Thursday, August 15, 2013

"Eto Vse"

Comrades,

While I always start every post with an apology for the extended lag time between posts, this time I really mean it. I apologize for the two week delay.

Two weekends ago, we went on an overnight excursion to Aigir, a small mountain village in the Ural Mountains accessible only by train. The scenery was truly remarkable, untouched and absolutely picturesque.

A very-well kept lakeside garden (sad) in Aigir.

Our intrepid leader, Djafar. Djafar is an ethnic Bashkir badass. But really. He carried a loaded gun to fight off bears and a belt with shrapnel and a knife. He also told us how he killed a bear by himself, and even showcased the bear paw as proof. When he got to the top of the mountain, he snacked on water, vodka, cigarettes, pickles and bread. Definition of badass.


Aigir

Taken by a friend towards the top of the mountain of us slackers "scaling" the mountain.

Plaque on the trail. Made in the USSR.

Another view from the top of Mount Karatash. Worth the trip.

Aigir, view from the railroad track.

Our weekend cabin


River in Aigir

View from the top of Mount Karatash

Unfortunately, while hiking Mount Karantash, my head hit a tree trunk and I incurred a mild concussion. Fortunately, I was in the wonderful care of our CLS staff and I went to the hospital and took a few days off from school to rest. It was quite an experience. On the plus side, I learned a lot of new Russian medical terms. And please do not worry - I AM FINE. FABULOUS, in fact. I am feeling much better and am totally fine, but the past two weeks have been spent healing and (ironically) working (final tests and presentations).

We had our final presentations today. Tomorrow, Liobov, Renat and I are going to Dom-Musee (House Musem) T'ulkin, a 20-th century painter. And then the 35-hour journey home begins (Ufa-Moscow, Moscow-Frankfurt, Frankfurt-DC, DC-EWR). But that's life.

Well, there is really so much more I could share. Ufa has certainly had its share of awesomely awkward host mother stories, crazy and funny moments and insightful experiences. I am so grateful to everyone who helped make this experience -- especially my language partner Diana, and Liobov and Renat.

In a few short weeks, I am excited to return to this part of the world and launch my Fulbright experience in Kazakhstan. Stay tuned!

For now, eto vse (that's all) from Ufa, Russia. I leave you with Yuri Chevchuk, Ufa-native and frontman of the band DDT singing "Eto Vse."


Friday, August 2, 2013

Trip to Lenin Museum

Comrades,

Well, week 6 is done, and now I have two weeks left in Ufa! How time flies! And I have a MONTH until Kazakhstan. CRAZY.

Anyways, this week has been fun. We celebrated Renat's birthday so I gave him a card that says "You're always 17" and a bottle of Martini -- one of the only liquors Liobov will consume (she generally does not drink, however I have found that sharing a few shots of liquor with Renat is a great way to bond).

This week, I went to the Dom-Musee (house museum) of Vladimir Lenin. Lenin lived in Ufa for several months in 1900 with his wife and mother in law. Lenin actually came to the house illegally, without permission from the Tsarist government (at the time you needed permission to move) in 1900. He stayed for around 6 months, left and returned for a bit, but ultimately lived in the house for less than a year.

Interior of the Lenin House Museum.

Lenin's Report Card  from when he was a student at University in Kazan. A studious individual fluent in French and German, Lenin majored in Law. As you see from his report card, he received all "5" (the equivalent of an A) with one exception: he received a 4 in "Logic." Does anyone else find this funny? 
Outside of the house. A prime piece of real estate in the city center.
I also went to the Vietnam rynok (finally!!!!!!!) last weekend. I unfortunately don't have time to write about it, as I am off to Aigir, a small village in the Ural Mountains for the weekend. But I will!