Привет, Katya’s Back

Привет, sup homeys, salut les potes – it’s me, Katya, comin’ atcha live from Moscow, the bizarre, magical world that I’ve been lucky enough to call my home for the past three months.  Now, I realize that I have severely, sickeningly neglected this blog to the point that, when I attempted to log on to my WordPress account, I was hurled obscenities and threatened with various forms of retribution, including banishment to Azkaban, public ridicule in the pillory, no ice cream for a decade, etc etc – BUT I must point out that I haven’t written not because I’ve had nothing to say, but, quite the contrary, because I’ve had too much to say; I’ve been completely, entirely distracted by the strange, glorious adventures and odd, hilarious experiences of everyday life here, and haven’t gotten a chance to catch mah golly forsaken breath to write it all down.  For that, I am deeply sorry. So here is a redemption post, which documents this past weekend spent in Saint Petersburg, and maybe now all will be forgiven and I can keep eating ice cream far from the chilly presence of pesky dementors and the stockade?? Я остаюсь с надеждой.

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I should start off by explaining that, despite a maddening knee injury and an upset, wrathful IT Band, my track team and best Russian homey Masha and I decided to hit up Petersburg last weekend with the goal of running a half marathon.  Upon mentioning our plan offhandedly to my track coaches a few days before taking off, they were neither amused nor in favor of this tomfoolery (can’t imagine why) and forbid me from running (again, cannot imagine why), so I planned to simply walk/limp it, Crippled Katya style.

Anywhooo Masha and my weekend started off rather unconventionally – that’s to say, with a mildly panicked, slightly clandestine 2:09 am train ride up north to St Pete’s.  The “mild panic” was the result of the train officials almost refusing to allow me onto the train, some hullaballoo about my passport identification not being legitimate…

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I simply cannot comprehend how they could deem this crumpled ghost face as an unacceptable form of i.d. Mind blowing.

So, after explaining that the international registration office has kidnapped and been holding my passport hostage for the past six weeks, and that I’m just a poor, knee-gimped gal trying to defy all odds and run a half marathon and, above all else, with the help of Masha and her boyfriend (at one desperate point, all of us, including the tiny train attendant lady sprinted as best we could with our bags and my busted knee the entire length of the train, which was unfortunately around 20007 kilometers long, to consult with the Bossman “Начальник” of the train, as the sweet little attendant shrieked all the way, “БЫСТРЕЕ БЫСТРЕЕ!!!! [faster faster!!]” at us), we ultimately persuaded the train staff and captain (I don’t think this is what you call a train’s leader??), himself, to let me on board, but only as a despicable illicit clandestine – they literally swore Masha and me to secrecy, never to tell a soul of these merciful acts.  They also warned me that I would probably never be allowed to return to Moscow with my wrinkled, phantom passport copy.  So, it was an all in all promising start.

At least things started looking up when we arrived to Saint P-burg, and it immediately started snowing on our sleepy faces, and my shoulders broke in half as I carried my duffel bag, realizing that 275 pounds of clothing is perhaps unnecessary for a weekend trip, and Masha discovered that she’d left her official race documentation in Moscow.  Oh wait…………….. But it’s cool, y’all, because anything and everything is possible in Russia, and all of our problems were soon resolved: after that silly joke with the snow, the sun popped out for the rest of the weekend, I simply grew new shoulders, and we found a copy center willing to print Masha a photoshopped race “справка” document (after we were rejected at the first couple of nerdy, “play by the rules” centers).  So, after averting a few casual catastrophes, we spent the rest of the day feasting and walking hundreds of kilometers around the beautiful city that is Santo Pedrosburg.  Of our discoveries, my personal fave is the Petersburg “Chocolate Museum,” which took us decades to locate, probably because it was literally a single tiny stand manned by one employee, offering a small array of truffles and some strange large chocolate squirrels and motorcycles…I’m not sure…I don’t….there are no words…… Sadly, I failed to take a photo of this jaw-dropping display.

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Since I don’t have a pic of chocolate squirrelies n motorbikes, here is an equally spectacular photo of one of the sites seen in this snazzy city (reminds me of Notre Dame’s dome)

Race day = an early morning and a delicious breakfast of home-brewed Kasha à la Masha aka MMMMMMM.  After our power feast, we headed off to the race, which I planned to walk like a hobbling, gloopy slug and Masha planned to dash like redbull-infused lightning.  We both fulfilled these goals.  Although, my performance ended a tad prematurely, and somewhat shamefully, as, after around six or seven kilometers, what I presumed to be a stalker bike man began to tail me closely and eventually explained to me that I was in last place and that it might be a good idea to vacate the premises immediately since apparently slow pedestrian injured gals are not welcome at such events ;(  I protested at first, but then it just got too embarrassing, and I quickly shuffled away into the shadowy horizon, never to be seen or heard from again.  Imagine a single tear… rolling down down down my cheek….hehehe but NAH mane, it was no big dealio.  I don’t know the meaning of shame, so I just hung ten for awhile, found some free redbull, did some dignity-rebuilding lunges and waited for Masha to finish (which she did in approximately 2.75 seconds :D).  The one good thing about being forcibly escorted off of the race track was that everyone seeing me walk around with my race number thought that I’d finished the race SUUUUUUPER quickly, and they were all like, “AAAAHHH WOW молодец, well done, number one female runner!!!!!!!!”  My 15 minutes of fake fame.  Glorious.

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Post-race galzz (МОЛОДЕЦ ЕЩЕ РАЗ, МАША))))) )

The rest of the dizzay was spent exploring the city and walking 2073 more kilometers around town, sipping hot wine like fancy ladies, exploring secret art parks, crossing sunset-lit bridges of magic and gold, and, of course, hitting up a (literally) hAwT bar where they, for some reason, enjoyed setting the bar on fire every hour or so.  I never figured out the logistical mechanics of this stunt, but I think we can rule out gasoline-dousing as a technique due to the lack of fumes.  Some mysteries go forever unsolved.  Что делать.

It goes without saying that we spent the entire night out painting the town, spending the first few drinks and delectable dessert-feasting with Pasha, our track team homey, and his wife, and then cabbing over to that pyromania bar I’ve already mentioned for some fiery festivities (heh).  Because we are insomniac warriors who require no sleep, we decided it would be a good idea to buy 5:30 am train tickets home to Москва, so we proceeded directly and seamlessly from party mode to coffee/morning/train mode.  Below is proof of our graceful, seamless transition:

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WE ARE BOTH JUST BLINKING – THE CAMERA FLASHED AT THE WRONG MOMENT OK? it’s nbd

And now, I must bid you all “до свидания!” as I hear some angry babushkas rapidly approaching (I think I’m sitting at an off limits table – THERE WILL BE SEVERE CONSEQUENCES IF I DON’T FLEE).  Don’t be alarmed.  But fo real, I’ve got to run, so until next time, which I very much hope will be in the near future.  Пока пока))

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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:

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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:

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(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.