Katya in Moscow (Part I)

Privyet from Mother Russia, where, I’ve recently discovered, there is a wizarding school by the name of Koldovstoretz, not to be confused with Durmstrang (which is actually located in Bulgaria and not Russia?!?!) Like Hogwarts, this esteemed Koldovstoretz Institution has apparently lost my gah damn letter of invitation in the mail, so I haven’t had the chance to become a wizard yet.  I’ll become a Russian in the meantime.

Anywhoo, I severely (SEVERUSly**) digress.  It’s come to my attention that I haven’t written a single blasted blog post since I arrived to Moscow three weeks ago, and this needs to be remedied.  Life here is pretty much infinitely bizarre and riddled with hilarious, nonstop idiosyncrasy, so I think I’ve been too occupied by da entertaining adventures and angry babushkas to sit down and write about it all.

Unfortunately, I’m unwilling to sit here for the next 27 hours recounting all that’s gone down so far (my fingers would get so pissed YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW omgah), but here are some of the highlights:

IMG_0159

This is the palace where I live.  Apparently, I’m a pretty big deal here, and they’ve named me Tsaritsa Katya of Moscow State University – it’s mainly a symbolic role, kind of a “Queen of England” gig, but I can’t say I’m not flattered.

Below is a small video tour of my regal inner dwellings:

I tried to tell them, like, “Look guys, I’m just a normal person like everyone else – I don’t need all this special treatment; I’m a simple girl with simple tastes,” but they just wouldn’t have it and insist on treating me like a Tsar, so I mean, whatever, who am I to complain amirite?! ehehe

Also, I have my own personal bank, which is pretty snazzy:

 

All in all, life is Russia is quite good.  Castles and royalty aside, I’m loving it here – the food on campus has defied vastly my expectations (in a good way, aside from the surprise cow tongue I once found in my salad), the people are quite nice (even the patrolling babushkas who like to invade my room while I’m showering, hoping to lecture me about the dangers of fire, replacing refrigerators with chairs, offering me chocolates – it keeps me on my toes, and I never have any way of knowing what’s coming next…I can’t help but visualize a babushka breaking down my door with an axe, screaming “Heeeeeere’s Johnny”/”Воооот Жонни”….Omgahsuchnightmarezbutthey’reactuallyreallysweetladiesISWEAR)

(Above is visual documentation of the subtle refrigerator swap that went down about a week ago)

Another magical element of Moscow Life has been the track team that I joined a couple of weeks ago.  I run in a place called the “Moscow Sport Palace” (fittingly continuing the theme of regality and further persuading me that I may be of long lost, noble Romanov descent) and am both meeting some of the fittest, friendliest Russians around town while simultaneously sculpting myself into an Olympic, gold medalist runner named Svetlana (gon’ make dis dream a reality – just you wait til May, homeys ;D).

Here’s a pic after ice skating/running a 5k one fine Saturday morning on an ice-rink-I-mean-running-path along the river:

IMG_0449.PNG

(I’m in the center dressed in black, wif my good homedawg/speed demon Masha in white, beside me)

HOKAY, so I am being summoned to dinnalin and must leave this update as it is.  More will soon come – I am by no means finished spinning peculiar tales of my Moskva days.

Poka for now.

Advertisements

Une Folle en France

As a number of you may have already known or suspected, I’ve recently hopped the pond and moved on over to France, a fromage-filled, delectable wonderland. My mission and raison d’être here is both to teach English and to upgrade my own level of Français. Before my departure, I’d been feeling fairly confident in my French abilities; I had been reading French Harry Potter on the daily in NYC, and, obviously, mastering Harry Potter in French is the highest mark of impeccable language skeeillz. I was surprised to find that reading Harry Potter and conversing with a family of French natives are, in fact, two entirely different things, and you cannot compare your aptitude for bilingual wizard fiction comprehension with real-life, speedy, colloquialism-ridden French convos. It’s apples and oranges; sorcerers and squibs; Severus and Spongebob.  I’d like to think that it was merely jet lag causing me to stumble through introductions, forget how to say “breakfast,” occasionally mispronounce a word so appallingly that the family thought I was swearing at them (this happened only once and was due in part to trickery of the mastermind pictured below), etc.  It could also simply be that the average French dinnertime conversation does not consist only of Harry Potter vocab.  Who really knows.

thibaultalapiscine

Thibault: Trickster/Mastermind Extraordinaire

It’s been a week now, though, and each day I sound less like a demented buffoon and more like a refined French lady (although, I, of course, realize that the leap from “demented” to “refined” is a large one, and it may take me a sec to work out the kinks and transform into a glorious French butterfly.

However, this week has been all about rest, relaxation and the transition from sleep-deprived lunacy to my natural state of a functional, cheery, semi-maniacal gal. Living with an absolutely wonderful French family at their gorgeous poolside home, while exploring the gigantic, magical forest to be discovered just down the road from the house has helped me immensely with the transition into what appears to be an extraordinary new life and adventure to be had here in Poitiers.

poolnicholas

View of the poolio from ma chambre and Nicholas being tossed around in la piscine 😀

Nevertheless, my fingers remain firmly crossed for Monday because that is the day that the real adventures begin.  I will teach (for the first time !!whoahowahowhoah!!) English to the three boys who live here with me in this magnificent home, aaaand my French university classes begin bright and early that fine journée; maybe I’ll make some new international homeys. Fingers crossed, fingers crossed, doigts croisés!

A bientôt, y’all.