Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Little Things: What Makes Me Happy in Elista

As I mentioned here, I want to create a list of the little things here in Elista that help to not just keep me happy, but keep me sane.  There a great many thing here that can get on my nerves and I tend to focus on these.  It's high time I start focusing on what I LIKE instead of what I don't.  Let's begin.

1.  Getting laundry done without getting yelled at - this seems like it would be something that wouldn't be a problem, but the dorm ladies here are fiercely controlling about when you can and can't use the washing machine downstairs. I'm not here to talk about them though, but rather the great sense of accomplishment and joy I get when I ask if I can do laundry, they say yes, I bring it down and eventually pick it up later.  No hassles, no screaming, no accusations, no requests. Simplicity. I like that.

2.  Mornings when everyone else is at class and I'm the only one on my floor - All the Chinese students on my floor have (generally) 8:30 class and I don't.  So I like to hang out a bit till they've all packed off and then I just relax.  I can use the bathroom and/or shower in peace and sit in my room and do work, etc in peace and without fear of being disturbed. I love it.

3.  Using the shower just after it's been cleaned
- The other students on my floor seem to shower in packs, passing the key around from one person to the next so that by the time they're done, it's pretty disgusting (remember...just 1 shower for the whole floor).  So in the mornings when no one is on my floor but me (see #2), the lady *usually* cleans the shower.  I like to wait till she's done and then I've got a nice clean shower that usually has plenty of hot water.

4.  The sunset from my room - The view, from my room, of the sun setting over the Steppe is gorgeous...at least when the weather is nice.  I love being able to watch it go down nice and slow, until it just disappears (wow...that came out a bit dirtier than I had intended).  It's quite beautiful.

5.  Being alone in the teacher's lounge - I like this because it's dead quiet and it's when I feel I'm most productive, at least when it comes to being a teacher/student.

6.  The Temple - Whether it's being around the temple or inside it, the Tibetan Buddhist temple here (the largest in Europe!) is stunning. Its architecture is gorgeous and inside is one of the most peaceful places I've ever been. I must make it there more often!
7. The Pagoda at night - The Pagoda isn't quiet or peaceful, but it makes it seem as if I'm in another place, most notably China.  The Pagoda is at odds with Russian architecture and at night, when it glows red, it's quite the sight.

8.  Piroshki - There's a little place not far from the university that sells delicious cabbage piroshki for about 55 cents apiece.  They are delicious and while I am wary of the fact that I could find hair(s) in them at any moment, it doesn't stop me from swinging by and picking up a couple or 4.

9.  Shashlik at Uralan - Uralan is the big sort of bowling alley/pool hall/arcade/restaurant/night club all rolled into one kind of place in the center of town.  It's a nice place and I feel safe there, but the shashlik they have at the restaurant is delicious. I don't eat that often because it's quite expensive, at least by Elista standards, but that makes it all the better when I do.

10.  Paprika Pringles - Okay, I understand that a lot of these are different foods, but I don't care. I like food.  Anyways, these little bad boys are way overpriced, but they're delicious. I've never seen Paprika flavored Pringles anywhere else and it's a shame because they're good, really good.  On the flip side however, the 'Chili & Cheese' Pringles sound good, but are something I regret buying each time I do.
Even more delicious is absolutely correct
11.  Blogs of other ETAs - These are quite the joy to read as they give me some serious insights into other parts of Russia and the different ways we live and the differences within Russia.  Plus, they're all great writers and I think you should check out their blogs (look to the left here and you'll see a nice little blog roll to get yourself started).

12.  Skype (when it works) - Skype is a godsend, but here in Elista it doesn't always work (the first 4 months, it hardly worked at all). So when it does and I can talk to friends and family back home, I love it. Also, if I have to take care of 'business' back home (I think you all know what that means) then I can use Skype.

Alright Dear Readers, those are just the ones off the top of my head. I'll be adding more to this list in the following days/weeks/months.  For the other ETAs, I'm curious as to what little things keep you going!

1 comment:

  1. it is in the little things cameron! and I'm glad to see that you too are taking solace in food...so far the joys this week have included brie and rosemary chicken following my grammy's recipe.. yum.