No house, no apartment, not even an abandoned chicken coupe and no prospects…thank (TBD) for my newly found perspective, right? In all honesty though, I really have no reason to complain. Sure I am eager to live on my own…to feel like an adult again…but I am so fortunate that I live with an extremely warm and humorous woman, my babushka Maria, who sees to it on a daily basis that all of my needs, even those I didn’t know I had, are met. Whether its dressing my sore knee with a handkerchief soaked in vodka, waking me up at 4:40am to ensure that we get the best spot at the beach (its in our village), preparing a special bath just for my feet to make certain that all of the syphilis I apparently picked up on a recent trip to Simferopol was properly washed away (I had her repeat it s-l-o-w-l-y 4 times just to be sure I heard her right) or never letting me leave the dinner table until I eat a piece of congealed pig fat to ward away Tuberculosis (hello TB estate!), I know I have a friend and protector in Maria.
She has helped me in more, well, conventional ways too. Over the last week, Maria has been my constant companion as I have attempted to find a solution to my increasingly frustrating housing search. Once it became clear that all of the traditional methods were exhausted, she even ushered me door to door throughout most of the village asking for their help in finding me a place to live. Unfortunately, this too bore no fruit but the gesture reinforced how lucky I am to have Maria on my side (or just how badly she wants me out of her apartment!). Any doubt as to her intent, however, was laid to rest when she assured me that I am welcome to stay as long as I like…or need. At this point I have gotten over my disappointment and am comfortable with the idea that I will most likely be living here through August at the very least. My school has assured me that they will work diligently to find me an apartment and I trust that they will uphold this promise. The Peace Corps is also helping by using their contacts in my area to inquire about available housing…I figure (hope) something has to come of these efforts in the next 6 weeks. I will be sure to keep you informed…
Now onto the good news! I had running water for nearly 30 hours…in a row…before it shut off again. I was able to take my first real shower in nearly 5 weeks, albeit a cold one, and by shower I mean I stood under a faucet that more leaked on me than anything…but it was a shower all the same. It’s interesting how things that I defined as necessity only 4 months ago are now the little luxuries that I so look forward to but seldom get to enjoy. Again, thank you perspective. Other luxuries I would include in this list would be drinking cold water (almost as dangerous as an open window…you do know that drafts kill more people annually than cigarettes, don’t you??), waking up with less than 6 new mosquito bites and finding a public toilet that consists of more than just a hole cut into a concrete slab.
On a wholly separate note…God Father III has to be one of the worst movies ever made. I spent the better part of the last two days watching the entire trilogy—I had obviously seen parts I and II before—and was left so disgusted at the end of Part III that I’ve lost some appreciation for the greatness of its predecessors. I won’t give anything away for those of you who have not seen it, and I implore that you don’t, but are you really going to tell me that within the span of 5 minutes Michael Corleone, a man who trusts no one, goes from barely knowing Sonny’s bastard son to making him his protégé? Garbage. And Andy Garcia gives one of the worst acting performances of all time just outpacing the one given by Sophia Coppola. I just cannot get over how underdeveloped and haphazardly thrown together the plot was either…so disappointing. Baseketball (IMDB it if you need to) is Oscar worthy by comparison. Alright, rant over.
So that’s pretty much my week in recap. The next month or so should prove to be more exciting as I plan to do some traveling around Ukraine, and within Crimea especially. I also hope to post some pictures at some point…I need to buy a flash drive first. Hope you all have health, happiness, wisdom and so on…Miss you all.
PS...Here is my address in both English and Russian for those of you who want it:
Post Office Box #135
Main Post Office
A.R. Crimea Oblast
Packages and letters should arrive here using only the English version, but why not live a little and give your Russian some practice?