Saturday, August 30, 2008

9:00 p.m. (St. Petersburg time)

Remember how I’ve said some of my life goals were to be in jail and to live in a convent? I think I’m accomplishing those both right now.

We woke up around five this morning. My roommate and I chugged some instant coffee (not so bad at 5 in the morning) and then left for the airport. We sat around there for about three hours and then finally boarded the plane. I actually slept for quite a while on this flight. It only took us a little over three hours and we arrived in bright, sunny, warm, St. Petersburg. Haha, just kidding. It was cold, wet, and windy when we got off the plane. My favorite kind of weather.

You know those trucks that carry refugees across war-torn borders? Yea, that’s what we threw our luggage into. It was well equipped with bungee cords to hold down the plastic tarp that cover the bed of the truck. Another hour of driving and we made it to ИМОП. Or IMOP in English. The building is located near some strange old abandoned metal structures. I'm not really sure what they are or if they are even in use.  Someone said it reminded them of Detroit but I've never been so I can't really compare. There is something like seven floors of the building with two wings. One wing is the dormitory while the other wing houses the classrooms. We are living on the third floor of the dorm wing. For some reason the elevator doesn't stop on the third floor so we had to go up to the fourth and then carry our bags down one. The downstairs hall way smelled terrible but luckily our floor does not.

As sketchy as the rest of the building is, our suite makes up for it. The rooms are pretty big. There is no bureau and only four hangers so most of my clothes are shoved into random shelves around the room. There are also no drawers in the desk so I have to keep all my pens and pencils in a bag. We have a nice new fridge and a microwave that already caused a small fire. We have a hot plate, a sink, some plates, forks, knives, etc. and some salt. There are no mirrors anywhere in the suite. Our beds seem very similar to the type of bed you make out of couch cushions. With a thin sheet and some strange thick padded thing that I think is supposed to be a comforter. We also found some nice scratchy wool blankets.

My bed and desk 
My roommate's bed, our 'closets,' and the door to the kitchen

Shower room

Kitchen area

Dining area, door to my room, door to shower room
We had a little orientation meeting in one of the academic rooms. While they were located on the floor above the one that we are on, we had to go down three flights of stairs, cross through the lobby then climb up four flights of stairs. I guess it will be a good form of exercise. I would love to go out into the city but going for the first time at night probably is not the best idea. Two of my suitemates did just walk to the store. Maybe I'll attempt that tomorrow. My roommate is from California, and my suitemates are from Pittsburgh and Alaska. What a wide range of people.

I am not a fan of continuously having to change my clock. And messing with my internal clock. Luckily I don't think I fully adjusted to London time so my body may not notice the change.

I'm starting to believe people when they say I'm crazy… not because I'm here in Ghetto Russia, planning on living here for three months, but because I am actually enjoying this strange form of self-deprecation.

I won't have the internet until Monday so, again, I'll be a little behind on my posts.

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