Sunday, September 22, 2013

Arrival to Russia

I don't have the time, energy, or wherewithal to leave a long post here, but I feel obliged to report on my arrival to Moscow.

The last few days in Berlin were honestly quite lovely, and I was sad to be leaving such a nice city. My friend Kaira took me along to several of her Frisbee team events and I felt like I was fitting in nicely despite being a visitor. I also got to practice my German again, which went from terrible to bad to mediocre in a short 4 days. It improved so rapidly (albeit still pretty bad in the end) that I started thinking in German and couldn't think in Russian anymore, a phenomenon that hurt me pretty bad when I arrived in Russia.

The flight from Berlin to Moscow via Riga was easy enough, except that I was a little, shall we say, indisposed from Saturday night's festivities. YOLO, right? I arrived in Moscow as I usually arrive at the end of a plane ride - starving, dazed, dehydrated, and completely incapable of processing thoughts. That's happening way too often these days

So I didn't see my driver which was arranged for me by the Fulbright Program initally, and found myself engaged in a "conversation" with a taxi driver offering me a ride for a cool 3000 rubles (80 dollars?) to my hotel on the northern edge of Moscow. I put conversation in quotation marks because a summer of not speaking any Russian and then 2 weeks listening to Dutch and German COMPLETELY eliminated by Russian ability. It was embarrassing. I couldn't utter a coherent sentence. It was incomprehensible, considering I have a vague memory of giving fluent Russian presentations a short 4 months ago.

However, I managed to stave off the taxi driver, who resorted to a similarly poor English ability long enough to find my driver, but only after I had borrowed a cell phone from a different taxi driver and frantically called my contact in Moscow who had arranged the driver.

Now just a mash of first impressions.... Raining, hard. Dark. Driver is silent. Russian drivers are terrifying. There was traffic at 9pm on a Saturday, which is silly. There are an incredible amount of apartments for rent, as advertised on the highway. By the way, Russian drivers are CRAZY.

My driver dropped me off outside the hotel without a word of instruction and I found myself alive and (somewhat close to) well in Moscow. When I opened the door to find my new roommate, Steve, had already arrived before me, I felt as happy as a lad on Christmas morning.

Today we had orientation, and it feels today as though I know nothing about either Russian or English yet somehow find myself committed to teaching English in Russia for the next 9 months.  Although currently my head is spinning and my body feels slightly broken, I am optimistic about the future of this endeavor. My Russian tongue will return, the English grammar can be learned, and I will find myself at home in Siberia soon enough.

It just might be a rough couple of weeks first...


  1. Alex,

    Good luck with your orientation!

  2. Beat it up RD. Nothing new in the states patriots are 0-3 I'll keep you posted.

  3. I promise you, it will get a whole lot better, once you get to Novosibirsk! :) Hang in there!!!