Italians, Chocolates, and McDonalds

About two weeks ago, we welcomed two new Italian girls into our school. They’re only here for a month, until the end of the semester. And other than that, I don’t know much else about them!

The new Italians and me!

The new Italians and me!

They seem nice, but I haven’t really gotten to know them; they don’t speak Russian or English, and so trying to carry a conversation is really difficult for us! They’re lucky that we have two more Italians here who, having been here for a year already, speak Russian very well. I only wish I could speak Italian now, too, so that we could hang out more together!

The Monday following their arrival, we [the foreign students] were taken on a field trip to the Кондитерская Фабрика “Пермская”. For my non-Russian-speaking readers (which, admittedly, is almost all of you), this is the Perm Confectionery/Chocolate Factory. As you can imagine, we were all pretty excited to go see the chocolate factory! Who wouldn’t be?! Especially in anticipation of getting to taste all  the different sweets they produce 😉 So, after Classical, we hurriedly got ready, as we were told we would be leaving  at 10:45 (Classical ends at 10:30) and then had to wait for the bus anyway as it came a bit late. The ride was not long, although some used it to catch up on sleep, while I used it to declare my love for ballet in Russian:


I have several pictures from the factory, but none of them are of the actual making of the chocolates, as we were not allowed to take pictures inside.

Still dark at noon...

Still dark at noon…

I can scarcely believe that almost two weeks have passed since then, in which time November has come and gone and we have entered my favorite month of the year: December! December brought with it even fewer hours of daylight, basically blanketing us in what feels like night for much of the day except between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm. I took this picture one day at around noon, and in the picture it turned out brighter than it actually looked in real life!

In a way I find it comforting, and I like it. It’s the same comfort that I get from the cold and the snow and the winter. On the other hand, it is incredibly misleading. I mentioned today that I am in isolation and so I had the opportunity to turn off my alarm clock and wake up whenever my body decided it was ready. When I woke up it was quiet in the hallway and dark outside, so I was sure I had woken up around my usual time of 6:00-6:30. When I looked at the clock and saw it was nearing 10:00, I remembered that I just can’t use the light coming in from my window to approximate the time it is when I wake up! At least, not until spring comes ’round and the night is less dominating.

Last weekend was interesting and fun as well, which is nice – I always feel successful when I end my Sundays feeling like I spent my day well! Saturday night started the weekend out well when I decided to make truffles to share with everyone. I had a lot of fun making the truffles with a semi-improvised recipe, but the most fun was the laughs I got from everyone’s faces and their reactions when they passed by in the kitchen! Everyone was curious and eager for the next day when they would be ready to eat!

On Sunday morning, Darya took a big group of us to the market and then to McDonald’s for lunch, and on the way to the market I handed out the truffles. Everyone loved them, and they were a huge success! Unfortunately – although it is a testament to how yummy they were – people ate them all so fast that I didn’t even get a chance to take a picture of the finished product! Shame, because they looked so good and I would have loved to show you guys. Oh, well, I suppose it’s an excuse to make them again some day…maybe.

McDonald's for lunch with the crew! Too bad Darya isn't in the picture, but *somebody* had to take it! :)

McDonald’s for lunch with the crew! Too bad Darya isn’t in the picture, but *somebody* had to take it! 🙂

But at least they were thoroughly enjoyed =) We were then energized enough [ok, hyperactive from the sugar] to make the trip to the market. Unfortunately, even a sugar high doesn’t do much to keep you going when it’s as cold outside as it is here! You see, the market is outside, and despite dressing warm, we were all icicles after a mere 30 minutes [I mentioned, to many nods of agreement, that I should have made soup instead of truffles!]; and so, we finished up quickly and headed off to defrost in McDonald’s!

This past week palthough it might be premature to talk about as we’ve only just started the second half] has not held anything out of the ordinary. We picked up our leotards that they made for us and they really are lovely – I hope to get a picture soon! On Monday we will pick up the skirts. And a week from tomorrow, I have my first ever exam! I am glad that my first exam is in Historical Dance and not in Classical; it somehow just makes it not as intimidating. I feel like it’s a good way to “break the ice” into the world of ballet exams.

Well, I’m off to go try and figure out a way to get the nurses to let me run down to the little store at the corner of our building. I want some snacks! Maybe if I promise to dress warm and be real quick they will allow me to go 🙂 After stocking up on something yummy, I’ll go make the most of my ‘stuck-in-the-dorms-and-can’t-go-out’ day by making some New Years cards for my friends here!


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