Thursday, September 1, 2011

Far away from the Jersey Shore

My first day exploring Cheboksary involved hopping on the first trolley bus I saw that seemed to be heading in the direction of the city center. Instead, I ended up at the beach. Cheboksary is located on the Volga, so beaches abound. I was struck by how empty it was -- I was there around 11 pm on a Saturday morning, and I could count on two hands the number of people I saw. I didn't go swimming, but I did stick my hand in. The water's really lovely for now; too bad it'll be frozen from December to April.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Trains, Cows and Lottery tickets

It's a 12 hour train ride from Moscow to get to Cheboksary, and one of my first thoughts looking out the window was "Russia has nature?" Almost all of the time I've spent in Russia has been in Moscow and St. Petersburg, so when I think of Russia, I think of huge cities. I don't think of rolling hills, or forests, or fields stretching as far as the eye can see. I mean, there were cows. And I'm still in the same time zone as Moscow.

An overnight train ride might not sound like the ideal way to spend the first night in a new country, but after so many hours on planes, I was ecstatic at the opportunity to sleep horizontally. I didn't get a picture of the compartment, but this image is pretty much exactly what it looks like. The top of the seats fold down to turn into a bed, and there's unlimited hot water for making drinks at a samovar down the hall. A train attendant comes around selling food, drinks and lottery tickets (I bought a couple 10 ruble ones, but it just wasn't my lucky day).


At 9:11 am on Friday, I arrived in Cheboksary, Russia, my home for the next ten months. I am here as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant at Chuvash State University.

The days leading up to my departure were hectic, as I tried to squeeze in as much time with friends and family as possible, and ran around finalizing last-minute preparations. But now I've arrived! I'm hoping this blog will be a way to update people on what I'm doing, post pictures, and generally keep track of what's happening on my Russian adventure.