Saturday, June 18, 2016

Travel Log: Days Twenty-Four, Twenty Five, and Twenty-Six

Murom, Russia 6/8-10/2016
Museum of Folk Arts in Murom

                 Wednesday through Friday of this week we spent most of our time in Murom, a city about two and a half hours from Vladimir whose university was connected with Vladimir State and the American Home; I'm going to be doing it all in one blog post because a) I'm starting to get behind/lazy with blog posts and b) it all kind of ran together in my mind. Murom is smaller and somewhat less historic, but we had a good time with the students all the same. We had to stay with brand new host families, which was a slightly-uncomfortable sudden change, but my host sister (a 20-year-old public relations student named Tanya) was wonderful and we had a lot in common. We did various things around town, but most of our time was spent either attempting to socialize with the first-year English students (all of whom were very shy, it was somewhat difficult to communicate) or hanging out all together with our hosts. They were all college students, so we spent Wednesday night out exploring the town with them and on Thursday night, Courtney, Leah, and I accompanied our host siblings to an 'anti-cafe,' a cool little hangout spot that had a bunch of couches and board games and various rooms for different activities. We got to hang out with Courtney's host brother's group of friends, all of whom were very friendly, for most of the night, and we had a great time playing games and getting to know them. Friday morning was spent writing example papers for the university's English class, and after killing some time walking around the city center, we boarded the bus for the ride back to Vladimir.
Boat ride in Murom!
                 Friday night was wonderful and far more sad than I could've anticipated. We went out to a beautiful dinner at a restaurant overlooking the forests surrounding the city, and had a great time at our last meal with Alexei, Gallina, Olia, and Sasha, and later met the university students we'd befriended over the course of our stay. Finally our host families met us at the train station, and we had a chance to say a tearful goodbye to everyone. Vera, Lera, and Pollina all showed up (with my horribly heavy luggage) to see me off, and the four of us spent the majority of the time at the station talking away from the group. Words cannot express how thankful I am for this family and everything they've done for me; they welcomed me into their home, cared for me, taught me that you don't need to speak the same language to communicate and bond, rolled with our group's schedule changes and miscommunications, and made me feel loved the whole time while in Russia. I surprised myself a little with how much we all cried at my leaving them. Vera made me promise (through Lera's translation) that I'd bring my family to visit their's one day. I hope I'll be able to do just that.
               After finally tearing ourselves away from all our Russian friends we were hurried onto the night train and, a hectic hour later, fell sound asleep, exhausted after a long and emotional day.

My wonderful host family and I

No comments:

Post a Comment