After one month of life in Russia, the universe has shown me yet again how incapable I am at playing nice with others. Having a personality that my loving parents refer to as ‘being larger than life’, I more often than not am shoving my tiny feet into my mouth. Therefore, trying to conceal my emotions about things is never easy for me, and trying to conceal my emotions about things that BUG me, forget about it. So difficult!
HONORABLE MENTION 2012 YOUNG TRAVEL WRITERS SCHOLARSHIP
I’ve adapted to some things beautifully, other things not so beautifully.
Beautifully: Always, always, always drinking tea, at every meal. Where can a girl get a Dr. Pepper?
Not-so-beautifully: My little host brother is ALWAYS leaving pee on the seat. I’m going to have an aneurysm one day just trying to understand why he can’t lift the damn seat.
Beautifully: It takes 15 minutes to change my shoes, put on my scarf, my hat, my coat, my mittens, my backpack, until I am ready to actually walk out the front door. And trust me- if you’re not dressed up warm enough, a Babushka will re-dress you to her standard of warmth (comparable to the kid on A Christmas Story, you know, the one who can’t put his arms down).
Not-so-beautifully: My host family fills our luxurious, white, jetted tub with water for a bath and they ALL use the same water for each of their baths. Do I even need to explain why this isn’t acceptable ?
Beautifully: When you come inside a house, you must immediately put on slippers. Russians believe if your feet touch the ground without slippers you will become ill because your feet will get cold.
Not-so-beautifully: We eat soup at every! meal!, every! Single! Day! My body is now 90% soup.
Beautifully: Developing my own Russian fight-face. Let me explain, the Russian fight face is not a “mean” face, but rather a don’t-mess-with-me-or-I’ll-make-you-wish-you’d-never-come-into-existence, type face. There is totally a difference. And mine is coming along nicely!
Not-so-beautifully: .5 ply toilet paper. Might as well hand me a chainsaw to wipe with while you’re at it.
Beautifully: Taking the bus everyday or walking to get where I need to go. I wish this was making me thin, it isn’t.
Not-so-beautifully: I take my life in my hands every time I get in the car with my host father. The drivers in Voronezh like to play chicken with their maker, I’m surprised God doesn’t call more of their bluffs.
Beautifully: Showering in a bathtub with NO curtain while holding the shower head in my hand. I don’t mind this really, I just switch hands when one arm goes numb. After the shower there is always a lake of water on the ground near the tub, I’ve taken to naming the lake after myself. Wish I had my own flag too, It’d be pink with sparkles.
And last but not least-
Not-so-beautifully: Every morning after breakfast my host family will go into the bathroom and launch snot rockets out of their noses into the sink. I somehow think I may not get use to this one. Ever.
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.