things I wish I’d known: september

As September comes to a (snowy) close, I’m getting into a somewhat reflective mood. Also, in preparing for my Fulbright/move to Russia, I found these sorts of lists really helpful.

So without further ado, I wish I’d known…

  1. to bring my HIV test results, for my visa extension application. I know I can get it re-done here, but it would have been easier to just bring my original test with me.
  2. to bring passport photos, for the same reason as the HIV test results.
  3. not to bring sweaters. Because it may be cold outside, but inside it’s so hot I literally sweat in a short sleeved oxford shirt. So cardigans are a good idea, but anything meant to be worn continually throughout the day… not so much.
  4. that printed photographs would make me really happy, and I should bring more than 10.
  5. that it actually really isn’t a faux pas to repeat your outfit 3 times in 10 days, therefore half of the clothes I brought are probably unnecessary.
  6. that water here is really hard, and heating here is really drying, and I probably should have brought more lotion.
  7. that everything I need for my classes will be available to me here, both materials-wise and emotional/informational-preparation-wise: no need to stress out about them beforehand.
  8. that you can in fact buy fresh produce in Ukhta (at least through the end of September). All the same, no leafy greens to be seen.
  9. that bringing an unlocked cell phone is only useful if said cell phone has a Russian keyboard enabled, and that’s not guaranteed.
  10. that if I ever want a smartphone, the time is now, because you can get 1GB of data and unlimited calls/texts in network for 90 rubles/$1.50 per month.
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