Monday, May 30, 2011

Starting to Begin

Today is really sort of a pre-travel day where Russia is concerned.  Today is the day when I am travelling back from Greenville to Detroit in order to give myself plenty of time before our Tuesday night departure for the mother country.  Because I do not trust airlines as far as I can check my bags for free, I decided against flying back the day of the departure.  I felt like, even if I left myself 12 hours between landing in Detroit and leaving for Paris, I was asking for trouble.  So I booked my flight today… for 6:25am.  I don’t remember booking such an early flight, but they let me get on it, so I’m assuming I did.  And I didn’t really put it together that I would be travelling on Memorial Day.  So poor Rick had to get up at 4:30 on his day off to drive me to the airport.  Oops. So here I am in the Charlotte airport, listening to some guy in a baseball cap play the guitar while his be-mulletted pal looks on with great admiration.  The man sitting over by the window snores softly into his neck pillow.  One of the women in the unfortunate yellow polo shirts takes a break from hocking US Airways credit cards to sing some soulful blues tune.  Oh my… now a woman has stopped to chat with them.  She doesn’t seem to have any interest in a credit card; rather she seems to want an excuse to hear her own voice.  Today is her birthday, and was her grandparents’ anniversary as well.  I think she’s talking about her highlights and possibly having her eyebrows done as well.  The yellow-shirted women think that she looks like Liza Minelli.  And she kinda does.  But she swears that Liza is older than she is.  And now we’re lamenting Judy Garland’s hard life.  AH!  And now we’ve found our way into the credit card pitch. Oh wait… now we’re getting Looks-like-Liza’s full travel history.  Her brother lives in California, her daughter goes to school in Michigan, and she can’t believe they have See’s candies here in the airport.  They’re great!  She won’t buy them because she can’t eat candy, but still. I must say, I feel sort of bad for the ladies in the unfortunate yellow.  They really put a lot of time into that one, and all they got for their trouble was a referral to a candy store.  I’ll have to enjoy eavesdropping while I can, since I have a feeling I will find it a more difficult past time in Russia. 

Friday, May 27, 2011


So today began the packing extravaganza in preparation for spending a month in Moscow.  I’m going to be gone for a month and I feel this need to pack for every possible scenario.  I’ll be in acting classes and dance classes, walking 30 minutes back and forth between the dorm, going to the theatre almost every night.  I need normal clothes, workout clothes, theatre-going clothes.  I need walking shoes, dance shoes and dressy shoes.  I need to bring cold and headache meds that I can’t necessarily get hold of in Russia.  I need my computer and my camera.  I’m bringing breakfast bars for those times when there just isn’t a vegetarian option.  I’ve got all the plug adapters.  Shampoo, toothpaste, etc., etc., etc… it feels like there’s always something else to stick into the suitcase.  I don’t want to over pack, I don’t want to have too much to carry, but I don’t want to be missing something important.  It’s going to make my head explode.  Of course, the most helpful part of this process is when my cat, freaking out about the presence of a suitcase, sits on top of it, in it and around it at every possible opportunity.  And she won’t just jump off when I go to open the lid.  She sits there until it is physically impossible for her to do so anymore.  I explain to her that she won’t be going anywhere, but (since she’s a cat) this doesn’t seem to provide any solace.  This was the most boring blog post ever.  Oh yeah. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Learning Russian

It turns out that learning a whole new language - complete with funky alphabet - isn’t such an easy undertaking.  Off and on since I decided I would be spending a month in Moscow with Wayne State University, I have been attempting to shoehorn some knowledge of Russian into my already extremely crowded brain.  So far, I have pretty well figured out the Russian alphabet, which allows me to pronounce Russian words very very slowly.  I can ask a couple of rudimentary questions, I can say "I don’t speak Russian" and "I don’t eat meat" (I think… I put that sentence together on my own).  I can count to five and respond to being asked "How are you?"  I continue to slowly plow through my Russian book, learning bits of grammar that I am absolutely not retaining, and teeny pieces of vocabulary that end up being all but inapplicable if I remember them at all.  I know I won’t have much spare time, I won’t be wandering around the streets of Russia on my own all that much, but I like to have some degree of understanding of the language.  Of course, the little pieces of German that I picked up over the years are directly interfering with my teeny weeny acquisition of Russian.  I’m going to be speaking word salad to people and understanding even less.  So here’s hoping I don’t have to bail any of the undergrads out of jail… because I’m pretty sure that scenario is not in my phrase books.