|Our volunteer group, L to R: Me,|
Sasha, Olia, Miah, and Scott
Today was another day of work. In the morning, after Russian, we got to clean the apartment of an older woman who was living independently but who was having a harder time moving and cleaning her home. Four of us Americans were teamed up with Alexei and two of the students at the American home (Sasha and Olia) to deep clean; Scott and Sasha removed and cleaned her many huge rugs while Miah, Olia, Courtney, and I dusted and scrubbed floors. We wiped off just about every surface in that apartment (with very different dusting supplies than I'd use at home, I might add: each time we've dusted, we've just used an old rag and some water, no sort of 'dusting spray' or any specialized tool; this seems to be a theme of cleaning products in Russia, it makes me wonder if fewer branded/specialized goods are a result of being in a less commercialized country than America) and the lady was so grateful that she gave us a little cake as a token of gratitude on our way out. Once again I practiced my preferred method of communication with people who speak no English, laughing and feigning understanding: the babushka was having a great time telling me a story I understood about two words of (кошка, cat, and дача, a country home), but she was laughing and smiling and I just played along and said a lot of Да's.
|The park near Alexei's house|
We all went to a nearby park with an ice rink, where a Circus-On-Ice was coming through town. I was really psyched for it (what can I say, I love seeing performances, even two circuses in three days) but it ended up being laughably awful. All of us wanted desperately to leave at intermission, but were afraid of hurting David's feelings; luckily, David was only staying out of fear that we were enjoying it. We cleared that confusion up right away and left, and it was all for the better, because several of us went out with the university students and had a complete blast. They're a really fun group, and I had a great conversation with a girl named Masha about Game of Thrones, proving that common ground (and dragons) are all you need for cross-cultural friendship.