Posts tagged ‘Polina’

January 22, 2013

My Favorite Things: Christmas Edition

Yes I know this is almost a month late, but I’ve been wanting to post about some of the fun and interesting things I got this year for Christmas. This isn’t everything, but it includes some of my favorites.

Nail Polish Gifts

My mom, now super happy that I share her love of nail polish, got me all four of the colors I requested on my wish list. From left to right, I received Beyond Cozy and Leading Lady by Essie, and Casino Royale and Goldeneye from OPI’s James Bond Line. Both of the glitter polishes are really thick- you could probably cover your nail in glitter in one coat (two at the most). I had to really thin out the polish on the brush to make it into a thin shimmer layer over a solid color. Here is what I was able to get to with the Casino Royale on all my nails and Goldeneye just barely streaked over my highlight nail (keep in mind this was several days after initial application).

Casino Royale and Goldeneye

I tried Beyond Cozy later with a purple nail polish called Marrow from Butter London, and also found myself trying to thin it down to create a toned-down shimmer. I think this thickness makes the glitter polishes more versatile because you can thin it out or use it alone as a color. Casino Royale is also nice because it is a dark berry color that can work with a variety of outfits and settings (bright colors can be a little much at work for an elementary school teacher). I love my two owl nail files, too. Thanks mom!

Owl Painting

My dad, knowing my love for owls, bought me a painting from one of the guys he works with. I don’t have a lot of decor in my apartment, especially in my bedroom. I’m thinking I’ll hang this up over my bed, but I’m trying to decide whether to risk putting a nail in the wall (I am HORRIBLE with tools) or risk it falling on my head if I use two thumbtacks. Thoughts?

AJ checking out the Russian Candy

AJ checking out the Russian Candy

Polina, my Russian exchange student from when I was in 4th grade, got me TWO awesome gifts. I usually get little decorative Russian things, but since I took the time to go to Russia, she got some other ideas. I was very excited to open my first gift which was two bags of the candy I like there (certain colors were better flavors and yellow and blue were always the best!). As soon as I opened it and rediscovered my love for this candy, I felt sad that the tea I loved there wasn’t included. BUT WAIT. There’s a second package!

Tea from Russia

Yes, this canister is FULL of Kenyan Sunrise, a delicious black tea that got me hooked on tea to begin with. I found something similar to it here, but nothing can quite beat the original. I’m so excited to have so much of it, too, because now I don’t feel so pressured to ration it (it’s not available in the US).

Owl Listography Book

My friend Erin knows I love writing and making organized lists, so she took a page from the Listography books and created a book for me with topics to fill in, including my favorites, things I wish for, and experiences I’ve had. What made this book especially fun was that she filled in the beginning of some herself so that it is fun to read, too. Here’s an example (and yes- I may go beyond one page).

Page from Owl Book

Finally, since I have not yet outgrown being a kid, I did ask for and receive this from my sister and Dan:

lego lord of the rings wii

Oh Lego games…how I love thee. I am definitely not one to play video games by myself often, so I like the co-op feature of this game (a second player can drop in and out at any point as one of your partners). I also love that Lego games are not that hard. They are long enough that you feel like you accomplished something by the end, but they are not impossible or require a high level of patience. Since Lord of the Rings is one of my favorite movies, it seemed appropriate to snatch this one up. So far it has been pretty good. The cut scenes are a little weird because they use actual dialogue from the film (most of the Lego games just do a lot of miming to convey the story), and I’ve been a little confused at how some of the easy parts of the story are hard (I got stuck for like 30 minutes trying to jump a ledge to open Moria) and some of the complicated story parts (like defeating the Balrog) take little to no effort, time, or thought. I’ve only finished the Fellowship part, though, so we’ll see how the rest goes.

Thanks to everyone for the gifts listed above. You guys rock! If you want to see the gifts I gave my closest friends and family, you can check out my own DIY Gifts post.

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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.