In my hurry and excitement with newfound technology, my blog post for Monday was rather lacking. Upon my triumphant return to the apartment, which included getting off at the right bus stop, I found Tatiana waiting for me, with tea in the pot. This is only my third night here but she began our nightly ritual the first night at dinner. We drink tea (I have an assigned mug) and she, having noticed early on that I am in the habit of drinking too quickly and burning my tongue, brings me my ‘malenkaya chaika’ and pours half of my tea into it to cool off. Then we each have a cookie, which is dipped in gratuitous amounts of her homemade jam. Which sort of tastes sugar-free, but in a natural or organic way? Which would make sense, if you make it yourself. But then again, every other foodstuff with a remotely sweet quality to it is sugared beyond belief, so it could really go either way.
I mentioned not trying the cream earlier? I became brave yesterday and tried it. Tvorog is a stand-alone item, which comes in a package that sort of looks like a crumbly cheese (think feta or blue cheese) but softer and blander. Tatiana takes a few spoonfuls of this, adds smetana (sweet sour cream, essentially), and pours half of the sugar bowl on top of this. After smoothing out the mixture, she nonchalantly sets the bowl in front of me. I’m expected to eat the whole thing. It actually does taste good, and I haven’t had any of the digestive issues that many people find, knock on wood, but an entire bowl is pushing it. I think we’re coming to an understanding on this whole eating thing though…
Well this particular rant took longer than expected, but I feel like its a necessary part of my experience to share with you all. I just find it extremely notable that she has no problem with me staying out late, as long as I call first and come home. If you think about it, this is remarkable. Consider your college students back home – most have a curfew, or at least parents who won’t let them alone for more than an hour without hounding them via cell phone. And that’s in a place where you know each street like the back of your hand, and have access to reliable transportation. Not to mention you can actually trust the police! But here, where I have literally been out of the house TWICE, I’m left completely to my own devices, despite the fact that I don’t (fluently) speak the language, cannot rely on law enforcement, and am constantly in a state of shock. And I’m still alive. Just some food for thought.