One Month To Go

The other day, as I was indulging in my regular after-school swim in the ocean, I kept looking around at the landscape, taking in the views. After four months here, I’ve begun to take the weather, the ocean, and the scenery as something not out of the ordinary. So it was a good reminder, as a floated on my back and looked up at the cliffs, that I better enjoy my last month here, because soon I will be wishing that I could go for a cool dip in the crystal clear water of the Pacific and drink fresh coconut water.

Our neighbor caught a lobster for us, so we indulged in some fresh Pacific lobster the other day.

I’m almost certainly convinced that no tropical vacation I go on again will be able to rival the beauty of this island. Florida? Mexico? Hawaii? Please, I’ve lived on a private tropical island for months.

Rediscovering old hobbies and uncovering new ones
When I’m not in school, I have plenty of free time and nothing much in the way of outside entertainment, so I’ve rediscovered my passion for reading. I’ve tried counting the books I’ve read here, and the number is somewhere between 14 and 17. I’ll probably never again in my life has as much time to read as I do now, so I’m cherishing these days.

I’ve also discovered a surprising new hobby over the past several months—I really like baking and cooking for other people! I’ve made crepes, cookies, pirozhki, rogaliki, stuffed cabbage, homemade tomato soup, and even yogurt. During my busy undergrad days, the closest I came to cooking was squeezing the lime over my Chipotle bowl.

I’m slightly exaggerating, I admit, but I just didn’t have time to cook very often between work, class, studying, research, and extracurricular activities. Now that I have plenty of free time when I’m not teaching, cooking has become an excellent and delicious way of passing the time here.

When I was younger, my mom would often force me to help her prepare Russian dishes—borsch, olivy’e, etc. When I’d complain, both of my parents would scold me with the warning, “How are you going to cook for your husband when you get married? All you’ll be able to make are eggs and pasta!” I’d retort that I’d be rich and would hire Russian grandmas from church to cook for me, and anyway, I would never marry a husband who didn’t know how to cook.

Well, now my parents don’t have to worry about my cooking abilities. Knowing them, however, they’re probably worried about when I’ll finally find a husband. (Love you, mom and dad!)

Grad School
For those of you who aren’t aware, I’ve got some exciting news: I’ve been accepted to a graduate program at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow and will be moving to Russia at the end of the summer. In other words, I’ll be moving from a tiny tropical island to a bustling, cold city—quite the contrast. I’m neither looking forward to the harsh winters nor the dirty city snow. On the other hand, with this opportunity I can keep realizing my dream of traveling and experiencing the world. My hometown is such a tiny spec in the context of the world that it seems an offense against opportunity to willingly confine myself to one corner of the earth for my entire life.

It’s hard to express how excited I am to live in Moscow. It’s been my dream for over a year, and the fact that it’s finally happening still feels unreal. I think once I’m finally on a plane, bound for Russia, it will finally hit me. In the meantime there’s a lot of paperwork I still have to take care of, especially since I received a full-tuition scholarship that requires a lot of documents on my end. All worth it to be studying in grad school for free, of course. It’s an evening program, too, which means that my days will be open for a full-time or part-time job.  And the entire family on my mom’s side live in Russia, so I will be able to visit my grandparents and cousins a lot more often, who are all excited about my decision. My mom told me my grandpa started tearing up when he heard I’d been accepted and was coming to live in Russia.

In the meantime, I’ll keep on enjoying my slow days here because soon I know I will be wishing for a little slice of island life.  

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