Monday, December 17, 2012

12/17 - Last Classes, Dinner with Professors, End

I can't believe my abroad experience in Russia is about to come to an end! Tomorrow at around 7:30AM MSK (Moscow time) our Lufthansa flight leaves Russia heading for Frankfurt Airport in Germany. I've already packed up all my belongings, and exchanged gifts with my host mother and host brother. Other than my American friends who I spent time with here - all the culture shock, language setbacks, and other tough abroad issues - I'll definitely miss my host family the most. These people were fantastic - making me meals, helping me with my language homework, and even just carrying out conversations with me. How slow I must have sounded when I spoke! I'll be saying my goodbyes today to them as well. At 6:00PM MSK, I'll be moving into the university dormitory for just one night. 

Yesterday, we had our final classes, even though we had already completed all of our exams and other assignments. It was more of a fun day if anything, the teachers more or less wanted to assure us of our progress. For example, my grammar teacher, Tamara, showed us our initial placement tests from the first week we arrived in Moscow. When my group started to look over the mistakes we made then, we laughed at our own errors! We had made so much progress since August! I also took at Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) with a program staff member this week, and I felt like I did extremely well. Compared to my OPI in August, it was outstanding, I could barely understand the questions back then. 

My host mom Elena and I

Last night we finally got to eat some authentic spicy food in Moscow! But that's not the important part, this was our final dinner with all the students and our professors from the International University.  The teachers wanted to thank us for our hard work and dedication with many Russian toasts, such as "За дружбу!" (Za druzhbu) or "To Friendship!" My favorite toast was from our Geography teacher Alexander Ivanovich. After saying that the United States and Russia are technically oceanic neighbors, he said "За наши соседы!" (Za nashi sosyedi) or "To our neighbors!" It was a fun night filled with goodbyes, gift-giving, great wine, and awesome Georgian food.

The group (teachers and students) around the table at the Georgian restaurant

Following the final dinner, we had a final get-together at our favorite bar in Moscow, Вокзал (Vokzal). We realized how close we had actually grown as a group. This trip had been especially frustrating for us due to cliques forming and passive aggression which probably resulted from our homesickness and culture shock symptoms. It was great to have one more night to drink all together and celebrate our friendship. Its amazing how fast I got attached and depended upon my American friends to get through the hard times during our journey in Russia. I'm happy that I got along with the majority of my group, and I hope to get together with them again when we are back in the United States!

Left to Right: Dan, Gizem, Seth, and Brooke at Vokzal

Sadly, this will be my last blog post. The journey has come to an end, as all good things do at one time or another. I am beyond thankful for my time here, and the opportunity to study Russian in Moscow for one semester. Thank you for reading just this post or any posts that I've put up in previous weeks and months, I really appreciate sharing my journey with you. I'll be leaving Moscow in less than 24 hours!

Countdown to returning home: 1 day

No comments:

Post a Comment