I’ve been here such a long time, I’m very old and wizened now, can’t you tell? Heed my sage reflections.
This month, I wish I’d known…
- to take pictures of everything. My dorm rooms, my house, my family, my neighbors, my neighbors’ dogs, the food I eat on a daily basis, the food I eat on holidays… powerpoint presentations about life in America would be easier if I’d been thinking about them while I was still in America.
- that hand-washing laundry is fun and kind of cathartic, but only if I keep up with it and don’t try to wash a month’s worth of socks at one go.
- about the washing machine in the basement of my dorm. Really, Ms. Komandant? When we had that 25-minute conversation about options for cleaning my clothes, you never thought to mention it?
- that 5% milk is the besssttttt.
- that peanut butter is not impossible to find, but I have to stop looking for it. Like Narnia.
- that in Russia, “hypoallergenic” soap/lotion/anything definitely still contains dye and fragrance. Therefore, bring your American 16oz bottle of Eucerin, even if your suitcase is super heavy. It will save you having to scour stores for hours and find no lotion* that won’t make you break out and look like a leprous lobster.
- that I need my passport to get into that local pub I’ve been hearing about… unless I go with a group of Russians who are obviously over 18. Because I’m not obviously over 18.
- that pumpkin/butternut squash pie is a huge hit and will make you friends. But that doesn’t mean it’s not scary, and you may need to use your influence as Exotic American to make people try it.
- that evening time is prime time, and I shouldn’t make recurring evening commitments I don’t really care about. (Because then I will have long, empty mornings and evenings packed to the gills.)
- to bring formal clothes, so that I don’t have to face the possibility of performing in a borrowed dress that looks something like this, but a more highlighter shade of pink.
*I take that back. They do sell Clinique here. It is also half again as expensive as in the US, where they already demand your firstborn child in exchange for a 6.7oz jar of the elixir of life or something.