Tuesday, November 29, 2005

It's back, I think...

My ability to write in an understandable way has returned, or at least I think it has. In all honesty, it probably hasn't but oh well. I'm still having trouble writing creatively, even though I have a million different ideas rolling around in my head. If you've ever wondered why I'm silent a lot of the times, well here's your answer: I have a billion and one things floating haphazardly in my head, so its often hard to pick one out and focus on that...most of the time when I do, it has nothing to do with anything. This is why instead of opening my mouth, I remain silent, which many of you think is rude. Its not rude, it would be rude if I always said the first thing that comes to my mind -well, it wouldn't be rude but many of you would stop talking to me all together. Moving on, see what did I tell you, I let one little thing out of my head and it makes no sense at all. Perhaps, I'm finally crossing that threshold I fought off for so long. Oh well, good-bye sanity, you're over rated anyway.

Blah, blah, blah, that's what everything in my head is telling me right now. I'm sorry if you read that first paragraph and didn't understand a damn word I was saying. Truthfully, I just wrote it and completely forgot what it was about or how it had to do with anything that I set out to write. Let's ignore the preceding paragraph and focus on what's to come. Ok, give me a minute to think of what to write. So much has happened since the last time I wrote anything substantial on this blog. It's a lot harder to keep a blog updated than one would think. Sorry, I just got distracted because the light right above my head is going out, and it's making this nifty little light show above my head. I'm totally distracted by it right now...you see how my mind works. I deal with this everyday: Now its even worse because at times, I'm thinking in three different languages!!!

The light show has ended so let me get down to business. If you're still reading this I apologize because so far it isn't making much sense. On the other hand, its your dumbass that keeps reading. God, get a life! Joking! Don't get all offended and hurt... Man, I can't write in peace here, because I was once again drawn away from this entry. It seems like something doesn't want me to finish this blog. I don't know why, but I keep getting interrupted. First, the light, which is still flickering and casting an empty echo down my way, and then I got like three text messages all in a row. Its really inconvenient for someone who isn't used to testing to text, I just want to know why they just can't call me?...it may have something to do with the fact that I still sound like I'm going to kill myself when I'm talking on the phone (something will never change).

Two months down, and little less than five to go. Its odd to think about such things. In a way I'm ready to return home now, but in a way I'm afraid to have to return in five months. Everything I left at home will still be there and many things will be the same way I left them, but I'll be very different. Not to mention the hundred and one things that I have to accomplish when I return. Like figuring out what I'm going to do with the rest of my life, including but not limited too applying for graduate schools, finding a new job/career, and picking up the pieces of my financial stability. I think about all these things and am frightened, so I have to stop myself and say, "hey, James. Calm down. You've got at least a good four months before you even have to worry about this crap." Yet, that doesn't always push the thoughts out of my mind. It makes me tired often to think about... I'll cross all those bridges when I get to them, even if I have to hike my pants up to my knees to get to the other side.

What's new with me? That's probably what many of you want to know. Sorry, its taken so long for me to get to that today. I have a lot of shit filling my head, so I had to expel some of it. My head is somewhat, and I use that word very loosely, clearer now. Hum...well I haven't done anything too exciting lately. Just living a normal life for me, here at least. I wake up go to classes or the department, work until about five everyday, and then hangout with someone or just go to my room to relax. The only eventful thing that even is registering in my mind is that in late December I'll be going to Moscow and taking the GRE (most likely). Alina is trying to apply for graduate school in the States, remember she attended undergraduate there for awhile, and so she must take the GRE. It works out just fine that she needs to take it, because now I have a study buddie, plus the chance to go to Moscow. Two birds, one stone. I get to go to Moscow and see the city, but at the same time I'm there on business as well. We're still trying to work out the details, but I'm sure we'll be there for Christmas, our Christmas that is.

Other than that, I've just shared a lot of time hanging out with many different people. I met a guy, a friend of Dima's, who lived in the States for 9 years when he was younger and he still has the accent. It really threw me off at first to talk with him, because I felt that I was speaking with someone from home. Every time I heard him speak Russian to the other guys, I had to stop and think, "yes James, you're still in Russia." It was good to talk with him though, because its just nice to hear a voice that sounds familiar.

Well, I guess that's it for now. See I told you I it wasn't spectacular. However, maybe when I go to Moscow, I'll have more new things to report. I'm settling down here, and everything is just becoming a part of life, well my Russian life.

Monday, November 28, 2005

My Russian Thanksgiving...

My ability to write is escaping me at the present moment, and everything I do write sounds horrible. This is why, I'm only going to post some pictures from my Thanksgiving and not say a whole lot about it. I had a great time, and speaking with my family was the highlight of it. I miss home a lot, but not enough to want to return. I just wish that I wasn't so far away for the holidays. I'm doing great though, and having a lot of fun. When I get rid of this writer's block that I've got going on, which hopefully will be in a few days (the fog is breaking so it won't be long), I'll write all about my recent adventure. One thing that you'll be able to look forward to is that I've meet a Russian boy, who lived in the States for about 9 years, and has a very strong American accent. For now though, enjoy these pictures:

P.S. For Sarah, and any other Vegan or vegetarian, I will warn you their is a picture of a cooked duck, so please be advised!

Photos (from top to bottom): Alina and her sister, Olya, preparing the feast. Alina and I viewing pictures from her trip to the Black Sea. Sasha, Olya's boyfriend, and Olya sharing a laugh. The yummy duck I got to eat... I told you Sarah, to look away!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Only Thing You Can Depend on is Your Family…

This is something I am becoming more and more aware of. Yet, your family can be made up of more than just blood relatives. Being away from home, and not really knowing a lot of people here, I am forming a new family. My new family is comprised of those few that care about my wellbeing, more than just the fact that I am “the American.” They are the few who are actually concerned with me being happy while in Russia; in fact, they are even going out of their way so that I may celebrate Thanksgiving. Alina mainly has taken it upon herself to give me a Thanksgiving. On Thursday, I get to look forward to a Thanksgiving dinner, plus a “surprise.” Although she could not find a turkey, she did find a duck and she’ll prepare that and many other things for me. I cannot express my gratitude to her enough, especially since she is very busy in her own life. For her to take such an interest in me, even though sometimes I can be a real ass, means the world to me. I was afraid that my Thanksgiving dinner would comprise of a Big Mac and fries, now I get to look forward to a real dinner. Not only has she been very kind to me, but her sister, Olya, has been as well. They both have taken such good care of me that I would be lost without them. Yet, they are not the only ones who make up my Russian family. Galina and Lucy both are respectively parts of my family. Galina has been more than helpful in my settling down here, and is the reason I have a phone to keep in contact with the few people I have met here. Not to mention, Galina has also connected me with a couple of Americans, who are here in Rostov, and have invited me to a Thanksgiving dinner on Friday. Can you believe that? I’m in Russia, and didn’t think I’d even get one Thanksgiving dinner but because how kind everyone is here I get two! Then Lucy, oh my Lucy…what can I say about her? Well, she is my best friend here, and although we don’t get to spend much time with each other anymore, I value her the most. She is the sister I never had. All these people are very important to me, and I don’t know how I would live here without any of them. Having a ‘family,’ I feel connected with here, makes even the bad days seem good. Although, my Thanksgiving day won’t be the same here as it would be at home, mostly because I’m working from 9am to 8pm, it will be one I’ll never forget. If I don’t get a chance to post something before then, I just wanted to tell all of you at home Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all have a wonderful day and that you are grateful for what you have, because others in the world aren’t as lucky! Have fun and remember me when you sit down for dinner, because all of you will be with me on Thursday. I love and miss all of you…

What I am Thankful for this Thanksgiving: (Okay, I know this is corny, but I don’t care!)
1. My life: A year ago, I would’ve never thought I’d be doing what I am, and actually enjoying it (for the most part…).
2. My family: Although I don’t get to talk or see them a lot now, I know that they are still with me and supporting me, which means the world to me.
3. My friends (both here and at home): I know I am a difficult person, so the fact that you are all still my friends is a shock to me.
4. The health of all those close to me: self-explanatory.
5. My Country: Okay, okay, so I’m not the biggest patriot out there, but I do appreciate the fact that in America we have so many things the rest of the world doesn’t…especially Taco Bell and Starbucks!
6. All the beautiful things in the world: poetry, people, music, nature, ect.
7. Those few people from home who e-mail me on a normal basis: No need to name, you know who you are. However, your e-mails always make me smile, and know that people care! Thanks, keep them coming.
8. The lady who cleans my room: So polite to knock on the door and understand I don’t speak Russian, plus clean towels are a plus!
9. Sophie, the girl who feeds me breakfast each morning: Again, we cannot communicate but she always makes sure I have enough to eat in the morning, because she thinks it’s my only meal of the day. It isn’t, but I only see her at breakfast.
10. Non-important but nice stuff to have: Taco Bell, Starbucks (hint, hint, for when I return!), movies in English, television shows in English, Madonna’s new album, Garbage (especially for helping me find Kristin), money, and lastly Angelina Jolie (because even if you can’t speak the same language, you can always talk and understand each other when it comes to her!)

Again, Happy Thanksgiving! With much love and appreciation,

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I'm Going to Tell You a Secret...

Not really, but I couldn't think of a better title for this post then that. And yes, I did still that from the Madonna documentary, so sew me... Anyway, I'm really not sure why I decided to post anything today, because nothing new has really happened. All I've been doing for the last week is holding class, preparing for classes, and hanging out with different people -nothing so grand. I haven't been board by any means, just not much to report. Let me think...What to say? Well I've been asked to teach another class, which is good because it will keep me busy even more. I'm helping a group of students prepare for the TOEFL, which is a test foreign students must pass in order to attend Universities in the States. This has taken up a lot of my time trying to figure out how exactly the new test, which is done over the internet, works, and what sorts of information the students will need. I'm happy to be doing this though, and think that it will be good for the students to have access to a native speaker before taking the test. My other classes are going well, and the fifth year classes is getting better and better. My only real complaint about many of my students are that they are intimidated by me. Many are afraid to speak with me or approach me outside of class, which makes it awkward. I'm not so scary, am I? I think they just are worried that they are going to bother me, but that is not the case. It may be some, okay well it is somewhat my fault too. You see, when I'm walking on the streets or in shops I'm not paying attention to what is going on around me or who is around me. Since I feel that I really don't know a lot of people here, it has become a habit for me to zone out a lot more than I do at home -which for many of you, you know that I tend to zone out on a constant basis. Anyway, the fact that I'm never really paying attention, I tend not to see someone I know until it is too late...This is something I need to get better with.

What else? Let's see. Well I have written about twenty, what I would consider, strong poems. I'm really being experimental with my writing, and I'm liking what I'm producing. Don't know what other's will think, but right now it suits me. However, I really don't have a lot of time to write and when I do have time, I'm often too tired to write. Oh well, that's the life of living in Russia. An interesting note though: Everywhere I'm going anymore, I find at least one person who speaks English. Its all around me and I just didn't know it. Whenever I'm walking down the street and speaking with someone, I usually run into one or two people who ask if we're speaking English. Okay, well this might be interesting too. The other night, I was walking with my FRIEND Alina (I capitalized "friend" just to emphasizes that because I don't know what you all are talking about, but I'm not getting married here!) and we were speaking when all the sudden some drunk guy started to speak with us. His English was pretty good, except for the slurring part. Yet, I was shocked that he just started to speak with me. Its funny because this is happening more and more lately, well not all of them are drunk, but when someone hears me speaking they start to speak English too. I think its cool because at least they will try to speak with me in my native language, so they can find things out. On the other hand, lately people have been asking if I'm Italian. I know that I don't look Russian, but Italian! What the @#%$? I don't think I look Italian at all, but I've had several people ask me if I am. Like the other day, when I was shopping for a sweater, one of the sales associates asked Alina, she was helping me shop, if I was Italian. Even Kristin has said I look Italian. Not that their is anything wrong with looking Italian, I like Italians, but can't I look just like an American. I like the fact I'm American, even though sometimes you wouldn't think it, but I am. Shouldn't people look at me and think, "hey, that guys American." I think you can pick an American out from different nationalities. We just hold ourselves different, plus we dress a little different too -especially in the shoe area. Whatever, I guess I'll just deal with looking like an Italian. I pose a question for all of you. Do you think I look Italian? Post in the comment box and tell me 'yes' or 'no' and then what you would classify me as... Note to my friends: I'm not Mexican, you know that, so don't post that! I'm just curious what others would say, if you think Mexican go ahead and say that too, unless you are in my close group of friends (Joey, Rhiannon, Adam, ect.). This will also help me in determining if anyone is reading this damn thing, because if not I'm gonna stop writing it. It does take some time, and I often don't think anyone is reading it. Oh well, I really don't want to be one of those people who are blogging and no one is reading, but I will be until I hear if you guys want me to continue this or not. This isn't for me, I have a personal journal, so if you're not reading it, I'll stop... On that note, I'll end for today. If anything exciting happens, and I can tell some people are reading this, I'll write about it.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Sometimes Americans Can Be Such…

Assholes! That’s right, I think that Americans can be complete and utter assholes sometimes. Not only are we assholes to those people from foreign countries, while they’re in our country, but we’re often assholes to those from our own country and others, while in other countries. This irritates me to no end, and what irritates me even more is that I’m living in another country and I witnessed this same attitude today!

Tonight, I went to dinner with all of the Norwegians, which is something I have done before, and something I’m sure I’ll do again. However, tonight’s dinner ended on a sour note, for me anyway, when I realized that two more Americans were in the restaurant. The restaurant we went to is a rather fancy one, by Russian standards (the price is rather inexpensive for us), and we’ve been there before. The waiters/waitress are all very nice and understand we are foreign so they try and help us out as much as possible. Okay, I notice I tend to be rather random in my writing, so I will try to get back to the point soon. However, if you’re ever in Rostov, you must try this café –its really good. To the point now… We had finished eating and were just sitting around talking when this couple walked into the room. Right away, I could tell that they were different from most Russian couples, but it wasn’t until I heard the woman speak that I knew they were Americans. They had the same accent that we, those of us from Colorado, are told we have. When I heard them speak, I almost jumped out of my chair –I mean I’ve been dying to speak with a native English speaker since I’ve been here and here was my chance. You couldn’t believe how happy I was to hear English, especially American English; I think the Norwegians thought I was going to attack the couple. Yet, I stayed calm and waited for an opportune moment to introduce myself to the couple. When they were seated and were looking around the place, the man happened to glance over at our table. Of course, I was staring right at him, so I said hello. Apparently they don’t understand English all that well, because he didn’t respond to me and just quickly looked away. I was a little taken aback by this, but I figured that maybe he didn’t hear me (sometimes I have the tendency to mumble and not notice that I’m doing it), so I thought I would try again. When I attempt to speak with them again, they blew me off a second time. This was when I realized that they knew I was American, but they were just going to ignore me. Can you believe this?! I couldn’t. I felt completely dumbfounded by this. I mean what is so hard about saying hello back and maybe having a two-minute conversation with someone who is from your same country, while you’re in another fucking country. Yes, it is not uncommon for Americans to travel, but Rostov, Russia isn’t a popular destination for Americans. I was so happy to see another American, and then was completely disappointed when they turned out to be such amazingly big bastards. (See I can still call use my language to its full advantage). Not only was I offended that people from my own country dissed me like that, but I was also embarrassed because my friends saw how they were acting. Even the waitress, who was serving both tables and knows our group, was a little shocked by their manner. When they placed their order, they did it only in English and they never asked if the waitress spoke English, which she doesn’t very well because I’ve asked. I mean what the fuck! I sat there glaring at them the rest of the time we were there just ashamed by them. No wonder why all the other countries in the world hate us, it’s not all because of our politics (which I’m sure these people were uppity Republicans –we all know what James thinks of them damn Republicans!) but it’s also because of the way some of us behave when outside our own country. I can go on forever about this, but I won’t. What I will ask though is that if you are ever in another country, please, please do not act this way when you notice that there is another American around –plus at least ask if someone speak English before you start speaking, don’t just assume. It may just make that other person’s day to be able to speak with someone they consider a countryman.

So in closing, I’ve probably offended many of you by speaking so negatively about Americans in this post, but you know what…I don’t care. When Americans act this way in or outside America it’s a shame and we should feel angry towards them. We are no better than anyone else in the world (okay maybe there are some people we are better then…the French for example, I’m kidding! I love the French), and we shouldn’t act like it, especially when in someone else’s country.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Gift of Sight...

...is always an important thing but when you're in a foreign land, and feel uncomfortable anyway, it is a vital thing. Yesterday, while I was running back and forth between several buildings doing the normal "teacher" thing, a lens in my eyeglasses fell out. I don't know when or where it happened but it did. Now I know what you are all going to say (especially Katherine), but I forgot to get another pair of glasses to bring with me. That is not important anyway... I messed up and I learned from that experience. So back to my story. It wasn't until I was sitting at the computer and reached up to adjust my glasses that I noticed the lens was missing. It kind of was more when I poked myself in my eye that I thought, "wait a minute, I used to have something to stop me from doing that." Right away, I begin to panic (why shouldn't I? I'd like to see how many of you would react!), but that subsided soon and I was looking for the lens. I walked everywhere looking for it, but I knew that if it wasn't in my room or the department it was gone forever. However, I looked and looked anyway but could not find it. This is when I sort of blew the whole thing off and figured that I could last six months being blind. I wasn't really going to bother about it too much, except to ask my mom what she could do for me. Yet if it would cost too much to replace them and send them to Russia, I figured I'd just live without them. Luckily though, I don't have to worry about that. My friend, Alina, who texts me all the time, happened to ask me how my day was going, so I told her. Within a minute of me telling her, she told me not to worry that we would take care of it. To my surprise, it wasn't hard to replace the lens, especially since it didn't have a prescritption to it anyway. To make a long story short, I lost my lens, freaked out, calmed down, and got the situation taken care of. Oh and it didn't cost me a thing...all part of Russian hospitality!

So how has the rest of my week been so far? Its been alright. Sunday, I slept most all day, which was nice. Monday, I had to do some research and work for my class but later in the day, I was invited to go bowling with Alina and her sister. It was rather fun, and gave me chance to calm down a little. Plus, I won! Damn right, America's gonna win that one! Well that's not really the case, because it isn't real bowling. I mean you roll a ball down a lane and hit pins, but the ball fits in your hand. It is so much easier then putting three fingers into a ball that is the size of your head and feeling like your going to tip over if you stand wrong. Yet, the point is I won and was damn proud of it; it just means that Americans are better at bowling then the Russians -not really, because I'm sure if I had a rematch I'd loose! Then today, I had my fifth year class again and it went a lot better then it did last week. Everyone was a lot more open and talkative this time, and they seemed interested in what I was talking about. They also gave me plenty of ideas of things we could discuss for the rest of the week. I think that it will work out in the end with this class...Perhaps it was just nervous the first week. Tomorrow is my fourth year students and I'm looking forward to it, because that class consists of my friends. It should be rather fun, no matter what we discuss.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Just a Ride…

I know I haven’t updated this for a while, but I haven’t had a lot of time to write anything! This last week, I’ve been really busy and really tired. I just can’t seem to get enough sleep here –it seems that I have hit a bump in the road and I’m not really able to bound back from it. Not that I’ve been depressed or anything, but I just feel exhausted. I sleep a lot and that makes me more tired. It’s rather annoying. Oh well, I’m sure that it will pass soon; I think it might have something to do with the fact that I’m still trying to adjust and its not easy.

Well let me tell you about my week. This was my first week of having both of my class, which consists of the 4th and 5th year Regional Studies students. The two classes are completely different from each other. I think the last post I made, I spoke about how awesome my 4th year students are. They are always willing to discuss whatever, and they are a very lively group. However, the 5th year students are not the same. They seem more shy and less interested in the class, which might have something to do with the fact that they know its their last year and they just want out –I can completely relate to this feeling. Yet at the same time, I feel a little worried about this class. For some reason, I don’t think that this class and I will connect with one another. Hopefully this is not the case, but if it is I’m going to have a hard time trying to teach them. When I asked them what sort of things they were interested in speaking about with me, they all just sort of looked at me and didn’t say much. Whenever I’ve asked this question before students have flooded me with different topics and ideas for discussion, which is helpful because I really don’t have strict guidelines to follow for my classes. This lack of interest is going to challenge me, because there seems to be a wall built up with them and I’m going to have trouble knocking it down. I’m not saying that these students aren’t nice or respectful, because they are, but it just seems like they really don’t care about the class. Oh well, I’ll have to deal with this somehow…

Not only has it been a busy week because of the two classes, but I’ve also been spending a lot of time with different people. I’m glad to be meeting so many interesting and unique people, but at the same time it is tiring. I’ve never really been popular at home, but here everyone wants to meet me and know about me. This has worn me out some. To have so many people interested in me all the time is making me feel a certain power I’ve never felt before. Yet it is also sucking the life right out of me. Being here and being offered by so many people to do stuff, I feel like I must. In the last week, I haven’t had a lot of alone time, which is getting to me. However, now that I do have alone time its making me miss home and my ability to function properly. At home, if I wanted to be alone but still do something it wouldn’t be hard. I could simply get in my car and drive somewhere…I could go shopping, to the movies, or simply just take a long drive and listen to music. Here though, I’m sort of confined to my room for alone time. It boars me but also rejuvenates me a little, so I can hang out with others. If someone were to call me now and ask me to hangout, I’d be there in a heartbeat. It’s such an odd feeling to go through, wanting time alone but also wanting to be around people. My loneliness isn’t as glorified here as it is at home, because at least at home I know I could call and hangout with someone if I wanted too. I guess I’ll just spend this time alone purging all my feelings…

I started this post on Friday, but it is now Saturday afternoon. Somehow I’m still tired, but that’s probably due to the fact that I had a party last night with my friend Dima, who happens to be one of my students, and some of his friends. He and his friends wanted to show me how “Russians drink,” so they came to my room last night and we got really drunk. I’m going to repeat myself here, but vodka and I are not friends! Although the night ended with me being sick, it was an overall great time. Dima brought two of his friends with him, Tony, who I meet before, and Sasha. Now Dima speaks great English but his two friends don’t. Tony can understand English but cannot speak it, and Sasha can speak it a little. However, when we were all drunk, we had no problem communicating. This was probably one of the funnest nights I’ve had here in Russia, simply because it was a chance just to hang out with guys. It was good to just fuck around and do stupid shit –like guys do when no one's around to watch. Dima and his friends were very obliged to teach me some of the “strong language” which can be found in the Russian language. We spent most of the night sitting in my room drinking and teaching one another slang and curse words. It was a blast to just unwind with a group of guys, who actually share some similar interest with me, like the love of certain words found in every language and the love of loud music sang by angry people. Anyway, it was just a great time… Well it was up till the point that Sasha and myself got sick and the party ended. In fact, Sasha was so sick that the others left him asleep on my couch when they left, which made for a sort of odd meeting this morning when I awoke. Anyway, it was a great time and they are all great guys –and the one girl that did show up later in the night, Alina, was really cool as well. She reminds me of my friend, Stephanie, in looks, attitude, everything; don’t worry Steph you’re still cooler!

Today has been a calmer day for me, but none-the-less it was still full of new experiences. The major experience I had today was getting my haircut and not being able to speak with the woman who was doing it. I haven’t had a haircut since the week before I left, so as you can imagine my hair was getting really out of control. Earlier in the week I had made a comment to Lucy, who has become my “Russian Mother” even though she’s my brother’s age, and she told me she would take care of it. Sure enough, she called me today and told me I had an appointment at 1pm. She and I walked to the salon together, because I had never been there before, but after she explained to the women what to do to my hair, she left. I was petrified by the whole experience at first; over and over I kept telling myself it was going to be fine but I was still very nervous that when I left my hair would look like crap. However, that was not the case. The women cutting my hair took extra good care of me. Not only did she do a rather good job at cutting my hair, she performs one hell of a good head massage. I was in completely heaven while she worked her fingers through my hair, massaging my head. This woman, of course her name was Olga like all the others, looked and acted exactly like one of my favorite singers, Tori Amos. I’m not making this up either – I swear that her hair was the same color and style as Tori’s. Not only did she look like Tori but she also had some similar traits to Tori. If you’ve ever seen Tori Amos play live, and I know some of you have, you’ve notice that she somewhat makes love to the piano stool while playing. She gets so into the music that she gyrates on the stool, now the women cutting my hair wasn’t gyrating but she was getting into the haircut way too much. She would do something to my hair and then just sort of step back and look at it from all sides; she was the artist and my hair was her piece of work. It really felt like that to me…

It is now Sunday and in true Russian fashion, I spent last night drinking again. Now for my family and those friends who care if I return, I’m not really drinking that much; however, it is considered rude in Russia to not drink when someone offers. So being the kind hearted and respectable person I am, I feel that I must abide by this rule and drink anytime I’m offered. Again, Dima and his friend Sasha, who was the one that slept on my couch the night prior, called and asked me if I wanted to hangout –my male friends at home don’t even want to hangout with me every night, so this much attention is probably going to make me have delusions of grandeur (even more then I already do). Anyway, we took it easy only drinking like three beers each and just talking. Kristin was also around, so that might have aided in us not wanting to make completely assess out of ourselves for the second night in a row. Another think that kept us in check were the stupid grannies, as we all call them, that sit down in the lobby of my building stopping people from coming in. I’m beginning to have a lot of problems with them and they don’t necessarily like me either. You see they are very controlling of who enters the building, but it is my belief, and nothing anyone says to me is going to change my stance on this issue, that I can and will invite anyone I want into my room for however long I want. We are not making a lot of noise, and besides everyone else in the building is allowed to do it. For some reason though, probably because I’m the American, they keep hassling me about the situation. You know its hard enough living in a foreign country, so when given the chance to hangout with some friends I’m going to take it and nothing is going to take that right away from me. This constant hassling is beginning to wear thin on me and makes me feel that I have had some of my rights taken away, and this is something that I won’t allow to happen anywhere…

Don’t worry, I’m not going to do anything stupid but these women will hear about it from those above them. They think I’m a student, but I’m not. I’m being paid here to be a professor, so I should have the same rights and privileges as every other professor here –that is not only my belief but everyone else’s too, including Galina’s. Well enough about that and I think that is enough for this post. I’ve covered all the crazy things that have happened to me this week. I might not be able to update this much anymore because I’m so busy, so please forgive me when I don’t post everyday! I will keep you all updated though!