This month went even faster than last month… is that possible? But I can’t deny the passage of time, because somehow all the snow is melted, and the ground is starting to warm up, and there’s grass in some places, and dandelions in others (never thought I’d be so happy to see dandelions), and also the sky doesn’t get all the way dark till ~11pm, and also it starts getting light again at ~1am (what is this place). Every day feels a little bit warmer, a little bit longer, a little bit closer to the end, a little bit further away from the beginning.
All that drama aside, here’s what I learned this month, that I wish I’d known earlier:
- that it does get warm in Ukhta, and I should bring clothing appropriate to sunny and 60s.
- that there are nice grassy fields in Ukhta, and I should bring clothing appropriate to frolicking/grass-sitting.
- that reading an email is not the same thing as replying to it, no matter how it seems at the time (apologies to everyone who has been victim of this).
- how absurdly hot it is in Russian trains, especially on the top bunk in platzkart. Get the bottom bunk.
- that some schools do still carry on the hiring process into May, so not having applications finished in February is not a reason to stress out.
- that the ice here turns to mud when it melts, which then turns into sand when it dries, creating a South-Africa-like effect of dust blowing everywhere.
- that I won’t want to travel the last month of my grant, so I should get all that out of the way in the first semester, before I put down roots here.
- how seriously Russians take the idea of walking around barefoot/in socks as a potential cause of illness (even if this walking takes place exclusively indoors). This is a fact that can be used to comic effect, unless I am in fact sick, in which case they will tell me it’s because I walked barefoot, even though it’s probably because I was sharing hot recycled air with fifty people and zero circulation on a train for 11 hours.
- that potatoes can, in fact, go (very) bad in the space of 10 days, even in a dark cool cupboard… and this is, in fact, the source of that fish smell I keep smelling.
- that it’s really embarrassing when my friends are playing keep-it-up and I’m incapable of keeping-it-up, so I should probably take gym class more seriously (this is a “wish I’d known 15 years ago” thing, sorry if it’s not too relevant to any of you).