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Ашан…

March 30, 2013

It’s 7:55 pm and I feel completely exhausted. I really could fall asleep right now if I let myself. My whole body just aches. And for some reason, my earlobe keeps throbbing. But I survived today and am home safe in my room! =) Living here is such a unique experience. I really understand now what the Reasoners were telling me about how Russians view their homes as safe havens and try to keep them nice. It might be rough out in the city, and it might be exhausting and draining, but once you come home, you are safe. I don’t mean that you felt unsafe or scared when you were out, just that it’s warm, clean, and quiet inside your home.

Today I took a morning bus into Moscow to go to tutor the one boy I tutor on Saturdays. I quit the morning English club and so now I just have one student on Saturdays. I cannot imagine how exhausted I would be right now if I had also had the English club earlier…

I had just arrived at my metro stop (Новые Черёмушки) and had decided to walk to the house instead of taking the bus when Nonna called. My heart sank because I thought she was going to cancel the lesson and I had already traveled two hours into Moscow. Thankfully she was just letting me know she would be late. Unfortunately she ended up being much later than she thought she would be. So I just killed time at the mall there at the metro. Sadly it’s not one of the “good” malls, in fact it’s a very strange mall, so it’s not one I would have wanted extra time at. But I was there so I wandered in. I had been in once before and gotten somewhat lost trying to get out, so I was wary of going in again. I wish I could explain just how odd it is. It’s like a huge building with individual kiosks and small rooms with each vendor selling their own unique products. Most of it is all home furnishings, or things like tile for your house. Apartments here come completely unfurnished (ie no toilet, no cabinets, etc) so everyone has to do it all themselves! (For the most part, I think now they are starting to rent or sell some “furnished” (by their definition). This “mall” even has pay toilets, whereas all the other real malls have free bathrooms. I went it, grabbed a bite to eat since I now had the time to eat lunch, and bought some stickers for Andrei (he loves stickers and is so ADHD that I need all the help I can get to get him to concentrate and work!!!).

Then when I thought I needed to leave, I set out for the house. It’s a half hour walk, and today the weather ended up not being as nice as I thought it would be. Sadly. I arrived at the time she said she would be home, but she didn’t get home for another half hour, so I just had to stand there and wait. Thankfully the apartments here all have entrances off of hallways, so you don’t have to wait in the cold!

After the lesson, I had planned to try and go to a huge grocery store (Ашан. Pronounced “ld me “) that the Reasoners told me I could access via another metro line. It’s a huge store that sells EVERYTHING, and it’s cheaper than the small, local grocery stores, so I had asked them if there was a way I could get to one via public transport. The only times I had been were when the Reasoners had driven. They told me there was one that even had a metro entrance down at the bottom of the store. How cool is that? Well, unfortunately I am not sure what they were thinking of, but there was no metro entrance. This post is getting much too long for me to explain how it all went down, haha, but I ended up having to walk a ways to get there. I almost turned back since it had started to snow, but in the end I continued on and went to the store. And OH.MY.WORD. It was INSANE! The store is huuuuuge. Probably twice the size of Costco or Sam’s Club, and the entire store was CROWDED. It was like Black Friday shopping. I am not even kidding you couldn’t push your cart a foot without having to avoid hitting someone, or without having to squeeze between carts. It was completely unreal. I honestly will probably try to avoid having to go back there.  I managed to get most of the things I wanted to buy, and headed for the checkout. While in line I noticed a worker rollerblade by, haha. Good idea with such a huge store!

After a few wrong attempts at trying to get out of the store I managed to head in the right direction. I stopped to ask a security guard if there was indeed a closer metro, but nope. So off I set to head back to where I first got off the metro. At least by now it had stopped snowing!

When I finally arrived back to the metro stop I needed to catch my bus to go home, I ran face to face into a teenager from church! Literally I almost ran right into her. Haha. That was a fun surprise! In all my travels around Moscow I have never run into anyone I know before. So that made the ride home go by a lot faster. And I am sure it livened up the entire ride for the whole bus since they heard me speaking in English and also in grammatically incorrect Russian. (You NEVER hear English here! You will definitely get stared at if you speak English in public, so I usually try not to. Vika speaks almost no English so I am not sure why I even bothered. The only times we understood each other were when I spoke Russian, or translated sentences on my phone into Russian. Thankfully they CAN understand what you  mean if you say the correct words, albeit with incorrect endings. So…I get by.)

By the time we got home it was snowing again, so I had a long, windy, snowy walk home. Unfortunately the snow was blowing directly towards me, so that made it not quite so fun.

BUT, I made it home! And with all my groceries. Success! Haha. All I did today was work for 1.5 hours, eat lunch and dinner, and buy about 7 items at the grocery store, but it took me over 9 hours to accomplish! Things here just take forever. There’s nothing you can do to change it, you just cope and don’t set very high goals. =) I can’t wait to come home and spend 3 weeks shopping at conveniently located grocery stores (with everything in ENGLISH!), and cooking in a fully stocked and working kitchen!! =)

Whew. That was my day in a nutshell. I also saw two grown women today run for the same seat on the metro and both sit down at the same time, and then both decide to just stay there – right next to me. Thus adding one more person than a row can normally hold. It made me laugh to watch. Also, if I had a ruble for every Russian woman I saw teetering about in ridiculously high and silly looking shoes, I’d be rich by now. I wish I was bold enough to follow them around and take pictures of them so you all could see. I’ve said it before, but seriously, people watching here is just fabulous!

I’ll leave you with a picture of my view today out the window of the 21st floor where I work on Saturdays:

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