Monday, July 6, 2009


Hard at work last summer doing the journalism thing.

Cheburashka tribute. the Graffiti next to him says "who is president" "а кто президент"

that's funny if you understand Russian politics.

Last summer was interesting. I lived with my parents back in Huntsville, Texas and worked as a writer/photographer for the Huntsville Item (local newspaper). I miss my old job at the Item. I had my own desk and I got to write a lot of really interesting stories. One of my favorite stories was the one I did on my mom when she was awarded her High School Principal of the Year Award (2nd time) by The Texas Association of High School Principals. I got to ride to Austin with her and we got to bond and I had an overall good experience with her at the Principals conference.

My second favorite assignment(s) was covering the Women's Olympic Gymnastics training and trails at their training facilities down the road from my house. Russian relevance! One of the girls on the team is Russian. Настиа Лиукин.

What I wouldn't give for some REAL Mexican food or a sandwich/burger without cucumbers right now.

I'm currently working on Russian grammar homework and listening to DJ Screw. And I'm instantly reminded of the hours on end I'd spend at the barbershop waiting on Tim to get to me. And of my Uncle Alex who played this music when I was growing up 6-11. And almost everyone else I knew older than me listened to DJ Screw Mix tapes. Freshman year I survived homesickness by adding about a quarter of Tim's DJ Screw collection to my iTunes and studying to that. I digress. Back to Russia.

I know it's early to be formulating my opinions of Russians seeing as how I've got two weeks left here but I've pretty much dismissed my original theory that racism in Russia is out of control. I've been really sheltered since I've been but I had envisioned myself always having to out run skinheads and other extremist groups. So far (knock on wood) there's been none of that. It's been the exact opposite.

A lot of people are intrigued by me and want to be my friend. Countless Russians have bought me drinks and then there are always the ones that want to have their picture taken with me. When they find out I'm American they become even more excited. I went to a corner store next to my house today and the guy that works there asked me if I wanted something to eat. I told him that I already had dinner. We had met on Saturday but I didn't know he worked there. I like it here and I would like to come back for a year on a Fulbright Fellowship. E-mailed a Dean about it and other fellowships today. Thanks for the tip Christian. She really helped.

Peter thought it was strange that I was wearing a green shirt with anime characters on it. I'm pretty sure he expects me to wear some incredibly hood get up. Complete with a basketball jersey and a tall tee? I don't even know what gangster or hip-hop apparel is anymore these days. At any rate, I find Peter expecting me to dress like a "gangster" to be funny. I can't wear a nice shirt that I got in London cause it doesn't fit his image of what a Black person in America looks like. Ok. I'm done with race. Sorry to those of you that felt uncomfortable reading that.

The coffee here is not good at all. I hate it. I'm not a heavy coffee drinker by any means but whenever I need to jump start my brain I really like it. I hate starbucks but love the hazelnut coffee the libraries at Brown have. I usually put more sugar/cream in the coffee than coffee but it helps me get the job done. Here I've switched to red bull. Not the same thing at all.

The taboo topic is still under review. I'm hoping everything works out. And as soon as the taboo on it is lifted I'll fill everyone in on some incredibly great news.

I've seen and done a lot since I've been here. And these last couple of weeks I'll see and do a lot more. So I'll continue to write about my day to day but I'm interested in knowing what all 3 of y'all that read this want to know about Russia. Question away. I'm a genius. I'll have the answer. There's a segment that comes on the evening news that I call the "Vladmir Putin Show". That's something that's interesting. So just think about what you've always wanted to know about Russia or Europe and I'll give you more info on it that wikipedia and provide you with more references than google.

Stay Tuned.

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