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...

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