessments were centred on grammar and my Russian grammar is terrible (as is my English to be honest) and so my marks were never very high. However here I have already managed to understand an entire film in Russian, buy 24 SIM cards in Russian, have conversations with new people in Russian and liaise with a Russian university… and it’s only been 2 days!

Anyway, I don’t want this post to be any longer so that’s all for now. I promise you won’t have to wait 5 months for the next one!

Oh, PS, Anabelle has already been defacing the town with her surname tag…

(NOTE: Anabelle did not actually do this... another Smith had beaten her to it.)