Sunday, June 5, 2016

Travel Log: Day Seventeen

Vladimir, Russia 6/1/2016
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 Orphanage
                    Alexei, who was 'chaperoning' us, took us to lunch after, where we ate pizza and khachapuri (Georgian cheese-filled bread) and our new cake. We went and cleaned up a playground for an orphanage later, where some of the Vladimir State University students joined us. We painted some equipment and swept away all the dirt that was covering the pavement, it took up a few hours and I of course got paint absolutely all over me. Sidenote: Russian young women are so fashionable, they even dress like models when going to work outside at an orphanage, it's nuts. Unfortunately we didn't get to see any of the kids, but what we saw of the inside of the building looked like a bright, happy place, which was nice to see.
The park near Alexei's house
                   After that we met up with the rest of the Americans at Alexei's apartment, and had tea and ice cream. He and his wife, Galina, who runs the American Home (I think), are wonderful people with a beautiful home, and they are always so generous with us, we're practically spoiled.
                   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.

1 comment:

  1. I can't even express how proud i am of you!!! ;-)