Life in Vladimir is keeping its regular hum-drum pace. There is already a solid layer of compressed snow/ice on the streets that, I have been told, will not melt until spring. This morning I awoke to another two-three inches of snow. The temperatures are maintaining a relatively warm 28-34 degrees F.
Last week my classmates and I got to have another "cultural experience" with the Russian federal government. In order to renew our visas for next semester, we all got to take a trip to the local contagious disease clinic. At this location, we all got HIV/AIDs tests. To enter the Russian Federation, I had the same test three months ago. But these tests are not considered valid for more than several months. This is because they are from an American institution.
The testing facility looked as if it was atleast forty years old... As did the needles and the sanitary devices. The nurse who took my blood sample did not bother to change her latex gloves between patients. Fortunantly, I was number two in the line to get my blood drawn.
Even better, was that the place where we got to wait to have our blood taken, was full of posters describing the symptoms of hepatitis, AIDs, TB, etc. And conveniently, there were hordes of very sick looking people coughing and sitting-around all over the room. The fact that they have folks waiting for TB tests sitting (and coughing) with everyone else, seemed just so Russian.
In the two weeks my school has been without power and water only two times. One day there was no power, so all of the regulars students got to go home early. Yesterday there was no water, which just meant that there was no bathrooms. Power is not that vital. We have a lot of windows in our rooms. Though no-power also means no lunch in the cafeteria. This translates into the Residential Director ordering pizza for lunch.
That is another interesting topic. I don't think that I had ever had pizza where the tomato sauce is substituted by ketchup. And the cheese is applied sparingly so that the mayonaise can be the primary topping.
All-and-all I am having a great time. This past weekend I traveled to Moscow. It is a significantly different pace than Vladimir. My host mother said that she had a student before who transfered mid-year from the Vladimir program to Moscow. The girl ended up regretting it.
I will write more later. Poka!