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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    From Russia with Love: Acclimating to life in Tucson after study abroad

    This is my final article, which is a good thing because it means another summer will be beginning soon. In a few weeks, I will leave Russia behind with only memories and exactly 2 liters of vodka to bring back.

    Three and a half months have passed – as it always does – quickly in retrospect, but painfully slow during the trudge. When I look back and read some of the articles I wrote in February I am reminded of how it felt to look ahead and see only a giant ocean of time uncrossed. I think that though I was far away from everyone in Tucson, perhaps I wasn’t feeling so different.

    Congratulations to everyone that is graduating; I should be there with you, but a couple of light semesters have led me to another year at UA. When I think about what it might be like to leave college and enter what everyone has dubbed “”the real world,”” I think it is probably not so much different than going to Russia: foreign, impersonal, and cold. So, good luck to everyone, whether you are going to France or Texas or staying in Tucson, I hope you get over the cold quick.

    I don’t really want to discuss anything serious. It is spring, which means that there is some grass and hordes of rollerbladers (this isn’t a joke; rollerblading is serious business). I have discussed politics, racism and domestic violence, and I am guessing that everyone is getting ready for finals, which is serious enough.

    So, we have a new basketball coach, which is great because it has given me something to follow since the season ended. Although I am not particularly inclined to return home, to school and to work in the fall, the thought of returning to McKale and seeing Coach Miller running along the sidelines with a group of new recruits makes me think the acclimation will be easier.

    I didn’t register for classes for next semester, which was a mistake, since every class I need is full. I sometimes think that if people didn’t sign up for classes the first second they could, then no one would graduate because all the classes would be full all the time.

    Okay, okay, I will cut the procrastination. I don’t really have any other stuff to complain about, which I guess is really what I use this article for. So, I will spend the last of my time talking about Russia since that is what I am supposed to be doing anyway.

    Things have finally warmed up here, and I can go outside in a shirt and be only slightly cold. Yesterday I took a train to the Lagoda, the largest lake in Europe, and spent the afternoon having beer by the beach, and for a moment I was reminded of Mexico and summer until I saw a man draped in black leather pass me.

    As I mentioned, the rollerbladers have begun to appear on the streets. It is like being in some bizarre time capsule where everyone has mullets and rollerblades. Sometimes they will “”blade”” around you, turning in circles to look at you and then return forward to go on ahead without so much as a word. Did I mention that everyone has mullets?

    Yeah, Russia is pretty much the same as it has been all semester, only now it is a bit warmer and there are many more tourists, which causes a lot more Russian heads to turn.

    I am not exactly sure how to end this. Anyone who has read an article of mine probably knows how life has been here: half of the time incredible, the other half difficult. Since I began thinking about these articles last semester, I have wondered what it would be like to write the last one, and how I might end it. Now that it’s here, I want to end it in truly Russian fashion. I can either write a several-hundred-page epilogue in the fashion of Tolstoy or simply say what many Russians say before downing a shot or two of vodka: “”to your health”” or za zdarovya.

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