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."


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