Russia, Take Two – SIBERIA!

As you might remember if you’ve been following my blog – albeit me not being terribly active on it the last year or so – soon after coming back home from Perm I began making plans to head back to Russia. As things turned out, the idea of going to Novosibirsk grew on me and it became the better option for me (rather than returning to Perm). For many months I did not know if it would even be possible for me to return to Russia, so it remained but a dream until a couple months ago, when my dream was realized yet again and it was decided that I would go back. I can’t even begin to express how happy I felt and what a relief it was to know that finally I could get back to life! When I started telling people I would be going back, many people asked me if I would be blogging about my time here again. So, after several requests, here I am!

At the moment, I don’t know if I will be able to stay for longer than a semester, due to financial strain, to put it eloquently. All I can do at this point is to make the most of my time here, whether it be six months or, if luck turns in my favor, one and a half years; to tightly grasp onto this chance at realizing my dreams again and to never let go; to get back in shape and continue improving beyond anyone’s expectations, especially my own, while keeping my own expectations high; to squeeze myself dry from sweat everyday by working harder than what I know to be my limits; and to enjoy every minute of my time here and wherever else I may find myself in the future!

And that’s what I’ve been doing, so much as the circumstances have allowed, since my arrival here on Friday early morning. The first few hours here were difficult for me, I won’t lie; it was still early morning and, as it was winter break until today, the dorms were quite empty and quiet. After 30 hours of traveling, roughly 6-8 hours of poor quality sleep over the prior 3 days, and a 12 hour time difference, I was trying to find my bearings and get ready for the day ahead. Unpacking proved to be a challenge, as my roommate (who is many years younger than I am – which is another thing altogether!) already had her stuff all over the place, so she made what space she could and I was forced to think of how to cleverly organize my stuff – the result of which was that I ended up putting it all back into my suitcases, and I’ve been living out of suitcases since then in the hopes that I will be able to change rooms (my roommate and I both agreed we would both be more comfortable that way, and we’re going to talk with the people in charge tomorrow). All of that, plus the excitement and stress that comes with being in an entirely new place by one’s self – well, naturally I was a bit overwhelmed at first and I had my moments of anxiety in the beginning. But, the sun rose and I my confidence rose with it as I met more people and was pleasantly surprised that everyone I met commented on how good my Russian is and how much easier it is for them! That felt nice, because I was worrying about my Russian 😀 I forced myself to stay awake all day and I kept myself occupied with a trip to the store for some essentials; getting lost inside the school (it’s big!); being shuttled off by the воспитательницы (‘dorm moms’ is probably the closest translation) to the столовая (dining room) for a breakfast of some type of каша (porridge) with worrying amounts of butter ladled onto it, two pieces of bread with, yet again, an alarmingly large chunk of butter and 3 slices of cheese on top, and very hot, very sweet, very nice tea; three more equally calorific meals; and then one final trip to the store during which I was able to set up my internet modem which I surprisingly didn’t miss so much! Yesterday I also set up my phone and I’ve come quite a long way from where I was upon my arrival, to say the least. I’m still not quite settled in 100%, but I keep reminding myself that it’s silly to expect everything to be in its place after less than a week of being here! Realistically, it might take a few weeks. That’s ok!

Today was the first day of classes and I was placed in second course, which is excellent because in Perm I was in second course also and, as I left in January, I very much hoped to be able to finish second course in its entirety while I would be here. My hope is that circumstances will improve and allow me to finish not only second course, but also third course, and graduate as was my original plan in Perm. So, fingers crossed for that! Anyway, I met the [artistic] director today and he is very nice (a notion which I already had from my email and phone conversations with him before). He showed me to my class, where I met my teacher and the other girls in my class – today, I didn’t dance, I only watched; my class starts early at 8:30, and because Shelemov (the artistic director) only came to get me a bit after class had started, he told me that since it’s my first day I can just watch. So that’s what I did, and tomorrow I begin really!

By the way, the girls in my class are so nice! I am so happy about that, because instantly I felt welcomed and like part of the class and not like an outsider, which I must say was the case in Perm. Not here, though – I sat with them at lunch, they helped me understand how to get to the Grishko store [to which I’ve yet to go, but plan to go tomorrow because I need character shoes and a skirt], and all in all we got to know each other some and I went back to my room later feeling so happy and satisfied and I wanted to jump up and down and yell, “Hoorah!” Maybe it’s because I have some basis in Russian language now and can communicate with them much more easily than I was able to with the girls in Perm at first; but I don’t think so, it’s quite obvious somehow that it’s more than that. All I can say is that the girls in my class here just seem kind and happy-go-lucky and they welcomed me with genuine questions about me, and it was not this way in Perm. I’m just happy that I’m happy! 😉

All in all, this feels like a really good place for me. I feel good here. I like the city, or what I’ve seen of it so far – big, with stuff to do (not that I think I’ll have any trouble finding stuff to do what with all the training here!), and sun, lots of sun! That’s important for me, because it was quite difficult for me with so little sun in Perm, so of course I was pleasantly surprised when I realized just how bright the sun shines here. It’s just great!

Well, that’s enough of a post for now. I have to go meet my roommate so we can try to figure out how we might be able to set up our rooms in a way that’s comfortable for us both. And later I have to run to the store for more stuff – it never ends! I’m trying to spend as little money as possible, and some things are unavoidable (for example character shoes and skirt, which I expected to get from the school like I did in Perm, however this turned out not to be the case!), but I do try my best within reason, and without compromising my comfort too much 🙂

Пока! Bye for now! 


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