Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My first month

We have now been in Yuzhno for 1 month.  How is it?  Well, it's not that bad.  Even though we are the new kids on the block, I don't feel all that green since this is not our first expat assignment.  I didn't come here with the expectation that it would be anything like Houston, which in my opinion is where some people start off wrong.  I knew that it would be different, and that the shopping would pale in comparison to the United States or Europe, or even the Middle East for that matter.  We are in Russia.  I get reminded of that as soon as the van pulls up to take us to school and the driver says, "доброе утро" (dohbrah ootrah, or good morning).  

When I go into town, I sometimes wish that I had a video camera to record some of the things that I see.  There is nothing like standing in line at the grocery store listening to people squabbling in Russian with the cashier while horrible techno music is blaring from the nearby speakers.  They play that stuff everywhere:  the shops, the cars, the park, everywhere.  It makes me miss the Doha stores where they would play the same Dolly Parton songs over and over again.  Just going to the grocery store here is an experience - I play a guessing game with the meats and cheeses and hope that it is at least something I have heard of, then get home and go to Google Translate to make sure.  So far so good on that one.  

Another game I play is "where is everyone from?".  That is always a fun one to play.  We did it a lot in Doha.  Americans are easy:  they are usually wearing sneakers and blue jeans.  Yes, me included, except I haven't worn sneakers in a long time.  My standard outfit in Doha was flip flops and blue jeans, but here I am either wearing boots or clogs.  Same difference, really.  If the footwear is comfortable, then you are probably from America.  The Russians are easy to spot also.  The women all seem to wear boots with at least a 4-inch heel - spiked heel, that is.  And they are usually wearing a mini-skirt.  All I have to say, is good for them.  I will wear my jeans and comfy, warm shoes with pride!  

Another big difference for us here is the school run.  It seems that Adam needs a ton of stuff for school:  his carseat, which we have to take out each time, his snack and drink, his book bag for his library books, his 'indoor shoes' (they require that the kids have a pair that are strictly for indoors and one for outdoors), his PE clothes, and an extra set of clothes in case he doesn't make it to the restroom.  In addition to all of that, he wears a coat, hat, and boots, which he has to shed once we get there.   

Another weird thing - trying to maintain a comfortable temperature in the house.  You wouldn't think this would be a problem, but it is.  We have hot water radiators, so they all have to be on so the pipes won't freeze.  The work crew came yesterday to 'winterize' the house, and they set them all on 4 (out of 5).  I turned a few down to 3, but it was still sweltering in here. Here it is 31 degrees outside, and I am laying in bed with the windows open and the air conditioner on!  Yes, the air conditioner.  

In case you're wondering, we still haven't received our air shipment.  I got a call at the end of last week saying that it was in Frankfurt and that it was due to arrive here on October 30th.  I am not holding my breath.  And as for my sea shipment, which had an ETA of October 22? When I check the tracking number online for our container, it says that it is due in Korea on November 14, and in Korsakov on October 22.  Hmm...apparently someone didn't put in the right month for the Korsakov arrival.  Well, the good news is the air shipment might actually beat the sea shipment, and I may win the bet afterall.  

I will try and get some more pictures of town next time I go.  We should hopefully have some snow pictures soon as well.  We had snow flurries today, but no accumulation.  No worries...it will be here soon enough!

1 comment:

Dan and Dee said...

your pictures are awesome!
Fun blog!