The Arrival

I was first greeted in Volgograd by strong gusts of wind and blinding sunlight. Including the time I drove to Seattle and waited in airports it took nearly three days to arrive to Volgograd. But I won’t complain about the trip here because for some reason the airline upgraded my ticket from the East Coast to Moscow  to business class (it was nearly a 10 hour flight).  I could actually stretch my legs and even lay down! I was so amazed I wanted to take pictures but noting the nonchalance of my fellow business class passengers I tried to feign my disinterest (Anyone who knows me well can attest to how difficult masking my enthusiasm would be for me but it was good practice!). For instance, they actually gave us a choice of gourmet dishes, refilled my water in a fancy glass and even offered me warm lightly salted nuts in an elegant glass container. Yes, I am easily impressed! I hope I will always appreciate such luxuries.

Sleeping was still hard because of the time difference but I don’t want to imagine such a long flight in the economy section. I had a long flight from the West Coast to Korea once before but Korean Air offers much more space and luxuries than the U.S. carrier I took this time.

I was so relieved to retrieve all my baggage and even more happy to see the familiar face of my Fulbright coordinating host at the airport.  I stayed in the Institute’s guest room for several days and my coordinating host even ensured I had food, water and tea. Did I mention this guest room included toliet paper? What luxury compared to my arrival to Vladivostok as a mere exchange student just two years ago!

Everyone at the institute has heard about my arrival and I am pleased to be received with such enthusiasm. I am very grateful to have met so many kind people. I was even invited on a boat trip on the Volga with some German guests, the Dean and other administrators of the institute.

For now I am living with a very sweet host family until I can find a suitable apartment for the year. My class schedule is also still being configured so I have been trying to get oriented with the city and learn as much as I can about how I can imitate my host mother’s delicious food.

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  1. #1 by Yanny on September 9, 2010 - 9:16 pm

    That is impressive Jess! So awesome that you got upgraded to business class! I would totally wanna take pictures too =D And I never knew you went to Korea! But anyway, your life sounds super exciting!! I’m so glad everything is working out well =) And I’m so glad you have internet access! Can’t wait to hear how everything else plays out =) PS. did you put the disclaimer there yourself? lol
    LOVE YA!

    • #2 by volgarekia on September 19, 2010 - 7:36 pm

      The Fulbright program asks that we post this disclaimer!

  2. #3 by Kim Nichols on September 10, 2010 - 3:53 am

    Jessica, I am glad to hear you are doing well , and were so well received…you are a special young lady ! Since you are trying to get familiar with the city, have you visited any churches yet ?

    keep us posted, we will be watching.
    Love you
    Kim & the family

  3. #4 by Tatiana Osipovich on September 10, 2010 - 6:43 am

    Thanks for posting your blog!
    I shared it with my students and I am looking forward to reading more of your writing.

  4. #5 by Lena on September 10, 2010 - 4:06 pm

    Джессика, привет. Классный блог. Молодец. Интересно было узнать твои впечатления! Ты такая прикольная на фото:)

  5. #6 by Anya Bond on September 12, 2010 - 4:43 am

    Hi dear world traveler. I’m so glad everything is going well! It is so interesting that Anna, you and I – all of us ended up teaching after LC. Way to go!

  6. #7 by Marie on September 13, 2010 - 8:13 am

    Jessica! Its so very nice to hear how you are doing in Russia. What a wonderful, professional, newsy blog! I’m looking forward to reading your posts during the rest of the year. Business class eh? How terribly exciting, especially on the notorious US carrier and on such a long flight. The boat trip sounds ever so pleasant. Your smile and lovely sense of humor will delight all those who are blessed with meeting you. I miss you. Please enjoy your host mother’s delicious Russian cooking for me, but know that if I could, I would send you a care package. I’ll send you a newsy email next weekend.

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