re-entry

I haven’t posted at all recently because I’ve been wandering.

Oxford, London, Keswick, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Moscow…

Lots of wandering. And in the case of the first many places, wandering around a world that is decidedly more West than Ukhta.

A few and scattered observations on my mini-dip back into the Anglophone West:

  • I wanted to speak Russian to everyone I met. I mean, I didn’t desire to, but my default with strangers has become Russian. So saying “thank you” instead of “спасибо” to flight attendants took actual effort.
  • Public bathrooms with toilet seats, toilet paper, soap, and hot water caused me weird fits of delight that could not be contained (sorry, Dad).
  • Food is expensive in most places in the world.
  • Leafy greens are actually amazing, and so are sweet potatoes and mac and cheese and apple cider.
  • Not all bus drivers announce stops as they approach. Nor do they all remember the faces of their customers.
  • Oxford is beautiful and I want to live there.
  • London at 34 degrees and humid feels about as cold as Ukhta at 15 degrees and dry.
  • Soft water does magic for the skin. Like, I didn’t itch all night.
  • English weather and I get along really well.
  • Ukhta has prepared me for any ice-on-stone-steps you can throw at me. Bring it on.
  • I like mountains a lot.
  • I like using tricky/sidling-poetic words and knowing I will be understood.
  • Bel Air, MD does a better job of sending people out into the world than I realized: met one Bel Airian at a swing dance in Glasgow and another at the Fulbright conference in Moscow.
  • Speaking of that, I miss dancing.
  • Polyphony is really good for the soul.
  • The Book of Common Prayer just fits in England (fancy that).
  • Dogs should be allowed into pubs everywhere.
  • I get really excited to see my shadow, a la Peter Pan.
  • Wicked is an excellent show.
  • I can’t even make it 10 days without seeing Vickie.

Now a few (okay, many) pictures, because I’ve said enough already:

 

Also this week, we had our mid-year conference in Moscow. It was great to see presentations, but even greater to see people. I have such gigantic friend-crushes on a whole bunch of them… the kind where I would prefer time listening to them, bouncing ideas off of them, and creating memories with them over everything up to and including sleep. Ugh. Fulbrighters are brilliant. The end of the week was kind of weird. Often with friends I’ll joke, “Bye forever,” because we know very well we’ll see each other again. I fell head over heels in friend-crush with some of these folks in the space of 6-9 days, which leaves the question of future reunions kind of up in the air. So I swallowed my sass and just enjoyed the time we had, deciding secretly to make sure that wasn’t in fact the end. (Fulbrighters, if you’re reading this: come to Ukhta! Or invite me to your city. I might well come.)

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