Friday night, a good handful of us from the training went and had drinks at the restaurant/bar next door. Of course, those of us living in the outskirts left early, for fear of missing the last bus home from the metro stop. But, still, a good start to a non-reclusive existence in Moscow.
Saturday I met up with a friend from the program. She and I started at the school, then set out to wander around the city center, i.e. Red Square and the surrounding area. After a couple of metro stops we arrived. First on the agenda was to find a little pharmacy, to buy band-aids for my poor little feet, who had been mauled by my unsuspecting shoes (I swear they were suitable in the past). After that, I simply bought a new pair of (considerably more comfortable) shoes. The rest of the day was lovely. We wandered around looking for Red Square for awhile, ate piroshkis, walked through a nice park, found Red Square, stared at St. Basil's (and took a picture for a Russian couple) for a little bit (I'm not into sightseeing, per-say, but it was actually breathtaking), strolled through GUM, sat in a Starbucks with drinks and chatted and people-watched from the window for some time. We went home around 7:30. It was all very nice. I am glad to have a friend here.
My Sunday was equally rewarding, though different. I baked some bread which, as some may know, is a very new endeavor for me. It was a simple sweet bread recipe, and other than the oven recommendation being a little too high, and leaving it in a tad too long, it's actually pretty delicious (though somewhat dry). I've been putting various things on it, like: egg salad, tomato and melted cheese (sometimes with bacon, or whatever that mystery meat I bought recently is), tvorog and honey or chocolate hazelnut spread...anyway, my initial disappointment has blossomed into newfound acceptance, and it's really grown on me over the course of the week... It's very exciting for me to be baking bread, as I think there are few things in life more pleasurable than freshly baked bread. Especially challah (anyone in San Diego: Charlie's Best Bread in Pacific Beach has some of the softest, freshest, most delicious challah I have ever encountered). The day I can master that is the day that... actually, I'm not sure where that sentence is going. But it will truly be a miracle if it ever comes.
Today was long (as are all of my days) and slightly more frustrating than the others. In the end, everything is just tiring. Not frustrating, not overbearing or overwhelming... just tiring. I am looking forward to this weekend, during which I will have the privilege of writing some ridiculous 3-page assignment. I nonchalantly made it through my last year of college (or "university," for any non-American-English speakers)--taking all 12 of the upper division classes for my major--without having to write a single paper. I was naive to believe I was in the clear, at least for the time being.
I have been a little concerned about my Russian, and wanting to continue learning it and how to do that while in this English bubble of LanguageLink, and came to the obvious conclusion that it would be beneficial to be friends with someone who does not speak English. So, my mom had a suggestion for making Russian-only speaking friends: approach potential friend, ask (in Russian, obviously) if they speak any English, and if they say no, tell them "Great! Now we can be friends!" Seems like a reasonable plan to me.
(p.s. if you want pictures of these things, simply google "st. basil's," or "red square" or "bread")