The snow began a few weeks ago, although I’m quite surprised at how little snow there is on the ground. I probably shouldn’t be too ‘worried’, though, as the weather forecast has us preparing to expect temperatures of “feels like” -23°C in the approaching week or two!
So far, I am really loving it. Yes, it’s a bit of a hassle taking off your boots to wear your indoor shoes upon entering the school building, and it’s quite a drag when you mysteriously get droplets of mud all the way up to the back of your knees after what you thought was a rather clean walk outside – but that’s just laziness talking and it’s easy to overcome when you remind yourself of what you get in exchange: beautiful, snow-covered trees and buildings; getting a better work out due to the challenge of walking on snow (and also trying not to slip when you hit a patch of ice!) when walking outside; and a completely justified snuggle in a blanket with a mug of hot chocolate when you get back home after the long day.
But, everyone keeps telling me that I only like it now, that I should not be so quick to speak. “We’ll see what you say in April,” they say, assuring me I’ll be tired of the snow and the mud and just desperate for spring to come! Well, you know what? Maybe I will be tired of the snow by then. Maybe I will want nothing more than to walk outside in the sun. But why should that matter now? In fact, I think it’s all the more reason to enjoy it while I can, while I still find it enjoyable!
One thing I do think will take some getting used to is the amount – or, rather, sheer lack – of daylight this time of year. I get up early in the morning and, if it weren’t for my clock, I would be sure it were still the middle of the night; by the time we walk to the school for breakfast and for class, it’s still as dark as ever; and as we do our first combination facing the barre, I look through the window and can’t help but find it astonishing that it’s still dark out! Sunrise tomorrow is at 9:26 am and it will continue to be later and later until there is only about 5 hours of daylight in the day! That is strange.
Other than the snow, the last few weeks have not held too many exciting new things outside of the usual flow of events here at the school. In Historical Dance, we’ve been starting to actually set the entire exam, which is very soon – on December 14th! Our leotards, which are being custom made for us at the store down the street, are half-way ready. I’m excited to see them when they’re ready! Unfortunately, I haven’t been to many gymnastics classes in the last month, as I’ve been trying to avoid aggravating some pain I’ve been having in my hips; but this week, I intend to go to gymnastics class and do as much as I can, at least!
About a week ago, I went to the special hospital here; this hospital treats all of the athletes [and ballerinas!] of Perm and Perm Region, and the doctors all specialize in sports medicine and health for athletes. Accompanying me was Olga Viktorovna, our doctor here at school, and Darya Andreevna, our Vospitatel. I was not sick or injured or anything of the sort; I only had to do my medical check, which every student has to pass annually in order to be allowed to study at the school. In the beginning of the school year, they brought over all the specialists from the hospital to do the medical check at our school, and that’s when everybody got they’re medical check done. However, as I didn’t arrive until two weeks after the first day of school, I missed the medical check. And so, I had to go to them, and have my medical check done last Friday. It was actually a unique and interesting experience. And while it wasn’t as scary as a regular hospital, it was still unmistakably a Russian hospital!
I had to go from room to room, specialist to specialist, to have them test me in whatever medical exam was in their field of medicine. As I passed each test, the doctors would sign off on my form that they deem me fit for professional ballet, as well as any notes they had regarding my exam results or any recommendations.
I’m proud to say I passed with flying colors! I couldn’t help but smile at the last doctor that examined me: he was so funny, and said excitedly, “Molodets!” after seeing the oxygen concentration in my blood was the maximum possible.
More than anything, though, I was relieved – even though I had no reason to fear that they would find any health problem that would jeopardize my spot in the school, you just can’t help but be a little nervous when everything you’ve been waiting for and are finally doing has an ever so slight chance of being taken away from you just like that! The list of contraindications is not short, to say the least. But I was finally able to breath a big sigh of relief and go back to school after the medical exam knowing that I am in good health and in excellent shape (the words of the doctors)!
Then, last Saturday evening, we had an International Night in the dormitories, where each culture presented its flag and told a little bit about the country, the culture, and so on and so forth. It was a lot of fun, and really interesting to see the mix of cultures we have here at the school, and I think I picked up enough of what everyone said (it was all in Russian, of course!) to learn a few new things about the countries. The flags of all our countries are now hanging up in the first floor lobby of the dorms, and they all look so nice together! I do have some pictures, but unfortunately I am unable to post them as of yet because they were taken on a camera other than my own. And so, I must wait patiently for them to give me the pictures! It drives me mad sometimes, how long it takes some people to put some pictures up! But oh well, life gets in the way of life sometimes =P
Among other errands I managed to cross of my to-do list this week was a trip to the Chabad Jewish Community Center here in Perm. I got in touch with them at the beginning of the year and had been so busy up until now that I hadn’t had a chance to be involved much there since Rosh Ha’Shana! But I finally went over there this week and got a schedule with events for Hanukkah, which I am so unbelievable excited about! Hanukkah is a special holiday for me – it’s my holiday – because I was born on the first candle =) I found out they had a store at the center, to boot, and I bought myself a simple Hanukkiah so that I could light my own candles for each night; and how could I pass up buying a bag of Bamba when I saw they had some?! I couldn’t, of course!! It warmed my heart to see it and filled my tummy with yummy, crunchy, creamy, peanut butter, salty goodness that made me feel like I was back home again with all my family. Like when I was very little.
Well, I hope you all enjoyed my first real post back on WordPress! I’m glad to be back using this host as I feel very comfortable with it, and I hope I will continue to improve on it with time. Now I must get ready for bed, as yet another long-yet-fulfilling week begins tomorrow and I need all the energy I can muster to pull through it with some life still in me by the week’s end! Haha, ok, I might have exaggerated a little bit. But I really should be going to sleep, so I wish you all a pleasant evening or day or whatever time it is now wherever in the world you’re reading this from!
By the way, I had intended to also write about a very fun experience we had today during the traditional Russian tea ceremony we had at the school, but it will just have to wait for the next post! Also, tomorrow we are going on a field trip to the chocolate factory, so I will be sure to take plenty of pictures to share with you all. Wish I could share some chocolate with you guys, too! Apparently we will be allowed to have as much as we please. But I just don’t have anything to do with more than a couple pieces of chocolate at a time! Regrettably, Wordpress has not yet installed a feature for sending chocolates through the screen.