Greetings! So this is my first blog post from Moscow. I finally arrived in late afternoon on Saturday, September 1st! As I walked out of the plane and into the Customs Control Zone at Moscow Domodedovo Airport, I was immediately hit by culture shock. All the people around me were speaking Russian, and every sign in the airport was covered in Cyrillic. At that point, I knew that I would need to use my second-language skills gained at American University to survive for the next six months. In this blog, and in future blogs, I'll be sure to add in some Russian that you can learn from me.
My first two nights were spent at my abroad university - known in English as the International University in Moscow or Международный университет в Москве. As we walked through the streets, we realized that Moscow is not a clean city. My brand new white Champion-brand shoes were covered in mud within the first hour. As we walked into the dorms, it became evident that these were "second-world" living conditions, similar to what a student would have experienced during the era of the Soviet Union. There was no toilet paper, the rugs were torn apart, and some of the light fixtures were extremely difficult to turn on.
Международный университет в Москве
International University in Moscow
I happened to arrive on a special day for Moscow known as день города (den goroda) or "the day of the city." It was the 865th birthday of the city, since it was first founded by Yuri Dolgorukiy in 1147 AD. We were lucky enough to arrive on time, and our Resident Director John Smith walked us down to Red Square and the Kremlin area to view fireworks that would start at 10pm that night. Thousands of Russians from around the city gathered to watch the show. The Fireworks only lasted a few minutes, but it was all worthwhile by the end of it. Signs everywhere read С днём рождения Москва! (S dnyom rojzdiniya) or "Happy Birthday Moscow!"
Fireworks at Red Square
Москвa с днём города (Moscow's Day of the City)
To conclude, my final post is about my new living situation. I was switched last minute to live with an older woman and her son. So far, Elena Publyova and her son Volodya have been amazing people. They provided me with my own room in their apartment, as well as feeding me large meals twice per day. Elena is an amazing cook! After every breakfast and dinner, I always say Сиасибо, это очень вкусный (Spasiba, eto ochen vkusna) or "Thank you, this was very delicious." Even though I only understand about 50% to 75% of what they are saying to me, they have been great in understanding that I'm adjusting to the country and its language.
This is already been an outstanding adventure. There's so much more to learn and see!
Countdown to returning home: 105 days