Here's a nice little post about being back in Elista!
I have been here 2 weeks now (just over) since going on vacation and it has been incredibly..........the same as it was before. It's colder now, but not too bad. It was -13 celsius here today. The coldest it's been yet here in Elista, but nothing compared to the -20 celsius it was in St. Petersburg and certainly nothing compared to the 'well digger's ass' temperatures you poor souls are experiencing in Siberia. Mr. T certainly pities you in that regard. But while it's not that cold here, it's windy. Really, really windy. On my window I have a whole roll of Russian packing tape type stuff and half a role of duct tape and EVEN THE DUCT TAPE ISN'T WORKING!! There is some sort of devilry at work here that cannot be explained. My windows shut and taped still let in a draft and are constantly on the verge of exploding open as if a demon is about to burst into my room and force feed me sour cream in my sleep.
Anyways, so I got back 2 weeks ago and in the first 3 days I managed to get robbed for being an American (dear Fulbright people to whom one might report these things, yeah I didn't report it). The guy was drunk and angry and with a friend. My friend Erdni and I were leaving a pizza place when this guy accosted us (this was in daylight 4:30 on the busiest street in the city, in front of a government building...go figure). He knew I wasn't Russian (and explicitly said so) and thus get angry seemed ready to fight when we didn't give up our pizzas. He also wanted beer, but we didn't have. My friend Erdni on the other hand, seemed determined to try and call his friends to get them down there in order fight. I on the other hand, having witnessed that shooting not so long ago, decided 'Ermm well it's pizza and not very good pizza at that. I don't feel like getting to a fight, much less getting shot or stabbed soooo here ya go" and quite willingly handed over my pizza. Afterwards I decided I was going to go home.
Even though this guy just took pizza, I was pretty paranoid for the next couple of days as I went about my business in town. Every time someone looked at me I got nervous and walked a bit faster. I stand out here like a sore thumb. First off, I'm white while I'd guess anywhere from 95-97% of the population here isn't and I have long blonde hair. So it's not hard to tell I'm 'not from 'round deese her parts' and I felt like a target for a couple of days.
Time passed, however, and I stopped worrying about it until....I saw the guy again. I saw the guy on Saturday as I walked to get some piroshki at my favorite place. He was waiting for the bus and just stared at me as I walked by. It was fairly nerve racking. That's the other problem, this city is so small it's hard not to see the same people at least 2 or 3 times a week.
Aside from that though, things have been going well. Teaching has begun again and I'm much better at this whole planning thing and ALL of my students are showing up to class! Praise the Lord! Hallelujah They be comin' to class! Really though, it's quite the feat. And while about 25-30 of them have extremely poor English, we've been having a good time so far!
So, Dear Readers, until next time!