The title, Добро пожаловать в русский язык, means “Welcome to the Russian Language.”
Yes, you don’t have to tell me. It has been more than a while since my last post. Winter break is about to come to an end for me, so I figured I better write something to preface my last semester abroad. My return flight to Russia is on Saturday. Contrary to what you might assume, I’m actually excited to get back to Russia. The way my semester schedules worked out I had a month+ long winter break, and there is only so much time off before anyone may get a little stir-crazy. Yes, daily living can be hard there, whether it’s waiting at the bus stop for the маршрутка in negative degree weather, or trying to find coffee that isn’t acrid espresso. Most of all I’m excited to continue studying Russian in an immersion environment.
Quick overview of my winter break: Tay and I spent our first X-mas in London, and our second in Oklahoma over New Years. I say first and second X-mas because the American, westernized holiday is traditionally celebrated on the 25th of December, but in Russia it is celebrated during the first week of January. By this time of year in Russia the weather is so poor and there is so much snow, that everything closes down. People stock up on food and alcohol, and spend that week drinking, eating, and connecting with family and friends.
When we were in England I took Tay to Cambridge to meet two of my sisters and their families. We also met up with my cousin Scott who lives in Bournemouth. We spent a little over half a month there, but London is such a vast city that we both feel we only scratched the surface in terms of things to do. We AirBnB’d a one bedroom flat in Canary Wharf, with the only downside being the 15 minute or so walk to the local tube station. We went to the Houses of Parliament to try to sit in and observe, but unfortunately it was closed to visitors during the times we could have gone. We rode the London Eye, walked through Harrods, went to the London Museum of Natural History, visited a few pubs, and explored as much as we could. We even tried to go get some borsch one night, but unfortunately that restaurant required reservations. It was nice to be greeted with a now familiar здравствуйте (“zdrast-vui-tyeah” formal version of hello).
We left London on the 27th, and arrived in Kansas. I’d never visited this part of America before, but I think the couple of pictures in this post accurately sum-up what the majority of the midwest is like. We went to Tay’s Grandma’s house, where she put on quite the feast. I got to meet most of Tay’s family including her mom and dad. I ate biscuits and gravy for the first time, which were delicious. Yes, I did get some Chipotle Mexican Grill when I got back to America, and it was amazing.
I had someone email me the other day who is about to study abroad, wondering about culture shock upon returning to the United States. We receive diagrams and information packets about the re-adjustment process from the Study Abroad Office and the program administrators, but for the most part my return hasn’t been so dramatic. I have been eating a bit more because I lost so much weight after living in Russia. Other than that, no depression or feeling “out of place.” Maybe it will be different after next semester… As always feel free email me to ask me questions, or to make requests for things you would like me to do and report my experiences.