Saturday, June 11, 2011

How I got here

Hey everyone, so I finally got there and had an... interesting time doing it. I am writing this in Word and am going to copy and paste it into Blogger later because there is no internet in the dorms, where we have to stay for a few days because they are still working out some details with some of the host families and want us to go all together. I am just going to give a couple stories about how I, barely in some cases, got here and some quick impressions of Russia. Of course, there will be more to come, but I cannot promise the frequency or consistency of posts because I am going to be so busy while I am here.

We got to Dulles Airport like 6 hours before the flight was, which is not the usual way I travel, as most of you know and all the different lines we had to stand in moved incredibly slowly but we did eventually get on the plane, which was delayed on the tarmac for about 1.5-2 hours. Then, the plane flight to Munich was long and I got pretty bad cabin fever but I sat next to two awesome girls, who I talked to the entire way. It was definitely a long flight, United, but we eventually made it to Munich safe and sound. In Munich, which was from about 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., I bought a croissant which cost me like 6 euros (i know!) and wasnt even that good and then got on my next plane.

On this plane, which was Lufthansa, I had an incredibly horrible experience. So.... I got on the plane, I was sitting almost in the furthest back row, and a man came in a while after me and sat next to me. I was in the window seat and he sat in the aisle seat, leaving the middle seat open. They then announced that someone had checked in but now wasnt going to make it and they had to remove his luggage, as per their policy.  The flight attendant made a joke about Murphy's Law and said that "of course" that passenger's luggage was behind everyone elses so they had to remove all the luggage to get out his bags.  I wondered what the chances were of the one person who did not make the flight being the guy who was sitting in the same row as me, probably pretty low. Whatever though, it was a little shady, but I didnt care because I was so tired.

Then, I noticed who incredibly shady the guy sitting next to me was. He was twitching a lot and looking constantly at the flight attendants and fidgeting. Then, at the last minute, when the flight attendents were no where to be found, he took his bag out the over-head compartment and placed in on the seat in between us.  He took out his cellphone and turned and it on and, looking around, put it into his pocket.  This, I thought, was pretty shady. To make matters worse, he then took off his shoes, constantly looking around and at the flight attendants and towards the front of the plane.  At this point I got a little worried and when he looked at me, I closed my eyes almost all the way, so he would think I was asleep.  The plane took off and, in the air, he used misdirection to get the one flight attendant in the back to go to the front. No... this was not paranoia because he at first asked for a newspaper and then, when the attendant turned around to just grab one off the shelf, because there were plenty of newspapers back there, the man asked for a magazine... in FRENCH... on a german flight to Petersburg. The attendant had to go to the front of the plane to find such a magazine, leaving the back unstaffed.  I carefully watched the man as he twitched and bit his finger nails and so forth but he didnt work up the courage to do anything.  finally... he got up to go to the bathroom, without his shoes, and I called the flight attendant over and told him how shady that man was being and to keep an eye on him because he was suspicious. He said thanks and that he would.  I spent the entire multi-hour flight pretending to be asleep and watching him extremely closely. My eye lids got so tired.

I just got invited to dinner though so I have to go but I figured I will atleast go into the lobby and try and find internet to post this one message. There will be more to come when I have slightly more time.

I will leave on a happy note too... that when we got to Russia and were going through Passport Control, there were a lot of foreigners and my Resident Director made a bet that if you could get the person who checks your passport to smile, he would give you 100 rubles. Well.... mine was a woman and I am... me, so I took the bet. I walked up to the woman (who was actually pretty cute) and handed her my passport.  The girl looked at my passport and then looked up at me, raised her eyebrow, and put her hand on her chin (rubbing it) - she was asking about the facial hair I had when I had my passport photo taken. I asked her "Вам нравися моя борада?" (do you like my beard?) and she shook her head and SMILED said "Нет, лучше так" (no, it's better this way -- but saying it in a funny and flirty way) and almost laughed, I swear to god, she almost laughed. I smiled and said "thank you" and turned to my RD, who was still in line, and gave him a huge thumbs up.  It was a good first experience with a Russian on Russian soil and it definitely set a good tone for me.

All in all, I have having an awesome time and am so so happy and will write more when I have more time and stuff. Sorry, I have to bounce now.


  1. Look at u using your lp skills to monitor ur surroundings and keep tabs on unusual behavior! My apprentice is growing...

  2. I think you're the paranoid one. The poor guy probably just had restless leg syndrome or something, and wondered what this American tool was doing looking at him through his eyelids.