Monday, July 6, 2009

Day and Night

that company has a ridiculous amount of money/Nevsky Prospect at night.

Sadovaya (Where I live) at Night

And this just looks really cool. I saw it from the other side first and I was wondering what spilled? Sprite tastes better here.

Sometimes I like to pretend I'm someone I'm not. Since I've been living here I've mostly been a secret agent. Renting out a room from an elderly Russian woman in an unassuming neighborhood and low profile location. My "missions" have included: photographing and geotagging parts of the neighborhood (using the GPS on my phone to geotag pictures so I can upload them to the map on my computer so I don't get lost), securing the delivery of top secret documents between metro stops (reading the morning newspaper), locating valuable antique Russian works of art (browsing antique stores). My latest mission is the most important one yet though! I'm a US secret service agent here in Petersburg infiltrating a Russian ultranationalist party plotting to kidnap President Obama while he's in Moscow... I know you're thinking that this sounds absolutely childish and elementary but TRY IT! It makes your life a lot more fun. When's the last time you had a fun day? My secret missions are fun everyday.

Today I saw a record number of Black people. Possibly a couple of Americans and the rest were definitely African. And I think that they feel safer being out on the streets during the middle of the day than at night. On my way back from our final excursion to the museum a very well dressed African shook my hand and asked me "how's it going" my response was "what's up homie". We're about the same age so addressing him as homie is very appropriate. We didn't stop to chat. We both just acknowledged each other shook hands and kept it moving like the laws of inertia (still waiting on someone to get that). Geeze!? Didn't you pay attention in high school physics?!

I don't know what's gotten into Tanya today. She's being unusually nice. Creepily nice but it feels really genuine. I was in my room and the doorbell rang and it was Tanya. I helped her with her bags that I knew were too heavy for her and asked her in Russian where I should put them. She mostly deliberately does not speak Russian but she told me (in Russian) to put them on the table. And then (all in Russian) asked if I wanted dinner and I said yes. After she finished preparing dinner (I've been sitting at the kitchen table this whole time finishing postcards and keeping an eye out on her making sure she doesn't try and poison my food) she asked if I wanted anything else (in Russian). I told her I was fine. She said if I needed help with anything that I should just come knock on her door. Word?! Did she just win a million rubles today or something? And I know the cynical person reading this is saying "her mom just told her to be nicer to you" but I'm telling you her kindness today was genuine. First time I've seen her smile...

Maybe I've just been reading her wrong this whole time. Plus dinner was excellent.

What I did today after my morning post. I left the house. Got some shaverma and a red bull. Hid the shaverma in my morning newspaper and ate it once I got to the bottom of the metro station. Got on the train and rode two stops to school. Showed up to class. Not on time. Not late. But precisely when I meant to. Because I'll be in Moscow next week class was 3 hours long as opposed to two 1 hour long classes. I had the young fast speaking teacher today. And funny thing is. I understood her. Perfectly. I participated and was attentive and I realize that Russian is starting to make sense. I still can't say four sentences without making at least 4 grammar mistakes but I can understand what's going on most of the time.

I went home. Typed up an e-mail to Ugochi. Which reminds me!** click on the link at the bottom. How silly/interesting is that. "I work for Nigaz." However, I once again have a leg up on what's going on in the world. My former area of expertise and Russia are making things happen in the world of energy. If the Ph.D. gig don't cut it for me you can find me between Lagos and Moscow making business deals for two countries that I think are both on the rise economically. I'd of course live and operate somewhere in the European Union cause both countries are extremely grimy and corrupt. But in terms of business ventures all my business people will be salivating over Nigerian and Russian markets in the next two to three years.

I've said enough. Postcards. Homework. Paper.

Stay tuned.

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