Hello again!

I know it’s been a long time - the past year of my life has been crazy busy between dealing with school and life. 

However, I am attempting to do it again - GO BACK TO KAZAN! I am applying for the CLS Program. It is essentially a college version of NSLI-Y. I’m very excited about this!

My last full day in Kazan ((((((

I have been too busy to write! So I’ll continue to write things after I get home, and then I’ll close up the blog with how/if i went through reverse culture shock and write about that process.

I saw the legend today.

But he was too fast to photograph.

62 автобус ходить всегда!

I began screaming at such a beautiful sight.


Don’t you wish you were me? Not only am I in Russia on a fully paid study abroad trip, but I got a free umbrella today!

And a free button!

My favorite photo so far from this trip. I walked home in the pouring rain today.

It was one of the most refreshing things I’ve ever done. I felt so alive.

My favorite photo so far from this trip. I walked home in the pouring rain today.

It was one of the most refreshing things I’ve ever done. I felt so alive.



Saturday evening I counted no less that 39 uniformed police officers patrolling Bauman, the pedestrian walkway. Couldn’t figure out why they were there. Yesterday had tons of patrols, as did today. No idea why.

They travel in packs of three, all armed with batons, one of them carrying a leather map bag— the one with the bag is always in the middle. Thankfully the Kazan police are pretty relaxed; they just wander about and don’t bother people. Unlike in Moscow or Peterburg, where there will always be police hanging out the metro to snag the first Caucasian guy they see, just to harass him »

I was on Bauman Saturday evening as well! WHAT IF YOU SAW ME


In other news, I saw a lot of policemen as well. But they are very polite here (much more than they are in the states, for the most part)…today one let me go in front of him in line when I was buying shawarma! I was so surprised and so were my friends. Hahaha.

I also got brutally lost one day and one really helped me out by pointing me in the right (and safe) direction; I unfortunately walked into a semi shady area and there was no one besides him and gopniki drinking next to their cars.

Conclusion: cops in Kazan are nice, from what I’ve experienced.

Hey guys, look at me being cool in this manly tubeteika. (Literally, it’s a men’s hat…)

Hey guys, look at me being cool in this manly tubeteika. (Literally, it’s a men’s hat…)

1 Week in Kazan

It feels like it’s been forever already.

I’m having so much fun with my group, by myself, and with my family. They’re great.

Yes, our group already has jokes. Or at least a few of us have our injokes. For example, 4:20 (or 16:20) is not the bad time that comes to mind as an American teenager, but instead, НУЖНЫЙ ГЕНТЕЛМЕН TIME! [Nuzniy Gentlemen, the Necessarily Gentleman…]

Today at precisely this time I received a phone call asking if I needed groceries from two fellow group members. Why? Нужный гентелмен.

Class is very, very challenging. I get hours of homework a night. I’m learning a lot though, and that’s what matters. I came here to not just experience Russia, but learn Russian after all. (To anyone who wishes to apply: don’t let this aspect deter you - the experience outweighs the work, trust me!)

As I said, I have fun by myself too! After class before I go home, I’ll explore the city a bit. I get lost a lot. I walk way more than I ever have in America. But it’s so satisfying to navigate an unknown place on your own and actually find what you were looking for. 

I’ve also had McDonalds…twice. Вот что я люблю! [The slogan in Russian]

 Just gotta put it out there that Russian McD’s>American McD’s. Take that, America. We do YOUR THING better HERE. Hahahaha! 

I bought books of Russian poets and stuff…and Metro 2033. I need to find Roadside Picnic and I’m set. :D

There are shelves and shelves of STALKER books…shelves and shelves.

………………Must resist buying.

I can also ride the bus and the metro home without error! УРАААА!

And my family is simply the best. Everyone is so nice and my grandma makes me blini a lot. Life is good here in Russia. Very good.

I actually sleep here too and get decent exercise. 

Well, that’s all for now folks! До скорого! (do skorovo, see you soon!)

50 Rubles

50 rubles buys a lot more than one can think, and I’m not talking about things being cheaper (for the most part they are - I bought 2 liters of water today for about 71 cents, which is awesome) here in Russia. 

Today I rode the metro home, and at the end of the station there was a babushka playing on her accordion.  I noticed in her bucket there was only about 5 ruble coins and a few kopeks. She played so beautifully and it really hurt to see so many people just walk on by. As soon as I got up the stairs, I plopped 50 rubles in her bucket, which is not much to me. In America, 50 rubles is approximately 1.50 USD.

However, something else meant a lot to me. When she saw how much I put in, she stopped playing because she was surprised. The smile on her face meant multitudes to me - it felt so great to see someone so happy. She spoke in Tatar (she also spoke Russian, but I assume she thought I was Tatar or assumed I was native (good…haha)). I had to explain to her that I spoke only Russian and English and that I was studying Russian here in Kazan.

She played a beautiful, beautiful song for me after our little разговор (conversation).  Afterwards, I told her I had to go home to eat and do homework. After our goodbye, she shouted “Bless you and your beautiful soul, devushka!” before I exited the metro station.

I am tearing up now writing this - the amount of happiness you can give a person by little gestures is quite lifting and fulfilling.

What a beautiful moment.

Я дома - I am home

I am home - alive and well. Still slightly sleepy, but well. I slept a full night (8 hours), even though I woke up a few times.

My host family is so nice - my mom and grandmother are very hospitable and my grandmother keeps giving me lots of hugs haha

I am very happy to be here in Russia. I have class today at 12 or 1ish. 

I’ve also been eating well - the food is great! :)