On this, my last night in Russia, I have so many people to thank that its ridiculous. Which means I need to get it out of the way first.
Thank you Artur and Rosa, because you will always be my brother and second mom. There isn’t enough space in the entire blogosphere to express my thanks to you. You made my stay in Russia unbelievably pleasant and easy, with almost a seamless transition, and that’s no easy feat. You are incredible and I will remember and love you forever. I hope that we can meet again one day.
Thank you Sasha, Avivushka, Bujew, Fauxjew, ‘Dorbs, Kingson, Gilligan, Sterph, Cai, Deanna, April, Kate, Katie, and Lauren. I definitely didn’t hang out with all of y’all as much as I would’ve like to, but that’s the way it works, I guess. For those of you who I spent a lot of time with (you know who you are), you too are part of my extended family. Y’all were such a big part of why this summer was amazing and it’s difficult to find memories that didn’t involve one of you. We had so many laughs, talks, good times, and confusing encounters with Russians. Lunches at Kukan, group showers at the beach, McFlurrys at Mickey D’s, Rubin games, walks down Baumana, bus rides, eating chak-chak, class, bazaar trips, boat rides on and swims in the Volga, camp, soccer games on the ghetto field, bus rides and every day, 9 to appx. 7 or 8 – all these things will forever be imprinted in my mind and I know its because of the great friends that I made! I miss you already and I can’t believe our time here together is over. I can’t wait to hang out with y’all in the States!
Thank you Lihau, the coolest Hawaiian in Russia. You’re the man and I hope that I can come chill with you and your Tatar wife (I’m gonna go ahead and call that right now) soon. You were always (well, except that time when Sasha kicked a hole in the house) there for us but cool enough to be hands-off most of the time, letting us figure out our own way. Your insight and assistance was actually really helpful (most of the time), so thank you for that. Good luck with the year-round kids (SookaPazhaloosta), and if you ever need a cultural guide of New York, you know who to call.
Thank you Piper, Max, Iago, Abu, John, Yoko, Lindsey Lohan, Jade, Ryan, Creepus Maximus, Bushbaby, Marilyn, Jackie, Ruth, and probably some other people I’m forgetting, but y’all probably aren’t reading this anyways. Thanks for being the people who we could see on Baumana or at Dom Blinov (thanks for that, too) and awkwardly talk to for a few minutes before one of us coming up with a terrible and probably false excuse. Thank you for being in awe of our passion at Rubin games and maybe a little bit skeptical of our sanity. КГУ, forever!
Thank you Rais and Aida. Rais, your passion for Rubin is admirable, but if I have one recommendation to make, its that you stop saying that you “don’t really speak English.” You’re amazing at it and I speak for our class when I say that you were an awesome teacher of Russian and of Russian culture. Aida, your youth betrays your skill at teaching. It took us a really long time to figure out that you could probably understand everything we were saying in English (sorry), but thank you for sticking with Russian (most of the time – the word for adjective is really tricky, I’m sorry!) and for making really cool games for us, and also for giving us guys the opportunity to prove our dominance in Russian grammar games, like the ever-popular “Swat the Instrumental Case Fly.”
Thank you Lyuba, because you gave me such an awesome base before I got here. Without you, I obviously would not have been here at all. That’s a really simple sentence and thank you, but I know you know how grateful I am.
Thank you Matt, Igor, Gisela, Alex, Matvei, and assorted Cherches family members. You are responsible for my first exposure to Russian language and culture, for which I cannot thank you enough. It’s paid off.
Thank you Fyodor Dostoevsky, Alexander Pushkin, Leo Tolstoy, and others. Y’all are extremely dead so this is pretty pointless, but you guys rock and are probably the most convincing factors for anybody who wants to learn Russian.
Thanks Mom, Dad, Corey, and Jesse. I think I’m just going to thank you for being 100% behind me through this whole process, from applying to come here through my stay, and I now know that very few families can claim that. I hope you like the gifts I got you here and that they provide some small token of thanks. Also thanks for letting me live with you and stuff like that.
Thanks Seth for coming with me to the intimidating Chasidic camera store to get the camera that’s helped me document this awesome summer!
Thanks Bubbe, Zeide, Papa, and Nana, because I know that you’re with me all the time here. I know that you would be so happy that I’ve had this experience and it makes me really sad that I can’t tell you all my exciting stories.
Thanks Dr. G for writing my rec on the application – that turned out well.
Thank you Russia! You’re really cool and have a very interesting personality. You’re quirky – like your belief that I’ll get a cold by drinking cold water. You’re very difficult to understand sometimes, but I’ve definitely gotten better at that. You have lots of nooks and crannies, but behind each one is a new adventure or discovery, and often times a new challenge. Keep it up. Also, please take a shower.
And, of course, thank you friends and readers alike. I would’ve been happy to keep this blog only for myself, but having an audience makes it that much more exciting. I hope it hasn’t been too boring and I hope this blog doesn’t keep you from asking me for more stories from my time here. So, if you’re reading this right now, thank you for your visit(s)!
And now I’m gonna wrap up the last few days I’ve had here. Yesterday we had a closing banquet in which we thanked our teachers and host families, as well as played on the beach and swam in the Volga one last time. It’s still sorta warm, which isn’t good. This heat wave Russia has experienced this summer is not going to go away – not only has the Volga felt it, but the crops have too. Produce prices have skyrocketed since I’ve been here and people are legitimately freaked out, probably with good reason. I hope that there is a speedy recovery, because anything but that could result in a true ecological and social disaster. Best of luck.
I sit here in my room packing, full of ishpishmach and pilaf, but very, very sad. As much as I want to see my friends and family (which is a lot), it’s very difficult to leave this place. I’ve made such good friends here and had such great experience, but I’ve still got an empty feeling in my stomach that bothers me a lot. I don’t have a choice but to leave tomorrow, but I know that eventually I’ll have to fix that empty feeling. How? I don’t really know. Trips to Brighton Beach should hold me over for a while, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to fill the emptiness. Amazing how 7 weeks could affect me so much. I’m going to remember this summer forever and I think its the type of experience that I’ll be talking about forever as one that really influenced my life. Those don’t come around every day, so I’m thankful to everybody who helped me get here and, once here, produce that once-in-a-lifetime-ness.
It’s impossible to describe the feeling that’s inside me right now. I don’t want to leave, but I want to go home. I feel like I’m leaving a little bit of my soul here. I’m not sure if its retrievable. If not, it’s fine. There are no places in the world I’d rather leave it.
Поэтому, спасибо большое. Я люблю вас. Я буду скучать вас. Я приеду к вам ещё раз. Я обещаю.