Posts tagged ‘Nikita’

August 15, 2011

Dodgeball, Storms, and Some Great News <3

There have been many things worth updating about lately, but I don’t have time to write all of these entries right now so I’m going to condense it into a few with several points.  Here’s the first about dodgeball, Tulsa storms, and Nikita’s present for you to peruse at your leisure.

1.  I voluntarily played Dodgeball on Friday in a tournament…and had fun.  We played 5 rounds in an indoor turf field, and I was playing during the one round we won.  That was pretty cool.  I even got someone out by chance because I am horrible at throwing (they tried to catch it but it hit the ground first).  We played a hipster team first who were okay.  We should have won the last round with them, but the ref made a really bad call keeping one of their players in who was clearly OUT.  The next team we played was 30 something guys and girls.  The guys were tough.  They threw SO HARD.  I was good at not getting hit in the beginning because I think my body went into survival mode and ducked out of instinct.  I still eventually got out.  And we lost really bad.  My hardest hit of the night surprisingly occurred before we started playing when one of my “teammates” threw a ball super hard at another guy teammate and hit me by accident.  First, ow.  Second, OW.  Third, I don’t even know you and I am already pissed at you.  I have a huge bruise on my leg from this accident.  Not happy.  The rest of the experience was really fun, though, I promise.

2. Storms in Tulsa scare the crap out of me.  I grew up in Hurricane Central, but for some reason, the storms here just seem magnified.  There was a really bad storm a few nights ago.  I woke up to some thunder and checked the radar to see a huge red blob coming my way.  When I turned on the news they were talking about the worst parts of it and said the strongest winds that were potentially dangerous were moving to my exact location.  Thank you very much weatherman.  I will be running away now.  I was terrified during this particular storm (my fear of tornadoes goes back to 4th grade…it’s an irrational fear I’ve only somewhat overcome), and eventually decided to sit in my bath tub with Amberjack after the floor started vibrating with the wind gusts.  My bathroom is the only room in my apartment without a giant window, so I felt relatively safe.  Even if this was overkill, I felt calmer, and I think that’s what matters most.  Amberjack is apparently unphased by storms and even seemed slightly annoyed that I was removing her from her cozy bed to sit with me in the bath tub.  She did her “it’s going to be okay, just pet me” duties perfectly, though (see below).  We bonded : )

Hiding from the storm

3. Nikita FINALLY got his present from me.  This actually happened before I left Phoenix, but I didn’t find out more about his reaction until a couple weeks ago.  From what I heard, he loves it and has not stopped talking about it since he got it.  He was really surprised that I had included so many things he liked, and even wondered if I chose the album color because I knew he liked green (I did).  He’s enrolled in English classes next year and told Polina to tell me that next time we meet he will talk to me in English.  This makes me smile just writing about it.  I should get back to studying Russian again at some point.  All the Russian I wrote in his album was correct, but I have Google to thank for that (seriously Google, thank you for correct translations).

As the days go on, I think about Nikita less and less.  I think I just really wanted him to get that book and appreciate it for the heart I put into making it.  Now that I have that closure, I can move on a bit.  I should mention, though, that the first decoration I put up in the apartment last week was a photo frame collage that one of my colleagues from A Gift For Teaching gave me before I left.  It’s pictured below with my favorite picture, the letter Polina gave me when I left (it has owls on it!), and the words Russia and May 2011 written in Russian.

Russia Photo Collage

Must get to bed now.  I’ll try to do some quick updates this week as I make more progress on my first week lesson plans : )

 

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June 2, 2011

Moving On

I leave for Oklahoma in less than 48 hours. CRAZY. Most people in my situation would be focusing on packing and getting TFA reading out of the way (to be fair, I’m done reading, just haven’t finished all my follow-up writing assignments) , but of course, I got sidetracked with a special project.

Ever since I came home from Russia, I have missed Polina’s (former exchange student who I stayed with the whole time in Russia) brother, Nikita. He is only about a year and a half older than me and has already gone through a lot of the things I am going through now- moving away from home, finding a place to live by yourself, balancing a full workload, etc. Every day I wish I could talk to him about my anxiety, excitement, and fears about the big move, or just have him distract me with stupid jokes (when you can’t speak someone else’s language too well, hilarity will ensue). Unfortunately, we can just communicate enough through charades and a few words here and there in person, but written and voice communication won’t really be possible until we understand each other’s languages better.

I was sad about this for awhile after I got back from my trip. There was so much more I wanted to talk to him about, but instead it was off on a train to Moscow, and then later a plane back to Orlando. After a couple weeks of semi-moping, I decided to do something about how I felt by sending him a present. Choosing a gift was still tricky due to the language barrier, but eventually I came up with something awesome.

::Prepare for the Awesomeness::

One of the conversations I did have with Nikita in Saint Petersburg was how much he liked Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios when he had visited here in 2000. I combined that interest with our language struggle and developed an ABC book of things found around the park. For each item, I wrote down the word translated in Russian to hold up in the picture I took at the park. This way, the ABC book serves as an english tutor and a Russian/English dictionary. I had to get creative with a lot of the words (thanks to those who made suggestions for tricky letters!), and taking the pictures on Wednesday was a nightmare with the on and off again downpours. Me and Dan (my brother-in-law who took all the photos) kept running to get pictures in between storms or re-staging shots under overhangs to avoid messing up the Russian signs. It got a bit ridiculous, but once the rain let up, we were able to power through a good chunk of the remaining shots.

I put the pictures together in a scrapbook tonight, and also added some extra pages with messages in Russian, pictures from my time in Saint Petersburg, and a CD of primarily instrumental music from movies (most of the movies included I know he likes, and he really likes soundtrack music…this seemed like a good way to go given the lack of english in instrumental music). You can view a video of the completed project (including my translations) below:

I can’t tell you how proud I am of this book. It forced me to practice my Russian, let me do something nice for someone else, and also allowed me to get my feelings out creatively when I can’t rely on talking. Now that this is done, I can move on from missing Russia, the families I met there, and Nikita, and focus on what’s to come. Oklahoma? Let’s do this.