Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A great weekend.

Enough about the snow and cold. That should be understood by now.

I have mentioned before that I haven't really been experiencing the dreaded "Stage Two Culture Shock", that things have been pretty stable and steady and normal... the only problem was that some days, especially weekends, end up being kind of lonely. It turns out that sometimes there is just a... cycle of cancellations... mozhno skazat'. Someone get's sick, and everyone else's schedule is thrown in a loop. I kept hearing the words "ne poluchitsa" (it's not going to work out) and day after day I was preparing for lessons/meetings/get-togethers and finding myself only turning around and going home. Alone.
Well, people were right, and that... "cycle" seems to have passed, and things have started to pick up again.

I also had felt that I was kind of stuck in a rut... not that anything was wrong or that I was unhappy, necessarily... but I had fallen into a sort of comfort zone, in a negative way. I got stuck in a repetitive routine and every day had been pretty much predictable and unfulfilling. Get up, go running, do my workout, take a shower, do yoga, get ready, eat, go teach a class or prepare for some class and go teach it, come home, maybe stop at the store, think up another lesson plan, eat dinner, waste time on the internet, go to bed. Repeat. I do walk a lot, but I never seem to leave this same 3-kilometer radius (the Center Region and Sovietsky Region of the city).
This isn't Adventurous Helen. This is Boring Helen. It had gotten to the point were any variation of this was some kind of big and scary deal... like needing to go to a store located out of the center. Or calling the Kyrgyz Consulate in Ekaterinburg to ask about the visa pickup times (which I still haven't done yet).
This worries me. How is this winter break going to be the Epic Adventure of a Lifetime if I'm stuck in a rut like this?

I think this weekend things have turned around a bit. A colleague named Larisa invited me over for dinner (Fish, salads, and vodka!) with her family and something felt internally...uplifted. I'm not exactly sure why. Maybe because I was actually out somewhere on a Saturday night after midnight, which hadn't happened yet this month. Maybe because her daughter and I plan to go to a club this next weekend. Maybe because we all sang songs together in Russian and English and other languages. Or because we spoke only in Russian and I felt like I was fluent again (my fluency/proficiency in Russian tends to rise and fall periodically). Or because we talked about more deep, pressing, sensitive topics and found ourselves in agreement from the bottom of our hearts. Or maybe it was the vodka. Who knows.... but something feels like it has turned around.
The next day, a student Anilya came over to record acapella songs in Russian and Bashkir. Finally, some work done on my other project! I'm also working on some music to perform, with Volodya at the dinner on Thursday and sometime in December... we'll be singing Katyusha as a duet.
My neighbors so far have never complained...

Today I received news that my visa is extended and all documents are in order, and tomorrow I will go to the train station and take care of the first leg of the Epic Adventure of a Lifetime... a train ticket from here to Krasnodar, leaving December 24th.
(Yay for all of Christmas Day being spent on a Russian train! Santa can find me somewhere near Volgograd or a Astrakhan or something...)

Also tomorrow... a lecture I need to give in front of students I have never seen. At least it's in English, I may have had to give it in Russian, although we found a person to translate so things can go faster and easier.
Next week, no excuses... KYRGYZ VISA TIME.

Progress is being made.

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