Sunday, June 2, 2013

Day 1... part 3

So… here I am… back in Moscow.  How bizarre to feel this familiar with a place this foreign.  It was a long day of travel, with a short layover in New York, and then a 9 ½ hour flight to Moscow.  Sleeping on the plane proved difficult, so I watched the blockbuster hit The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and the actual worthwhile piece of cinema, Anna Karenina.  This year our overseas flight was Delta rather than Air France, and let me just say, I felt the difference.  Service was far more casual and far less service-like.  Our snack was served in plastic bag.  The headphones they gave us did not fit the headphone jacks on the plane.  Boy howdy… give me a European-owned airline any day!
We arrived in Moscow to the brand new terminal, which is absolutely gorgeous.  And they have automated some steps to the immigration process that made life a lot easier.  While we were standing in the terminal, one of the group members thought she heard my name paged.  Of course, that couldn’t be the case.  But it turns out… it was.  Yup – our escort from the MXAT couldn’t find us, and paged me.  Unfortunately we didn’t realize that, so we just stood there waiting until JT searched the terminal and found the other door that we could have come out of where we We met up with Борис, loaded up our way too tiny for us bus, and made the drive to the dorm.  I was pleased to discover that we were on the 3rd floor rather than the 5th, as I had been emailed the week before.  When you’re lugging your bags on almost no sleep, those last two floors become your Everest. 
We sorted out rooms and got everyone settled before taking the gang on a tour of the grocery stores in the area, and then we walked them down to the school and back just to give them a frame of reference.  Then we were on our own for a few hours, so we did a little Starbucks lurking so we could let our folks know we had indeed survived the trip – we probably won’t get internet access in the dorm until Monday.  At which point, I suppose, I will post this.  So… I guess that’s a little moot*.  But hey… whatcha gonna do?  At any rate, I earned my keep today leading our way from place to place, helping some students change their money and do their shopping, sorting out keys and rooms with the dorm ladies – feeling so very Russian all the way.
I made a little fried egg sandwich (having been taught to fry an egg before leaving for the airport – Thanks Brian!), and we laughed and chatted through our exhaustion before heading downstairs for a little movement primer to get everyone ready for classes.
After the primer, the grad student ladies decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather, and we went out to Corner Burger (yup…that’s just what it’s called) for a little food and beer.  I’m not so good with metric measurements, so when she asked if wanted the big or the small beer, I shrugged and decided I had earned a big beer.  Well…she wasn’t kidding!  Definitely two hands required to navigate that puppy.  Then it was a hard crash and a very solid night’s sleep.  It’s a slow start, which is good, giving everyone a chance to get acclimated.  But as I told them… Monday we’re going to get fired out of a cannon, and we’ll hit the wall on July 1.

* Okay… actually I’m posting this from a Starbucks.  So… there that is.

PS - my super sad realization as I unpacked? In all the changing from this bag to that bag to this one again... my pedometer got left at home!  Now I'll never know how far I walked each day!  Sadness!  

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