Monday, February 27, 2006

When I come to terms, to terms with this…

I haven’t moved in three days –well outside the walls of my confinement that is. The days are all blurred as of late, and all I find myself often doing is staring at the stark white walls for hours at a time. Once, I read a story about a woman who thought that the walls of her room were coming alive and trying to kill her. At the time, while reading it, I thought to myself how odd a feeling that must be: to be driven so mad that you think the walls are coming after you. However, now I see it as clear as I do when I look at myself in the mirror. The walls are my only friend, they are my only companion in this life or the next, and they will eventually win out and take me into their warm grasps. But I will not go quietly into that good night, no I will not. I’ll rage against it till my last breath escapes my lungs…

The water to my building has been turned off for two weeks, and every once in awhile when it is turned on its either the color of copper, with tiny chunks of dirt splattering against the white porcelain of my sink, or so cold that one cannot bare to leave their hands under the flowing liquid long enough to wash. At first, I laughed at the water being off, but then a day turned into two and then three and now fifteen. My body reeks; a stagnant smell of B.O mixed with lotion, cologne, whatever I could find to try and hide the smell. Everyone said it was normal, but how can it be normal to live without water –the life force for all creatures on this planet – for so long. I cannot stand the smell of myself, let alone allow another to smell me. Thus, I am reduced to sitting in my room day and night staring at the walls –their white chalky structure reaching out for me. I want to let them take me, to make me look as clean as their sterile presence. They are coming for me; they are coming for me…

Okay, okay, so it’s not as dramatic as that, but seriously this not having water thing is really beginning to piss me off. I can’t understand it. For over two weeks, yes two weeks, I’ve been playing tag with the water in my building. Everyday it has been off, from one hour to god knows how many hours. I think in the last two weeks I’ve been able to take a total of four showers, and two of those were only with freezing cold water. If it was the middle of summer that might not be a bad thing, but it’s not summer –it’s still fucking winter! I don’t want to sound like I’m bitching but I am, so deal with it; yet, I just feel completely dirty here and this is making me feel quite angry and annoyed. Now I know all of you, who are reading this, are probably saying to yourself, “James come on. It can’t be that bad. Suck it up, you’ve only got two more months…” But let me tell you this, “YOU SUCK IT UP!” I’d like to see any of you, and I do mean any of you, put up with this shit. I’m supposed to be living in a civilized country, it would be another think if I moved to some hut constructed village in Africa, so why the hell is there not running water? I know most of you, especially my female friends, would do nothing but cry and complain about this if it happened to you for one day. Well try fifteen! I seriously can’t stand the smell coming off my own body, it’s disgusting! I try all I can to cover up the smell with many different things but when you can’t take a bath or a shower –even long enough to do a military shower –the smell just lingers. I’m so embarrassed that I don’t even want to leave my room, but really it’s supposed to be ‘normal’ here. Well call me “spoiled,” “materialistic” or “high maintenance,” but enough is enough. I am an American, so maybe I am used to being granted the ability to take a warm, long shower at anytime I want. Excuse me, I’m sorry.

This is one reason that I haven’t posted much on the blog as of late. Because everything lately that I have wanted to post has turned into a bitch rant and so I just never posted them. Yet, I feel, after being told by several friends at home “how great everything must be in Russia,” that I needed to share some of the draw backs. Yes, I know that this issue isn’t a life or death type of situation and I know that for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years people lived without taking daily baths/showers, which is one reason I haven’t complained to anyone here about this, but I’m only a man, who is used to the comforts of “modern society,” and this is really bothering me. I just can’t wait to have running water, both hot and cold, more than one day a week!

So I’m going to try and get off that topic right now, because it’s not all bad. I cannot believe that I have been here for five months, with only two more to go. It’s unbelievable to me that this trip, my time here in Russia, is almost over. I am unsure how to feel about this, really. At one moment, like whenever I think about the water, I am so excited to be going home and cannot wait, but then at other moments, when I’m completely lost in the enjoyments of being away from home and experiencing a freedom I never have before, I cannot even think about leaving here –it saddens me. This is even a topic that is too hard for me to write about. This experience has been both a great one and a horrible one all at the same time, so I’m unsure really how to processes it into words to explain to anyone. I know that I’m so glad to have come here and that this has changed me and my life, but at the same time I feel a bit unhappy with my time here (mostly because I feel like I haven’t been used by the University in a way that was constructive for either them or me). However, I guess that’s what trips like this are supposed to be like. They are supposed to be great at times and then horrible at times, like life in general. This is a growing experience, so even the bad stuff will end up being good for me. I can already see this, but when you’re in the midst of the bad all you can really do is feel how horrible it is. Does that make sense? I’m not sure it does, but that’s what it’s been like for me.

Yeah! I just looked outside and it’s snowing again. The weather had been warmer the last few days and I was hoping winter was over, but I was wrong, of course. Oh well, I can still walk outside without feeling like I’m training for the Olympics. (By the way, you want to know why the Russians are always winning Ice Skating medals. Well here’s why: When you have to ice skate to work, school, and home everyday, you’re bound to pick up some cool moves…) Speaking of the Olympics, way too go America! We beat Russia in the amount of medals, so I’m happy. Why? Well because Russians are very proud people and every time they won a medal I heard about it. I heard through the whole 16 days of the Olympics, “Did you see how our hockey team beat the Americans,” “Did you see how our ice skater beat yours (like I own them),” “Well of course, we think the Russian should’ve won, not the Americans,” and my personal favorite, “We have the best athletes in the world and they are way better than the Americans!” Thus due to us ending up with more medals then the Russians, I’ve been able to say the following, “Well I’m glad that you guys think you’re so great but you want to know something? We “Americans” won more medals all around than you did. Oh and for your information, you guys lost the medal in hockey too!” (This happens to be a very touchy subject for them too, so I just have to bring it up –way to go Czech Republic!) So yeah, needless to say, the last 16 days have been rather heated for me whenever someone brought up the Olympics –isn’t it supposed to be a time when all countries come together and practice good sportsmanship?

Well I don’t know much else...or I should say I don’t have anything else to complain about and whatnot…thus, I’ll say poka (goodbye) for now. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to post anything more on the blog before I leave, but I will try. But if I’m unable to, I guess I’ll see you at the end of April!


At 7:25 PM, Blogger Lydia said...

Hi James, two weeks without water? I think that's worthy of a bitch-fest. I'm sure it will be some time before you get this whole experience processed, so just hang in there Smelly :)

At 7:49 PM, Anonymous Jason Saphara said...

ahh, the joys of brown water. our barracks in camp pendleton frequently had brown water. should we call you stinky? stink? the stinkinator? Sir Stinky of Stinkingham? James the Stank, Czar of all the Stinkers?

in russia, sports play you.

tell them that the steelers won the superbowl. and not the st. petersburg revolutionaries.

or if you're feeling really plucky, ask them who won the cold war. hehehehe.

At 1:18 PM, Blogger James said...


It's actually a lot more fun to speak with them about who won WWII. The pretty much know that America won the cold war, but as to WWII there are some hot debates to be had...oh how fun!


P.s. Oh by the way, I have water in my room now and I've cleaned several times, thank you!!!

At 2:45 AM, Anonymous jason said...

actually, they've got you with WWII. the german army broke its back invading russia. although the russians weren't very efficient. german dead were about 6 million--maybe 8; russian dead 20 million.

although, if they give you too much grief tell them stalin was just as bad as hitler. stalin is worse than bush.

At 1:37 PM, Blogger James said...

The amount of people dead doesn't singify, in my book at least, who actually won a war. It isn't calld D-Day because Russia came to the resuce, is it now?


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