Friday, 26 August 2011

blah blah blah 7 days blah

Countdown Calculator

Your time: 1:13AM Sat August 27, 2011
Target date: 9:00AM Sat September 3, 2011
Time remaining until this event is 175 hours, 46 minutes and 6 seconds.
Time remaining until this event is one week and less than one day.

Have decided it is not acceptable to bring my ninja turtles snuggie with me to Russia. This does however mean that my hoody with bear ears is an absolute necessity. As is the donkey hat.
Acceptable and Mature Winter wear
Sometimes I wonder if my lack of shame needs addressing.

I had my last exam today. The lecturer saw me when I came out (an hour early) and tried to convince me that I was merely being negative when I said I failed. Lovely a sentiment as that is, I most definitely did fail. Whyyyy do Russian verbs all look the same? And why is retaining Russian vocab to use in essays so difficult compared to French? Mon Dieu. Anyway. Exams are over, I am sure I have passed one...Hurray! I missed one thanks to illness and messed up 2. But I do know a lot about history, so I will at least be able to tell Russians who lived in the Soviet Union exactly what a dipstick Stalin was. Once I learn to speak Russian I will, anyway. 
Should be more concerned about the poor performance but I appear to be ill again, look like a chipmunk thanks to swollen glands and am extremely dosed up on codeine. Plus it's been fairly hellish just getting to this point so I'm glad to have got even as far as exams this year.

Visa invitations still aren't through but we are promised that the scans will be emailed to us by Monday. Ya ochen' lyublyu russian bureaucracy...really, what would a trip to Russia be without the excessive stress caused by the application process?

In other news, my town was subject to the ridiculous rioting and looting that took place in London this month, and the straw from the riot police horseboxes has only just cleared from Tesco car park. HMV was the worst looted and there was generally a lot of mindless damage, including the burning down of a major Sony building, but fortunately for me Milletts was never going to be a target and I bought essential thermal layers a few days after, when shops started opening again. If the rioters had a few more brain cells to rub together then they could have looted themselves some nice wet weather gear and not have been put off their 'political protest' by the drizzle.
I was angry. But then Boris Johnson brought his awesome hair to my town and I met them both. My life was pretty much made.
I heart his hair. 
       One week til Russia. Time for a haircut,         the ultimate preparation for any major life event. Memories of arriving in Russia last year, getting off the train with our backpacks and having our names called out and assigned to our hosts like evacuees... this time we go by minibus from Moscow to Yaroslavl' and get dropped off where we are staying. Worst part without a doubt.
Wonder if I should be getting a gift for my host? Hmm. Must find out protocol. Then schedule in a trip to John Lewis.

Shall continue to ignore list of things to do the length of my arm in favour of denial, for now. Time for some midnight cottage cheese.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

4 weeks and 1 day

Countdown Calculator
Your time: 1:29AM Fri August 5, 2011
Target date: 9:00AM Sat September 3, 2011
Time remaining until this event is 703 hours, 30 minutes and 16 seconds.
4 weeks and one day.


I keep losing my 'Important stuff to do before I move to Russia' lists, and as the above shows, the event is getting a little close for comfort, so the reasoning behind this blog is to record such things online, where they should be safe. News of the World is out of business, so that reduces the risk of my information going astray considerably at any rate. I can have a ramble while I'm at it. I'm good at rambling.

Going through the visa process to get to Yaroslavl on 3rd September at the moment. Staying there until 23rd December and then repeating the entire process to go to St Petersburg some time in February. 

I was declared HIV free today, which is nice. Got a lovely little 'certificate' declaring the fact. Slightly disappointed at the lack of ceremony surrounding it though. A triple folded piece of paper shoved into a 'recycled' envelope (receptionist is a keen green party voter, I know this through eavesdropping while I was waiting at the last appointment) which was previously addressed to one 'Gemma Yates', (but her name and details were subject to stringent security and privacy procedures, as clearly indicated by the ballpoint scribbles through them, so it's ok) is not quite the oak framed, formally presented Magna Carta-esque kinda affair I had in mind.  It doesn't even have a stamp on it, just a 'Name, DOB blah blah was tested for HIV on X date and tested negative', with the consultant's signature underneath. The Russians won't like that. They need at least two pretentious looking stamps to take anything seriously. I look forward to a Russkii repeat of the 45 minute ordeal that was attempting to extract my blood to do the HIV test. At least I won't have to sit with my arms and legs in buckets of hot water out there, they're much less picky over actually being able to feel a vein before they plunge needles into your skin, it's more a case of having a poke around under the skin and when the blood appears, success! I'm sure they'll easily outdo the 12 attempts it took this time round.    

RLUS have sent an email round saying that the invitation letters are being delayed, so we might not get them until August 18th, meaning that the visas can't be applied for until then. Whilst this should be a source of anxiety, in case the visas get delayed on top of that, since I wasn't actually going to be issued with one until passing my exams which end on 26th August I can't say I'm too bothered. I'm more worried about not actually being able to speak Russian, which is a bit of an issue when you're facing the prospect of living with a host in Russia from September to June. Ok, there's a bit of a break over Christmas when I switch from Yaroslavl to St Petersburg, but still. Must make a list of essential vocab to learn. 'Bedpan' is going to feature. Not going down that line again if I get hospitalised this time round.

Also need to make a proper list of things I need to take with me. Then cut it in half. How you're supposed to pack to cover temperatures of anything from +30 to -30 degrees in 20kg is beyond me. It's also going to take me a while to decide which of my many hats and scarves to take and which to leave. I'm a little miffed as to how I managed to end up with quite as many as I do. Also, is it socially acceptable at my age to try to stuff in my teenage mutant ninja turtles Raphael snuggie? He was totally the best one.
Pro Plus must feature. Being antisocial at the best of times, I don't do well when I'm expected to make an effort/be sociable when I'm tired. Dreading the first few weeks when you have to be happy and sociable and make an effort to meet people. Possessing the energy levels of a sloth does not serve me well in these contexts. But Pro Plus overdoses have saved me on many occasions, so fingers crossed.
Need to make copies of every important document I own.
Need to get some awesomely flattering passport photos, because apparently you need them out there.
Need to unpack from getting back from uni.
Need to learn Russian language, Russian history and Russian political thought by the 22nd. 
Need to find passport. Should probably make that one a priority...

Need to make a real things to do list.

Going to go get some cottage cheese and ponder all the bad things that could happen in Russia, because that's what happens at 3am. 

Must also think of positives to living in Russia.

Lots of tvorog, I guess...