*Apologies for lack of photos. With the impending internet apocalypse nothing wants to upload*
You know what's really rubbish about living here? Once you've got past the initial 'WOOOO I'M IN RUSSIA EVERYTHING'S REALLY EXCITING' phase, everything becomes normal. And that is why I am sat here writing this when I have a list of things to do that just keeps growing. As hopeful as I was that cold weather would put it off, (no pun intended) procrastination follows me wherever I go. I can't quite accept that I should be getting stressed over work here, it doesn't feel right. However, I have masses of a year abroad project to write, 2 (newly announced as assessed) pieces from 'СМИ' (Some utterly useless subject on which I refuse to write any more for fear of getting too angry and smashing something) and a test in grammar on everything up to reading week.
I also need to reply to an email from a Russian, in Russian-and that means I actually have to attempt to write correctly, as opposed to, 'let's put a 'ski' or an 'ov' on the end of that English word, that'll make it sound more Russian, sure they'll get my drift' . And wash my hair. And, most likely within the next few hours, buy a new modem, because my internet is due to die today, and I will be devastated. I don't like to dwell too much on what will happen if it does and I don't get new internet today, but I imagine it will be somewhat akin to life in the dark ages. Admittedly, I think of the dark ages and conjure up apocalyptic images of horsemen and lava (I may have my historical events mixed up a wee bit here, one being based in the 10th century, and one being a biblical nonsense of what is to come), but I think it's quite clear that without internet (read: google translate) I am likely to fall into some sort of major depression. I envision myself rocking slowly back and forth in a corner of the room, spattering out Russian cases, interspersed with the odd frantic (incorrect), recitation of verbs of motion. Behind the tv, most likely. That's about the only spot the frickin cat has not messed all over. God I hate Rizhik.
Firdaus' daughter is home at the moment. She came home from uni early, and is now staying past the end of her holiday. Firdaus is clearly incredibly fed up of her. As is Russian Step Dad. And Hannah. But she's going soon. Next week for definite. Probably.
I should probably explain the family.
Exhibit A: Firdaus. Head of some cultural whatsit group, constantly rushing around as if she's late for something, almost always on the phone, has road rage. Has a partner: Russian Step Dad/Mogamed. Enjoys frying things and talking at the speed of light. Nice. Thinks every health issue is caused by open windows or drinking яд (yad- poison) ie Coke. Our influence for now referring to every fizzy drink as 'yad' or, if we are feeling healthy, 'yad light'. Has the audacity to preach this whilst wearing a top on which a pepsi bottle is printed.
Exhibit B: Mogamed. I only knew of him as Russian Step Dad (RSD) until Hannah told me his real name. This doesn't stop me from calling him RSD (not to his face, obvs, although he wouldn't understand anyway, and doesn't talk to me, either). Asked Hannah to get me to bring hearing aid batteries from home for his brother. Visits at awkward times, has a strange accent (this from the foreigner who can barely string a sentence together in Russian) loves Hannah and ignores me. Redeeming feature: Fixes the light bulbs in my room on the many occassions Russian electricity kills them. Also fixed the curtains when I managed to break the rail.
Exhibit C: Nadia. Firdaus' daughter, at uni in Kazan (apart from now). Apparently shares a room with 2 or 3 other girls at uni and generally doesn't get a great deal of privacy by the sound of it, so is taking full advantage of being home and Firdaus doing everything for her. Plays her music very loudly and irritates Hannah, being in the next room to her. Enjoys 'House'. Especially enjoys that Firdaus does not like this 'foreign series'. Is actually very nice apart from this.
Exhibit D: Rizhik. Depressed cat. Ginger. Makes unnatural meowing sounds. Scratches at my door and jumps on my bed, scratches and meows obnoxiously when I kick him out. Known as a 'hooligan' by Firdaus, who thinks that despite his unpleasant behaviour, everyone loves him. (She's wrong).
As host families go, I think it's a pretty decent situation. It would be nice if Firdaus didn't try to force tea down my throat at every little sniffle (cure for everything here - London wouldn't have suffered half as much if Firdaus had been there with a samovar during the plague) and if there wasn't something going on that we can't quite figure out, but which upsets Firdaus massively. Her and RSD sometimes have massive fights and usually she ends up crying her eyes out. Hasn't really happened since Nadia has been home, probably because there have been arguments between her and Firdaus/RSD instead, but I'm sure they'll resume. Nay mind, it occupies us when attempting to guess what is going on at any rate.
Firdaus was most excited to hear that we were going to Uglich yesterday (yes, again, but this was a trip with uni. We were assured there would definitely be several churches and no reporters this time). We were all cultured up and somehow I managed to recall first year history and know exactly what was going on in most of the paintings we saw in churches and museums. The guide even had a sense of humour, adding at one point that, 'we do, after all, live in a relatively free country'. It was a fairly amusing tour anyway, given that much of it centred around Ivan the Terrible, who did some pretty unbelievable things, but the sometimes slightly awkward english of the guide helped, when, for instance, she talked about how he had a 'mentally insane son, if it is ok to say so'...well, no, it isn't really, but you're lols Irina so do go ahead.
*Please imagine photos of pretty church like things here. An iconastasis is always nice.*
There are 40 days until I go home. Might change it to a few days earlier, just because of practicalities - things aren't easy to organise when you land on the evening of the 23rd, and I have no idea how my Father is going to buy any presents without me there, but that is yet to be seen, and might require a trip to Moscow just to check if there are any seats on planes which are in the right category, which is a bit of an effort. It would have been so much easier to have booked the flight myself in hindsight; cheaper and easier to change flights, but meh. We'll see.
Also, the year abroad tutor is coming to see us on Thursday. This means I have less than a week in which I must avoid falling ill/injuring myself. If it doesn't snow again, I stand a good chance. Somehow I fell over last week, and I swear there wasn't even any ice. The Russians looked at me with disgust. Score. So, despite my ever protesting nervous system protesting more than ever (woo word play!), I feel I deserve to be smug at this upcoming meeting, so long as I can avoid any medical catastrophes. Ura!
I am going to wash my hair now. Slowly working up the things to do list, least important first.