Today was my first Saturday in Kazan! That means no school, only a day excursion with the group. Today we went some lake outside of Kazan where we saw not only old Russian men wearing what Americans might call “man thongs” (and that’s being generous) and lots (LOTS) of horse flies and mosquitoes, but also unbelievably clear, soft water and lush forests. Unfortunately that clear water was also about 4 degrees Celsius, which is just a little above freezing. I was actually the first person of the group to jump in, and it was sorta awesome. At first, it just feels cold, but not bad cold. Then after about three seconds, it feels like your entire body has been paralyzed – muscles become tight, heart slows down, extremities immediately hurt. After this sensation of paralysis, I quickly swam to the other side of the lake (which was really more like a pond) and climbed out into the hot weather, and felt amazing. But I was actually pretty sore for a while after, just having been in the water for a little bit. We stayed by the lake for about two hours before heading back into Kazan. I went to my host brothers workplace – actually, workplaces. He owns two small computer stores, where he repairs and sells parts as well as computers themselves. He has a really entrepreneurial spirit and loves what he does, which is really cool. I got to meet some of the people who own stores around him, and from what I can tell none of them thought me American. That’s also entertaining because earlier today the person at KSU who’s coordinating our program said that I could easily pass for Tatar, Turkish, or even Chechnyan (awkward). After hanging out at my host brother’s work (and playing FIFA at a neighboring video game store – we tied twice, once with me as America and him as Germany, once with me as Cote d’Ivoire and him as Russia), we walked over to the Kazan Kremlin to see a music festival. I really want to upload the pictures I took (and will, soon) – the Kremlin is unbelievably beautiful, and also incredibly old. It was also funny to have the stage of a rock concert sitting right in front of the Kremlin. Overall, a very fun and adventurous day.