I'm a Biology major at Clemson University. I will be studying abroad in Russia this semester, so expect a lot of snow in pictures. I'm kind of a nerd and have a terrible stuffed animal obsession so there is no telling what I'll post on here. We'll see how this goes.
It’s been so busy these last few weeks with final projects, Russian language final, and our St. Petersburg trip. The last week of classes was of course rather stressful as most last weeks are. But the weekend made up for it. A few of us went with Anton to his home outside of Moscow. It was really nice to get out of the city and an interesting experience communicating with his family since they knew little English and we know limited Russian. We had a really great time and they were extremely friendly.
St. Petersburg was amazing. I really enjoyed being there. There were so many rivers running through the city and so it made for many beautiful sights. I’ve missed the water a lot. Since it is a tourist city, many places had English speakers which was also really nice because we did not need a Russian to help translate. St. Petersburg is definitely someplace I would like to visit again.
This last week is really bittersweet. I’m getting more excited to go home and see my family and friends but I’m going to miss Russia so much. It is going to be really strange to no longer see our new French friends and our Russian friends and it will be weird to not see the Americans here everyday. I think being back home will take some getting used to. Russia has become a second home and I hope I’ll be able to come back one day.
This week has been fairly busy. We started classes with Dr. Layfield and so have been learning about making brochures and taking good pictures. Tuesday we each made a presentation about ourselves and spoke at a local school where the students are taught English. This was a lot of fun, especially since the students spoke English very well. The students were around 16-17 years old. Tuesday night we had a pot luck dinner with the Russians, French, Polish students who visited for a week, and some Chinese students. It was hard to think of typical American dishes so we just made grilled cheese, biscuits, and baked macaroni and cheese. Jean and I made the grilled cheese, Mike made the biscuits, and Jenn made the mac and cheese. It was really awesome to get to try foods from many other countries and to get to spend time with people from other cultures. There ended up being a dance party which was really great and a lot of fun. Wednesday we had our last Russian language class which was bittersweet. It was sad to know we would have no more Russian classes but also exciting because no more Russian homework. On Friday we split off into our groups for the second half of class and went to different spots around Moscow to take pictures. The place my group went to was Park Pobedy and was very pretty. Saturday we went to Lays for our field trip. It was another long ride and though seeing the factory was pretty cool. They were very big on cleanliness so we were fully decked out with safety gear. The best part, free chips!
This next week is going to extremely busy with our projects for Dr. Layfield’s class, our field trip to Coca-Cola, and our Russian final. But then we get free time and then to St. Petersburg! Our time here is coming to a close far too fast.
These few weeks have been full of much needed relaxing as well as having fun in and outside of Moscow. One Thursday a few of us took our teacher Ashley to see Red Square and to the Starlite Diner. We also had a lot of fun on a few playgrounds near the diner which has been one of my favorite parts of the trip so far.
The next week our schedule got switched around so we had Russian language on Tuesday and we were supposed to have our field trip on Saturday but that has been pushed back. So naturally Elizabeth and I stayed in on Wednesday and watched Disney movies. Jean and I have also experimented with pastas, both times turning out very well. On Friday we met the representatives for a few different colleges in the US through the Fulbright program. It was really nice to speak with other Americans who have traveled around Russia. It still amazes me to hear someone go from speaking English to speaking perfect Russian.
Yesterday we finally went to the zoo here in Moscow which was exciting. It’s a large zoo with a lot of animals and it was nice to see so many different animals though, as some of the others have mentioned, it was sad to see how small some of the habitats were. I was disappointed to not see any wolves as they are my favorite but I think a larger habitat would be better for them anyway.
Today was a lot of fun because I got to ride a train for the first time. We visited Serviev Posad which is a city near Moscow which has a very beautiful monastery. Many of the buildings were under construction which was disappointing but it was still nice to get outside of the city. Chris and I stole Jean’s camera for the trip and had fun taking pictures of everything. There was also a market outside of the monastery where many of us got a few souvenirs.
In all it has been a great couple of weeks and I’m looking forward to our last month here. Pictures will come tomorrow!
One of the assignments for our latest class was to not throw anything away for 24 hours to see how much trash we would accumulate and we had to think of ways we could reuse our trash. While this seemed easy it was actually kind of difficult, especially since Dr. Buffington ordered pizza for everyone as a going away dinner and many paper plates and cups were used. We weren’t exactly successful in keeping our trash because of the large group but it did help us to think about what we were going to throw away and made us conscious about what items we used that would simply go in the trash and not be reused. Most of my personal trash was napkins, paper plates, and Styrofoam cups. While the cups could possibly be washed and used again, I really don’t know how the napkins and paper plates could be reused. The plastic bottles and other drink containers from the sodas and juices could be reused to store more things or used for crafts possibly. Most food wastes I believe could go to composting which I do not do at home but I think that will be something I will consider doing in my future. In class when we discussed the trash pollution problem it was interesting to see how recycling is not very popular here in Russia where as in America and in France recycling is very popular. I think many Russians are interested in recycling but they do not have a large system here yet. This is an issue that will have an impact on my future career because I want to go into conservation and I hope it is an issue that can be solved.
This past week we went to the AGCO training center right outside of Moscow city. This was a very nice place and it made it a lot easier since the tour guides could speak English very well. We also visited the American Embassy on Thursday which was very interesting. It was great to talk to other American’s who live in Moscow. Our last energy management class was on Friday so we begin our last class tomorrow. It is very sad to think we only have one more class. I’m definitely not ready for the thought of going home.
Thank you, Chris, for this amazing KitKat! It really helped with my inspiration for this blog.
Happy Easter to everyone back home! Something I learned about American culture is that northern Easter traditions differ from southern Easter traditions. My parents are from Pennsylvania so we are not a southern family. For Easter we’ve always hidden the baskets the night before and then found them in the morning. Anytime I tell my friends from the south about this they give me strange looks. Our new teacher for our next class is also from Pennsylvania and her family has the same tradition. Just a little American culture lesson from Russia!
This week has been a rather slow week since many of us have been sick from it recently getting rather cold again. However; we did get to visit another greenhouse which was nice. This one produced only flowers, mainly roses. It was really nice to see all of the green again. We did get to finally meet Chris’ girlfriend. It was really great to have her here and we were sad to see her leave. We didn’t do much outside this week though a few of us went to Goodman’s Restaurant which was delicious. Their beef stroganoff was amazing and it was really nice to have an American style salad. On Friday we stayed in and ordered pizza for Chris’ birthday, also having crepes made by the French and an egg salad made by Louis. Saturday and Sunday have both been lazy days of sleeping in and watching lots of movies. Hopefully everyone recovers soon and we can venture out again.