Saturday night was a weird time. First, Matt, Polly, a friend of hers from college and I met up in the south of Moscow and went to an Indian restaurant, called Aroma. Matt, who doesn't ever shut up about this place, instructed us to just speak English with the staff, since it appears their English is better than our Russian. I find something comical about communicating with people in a language that is native to no one (involved in that conversation, I mean), which would have been Russian in this case. The food was a little slow getting out, but worth every second waited. We had a big basket of naan and some random curry dishes. Oh. My. God. I just can't get enough spicy food these days.
So, interestingly, the way Polly discovered this boy from her college was studying here this semester was not through any obvious channel of communication. Matt and his friend from college (not Polly's college) both studied in Moscow a few summers ago. This friend, Dan, is now back and studying at the same university (and working). He randomly asked Polly one day if she knew a guy named Ben, who went to her (tiny liberal arts) school. Her first response was something like "Uh... Ben? No. Who the hell is Ben." but a moment later realized who he was. Sort of a roundabout way to discover that.
Anyway, not all that important, except for the fact that we now knew two people living in the dorm at this university (РГГУ-- Russian State University of Humanities), so we got Dan to meet us outside and bring us other peoples IDs (since it's restricted access and you can't bring guests in past some time), then waltzed past the guards and into the fortress. It ended up just being a weird night, with weird people. One of the major realizations that I had was that the Russian I've learned since arriving here is some really bizarre slangy version of the language. I can thank my teenagers for that. After sleeping for a couple of hours smashed on a bed together with Polly (something she was unhappy about after the bad experience sharing a bed with me the previous weekend), we rose early then wandered out into the world, pausing for a photo op while still inside the confines of the school:
surprisingly chipper for 2.5 hours of sleep and 7:30 am
Sunday was spent in somewhat of a fog, and in this state I ventured out of the house for a walk before meeting up with Polly later in the day. Thanks to some horrible decision making regarding the path I took, I ended up in the middle of a sea of mud, and nearly lost my phone in a giant mud puddle. It dropped out of my pocket as I leaped from one dry spot to what I hoped was another. I realized it only a second later, and had a moment of fear that it was lost for good, but quickly realized it was right behind me. Unfortunately, retrieving it led to my jean cuffs and shoes being covered in mud. Ew. Eventually I made it out of the mud, but the damage was sort of done.
So, the past two days have been exceptionally warm (10C+!!!!-- that's 50F!!!!), and I haven't worn anything other than a light fleece jacket. I would be happy if I didn't have to touch my puffy winter coat until next winter. We'll see if this weather holds. One of the downsides is that the snow and ice is, rather rapidly, turning into giant bodies of water, due to horrible drainage in this city (all of Moscow, that is). And the mud. There is so much mud.
I mentioned in a previous post Cat's statement about how I would die when spring came-- and, now that I REALLY feel it, I am totally understanding what she meant. It's simply magical, and beyond words. I was sitting at a market yesterday, having just bought some strawberries and honey, people watching, enjoying the weather, and I could have just died. I was joking with Matt about what Cat said, and he commented that "well, it's Russia, so you never know" which prompted me to come up with a new saying about Russia:
Добро пожаловать в Россию -- где весна приходит, потом ты умираешь
(Welcome to Russia, where spring comes then you die).
I am constantly cracking myself up.
Now, to end this, here is the one photo I have taken in the past two weeks, some colorful graffiti somewhat near the mud field I thought I was going to die in: