Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Yes, we went to IKEA. We moved into our room and the bed that was in there was….GROSS. And the springs in the mattress were so old that they groaned and creaked so loud every time one moved that it would wake TWO up! So we got a bed. Actually, we found a couch/bed/futon-like thing that is actually quite comfortable. We did really well, finding pretty much everything we got on sale, the bed included. We also got plates and bowls, mugs, kitchen knives, a frying pan, utensils, spatula, peeler, and bedding. I had never been to IKEA in the States, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I can say one thing, the place is HUGE. To get to the complex that IKEA is in, we go 5 metro stops away from the school, go out from the metro station, cross the street and catch the free bus to MEGA, which is about a 5-10 minute ride to where the mall complex where IKEA is. The mall is very western and, as Sam remarked the other day, “If you lived near there, you’d never even know you’re in Russia…well, until people starting talking and you didn’t understand anything.” It is a nice mall; complete with a food court with an indoor ice-skating rink, McDonalds, Subway, and a huge store called Azhan (which isn’t spelled that way at all, but I don’t have a Russian-alphabet keyboard), so that’s how you pronounce it. It looks very new, and Sam and I just discovered it because I wanted to check it out and see what the prices were like, and we now refer to it as “Russian Wal-Mart”. It was awesome. We also went to the market this weekend. It was enormous. Street after street of vendors and shops. We went to find material so I can make curtains for our room. Prior to this we did the ghetto thing and taped newspaper over the windows, so I’m very happy to actually have curtains.
I’m still feeling a little like a prisoner because, even though I could go out if I wanted, I’m not very confident because I don’t know any Russian and even though I could probably find my way around ok, say, getting groceries on my own or something, I don’t know what I would do if I ran into a situation buying something at a shop or something. Although after a few more days of being trapped inside I may just develop the confidence and brave it anyway, just to get out. I have at least figured out that when you go through a till at a store, they ask #1 if you have a card for that store, #2 if you are buying a plastic bag, #3 if you have the exact change or close to it. And Russians aren’t much for small talk, so if a clerk did say something to me, chances are it would be one of these things and I could fake my way through it.
On a random note: We have been able to watch a little of the Rugby World Cup. I like rugby. Its so much more interesting to watch than American football. But its not exactly widely televised in the USA. So, for those of you that get those obscure ESPN channels, I highly recommend it.