Wow! It’s been a whirlwind (almost) 24 hours! In the last day, I have gone from Dulles Airport in DC to Domodedovo Airport in Moscow and finally here to Kazan. My host brother met me there and we got into a slightly sketchy car and drove about 20 minutes from KSU (Kazan State University) to my host family’s квартира, or apartment. There I was met not only with hugs from my host mother (a lot of hugs) but also food. So. Much. Food. Every time I finished a triangular Tatar delicacy (with a somewhat, or so it seemed, complicated name), another would magically appear on my plate. Four of these delicacies later (plus soup, cucumbers, and randomly, orange juice) my host brother interpreted my body language (and my regular language – apparently “no, thank you, I’m full” doesn’t mean the same thing in Russian as it does in English?) and kindly asked him mom to stop stuffing me with the delicious dishes, which I should mention are basically dough triangles filled with mystery meat, onions, and potato. Tasty, but really big and filling. Little did I know, but there was more! I was treated to tea (чай) and cookies, before I was allowed to go unpack. However, midway through unpacking, my host mother’s sister, who lives in a neighboring apartment complex, decided to come see the American. So, I was treated to MORE tea and cookies. And my host aunt, if you will, decided that she too would offer me ANOTHER Tatar delicacy. I told them this would be my last one, they laughed, and I stuffed it down my gullet.
Luckily, my host brother is somewhat of a computer whiz, so I can access internet somewhat easily – I think. Anyways, right now I’m sitting on my bed listening to the voices outside and the barks of wild dogs. Um. Yeah. Wild dogs. Interesting. Apparently they only come out at night and are harmless if you yell at them. Or something. I’m not going to test my luck. Where’s Izzy when you need her, right?
That’s enough for tonight. I’ll put up some pictures tomorrow after our tour of Kazan, but I wanted you to know that I’m happy, healthy, and very full!