Sunday, June 13, 2010

Next Stop: Russia

Now that I have my trip to Miami behind me, I can only look forward and see that the next (planned) trip, as in on a plane, away from home, including overnights, is Russia. Gulp.

As I turned the page on the calendar from May to June, I saw the note I'd made to myself for June 15th: "Visa application and fee, final trip payment due ONE MONTH!" Gulp again.

It's coming. It's under 100 days and 13 weeks away. I absolutely cannot believe that a trip that was once 8 months away is now just three months away. And still, while I've been preparing as best I can, I just don't feel ready yet.

I've taken solace in the fact that I have a better grasp on the Russian alphabet now than I did. I can sound out words like a hooked on phonics pre-schooler. I can speak the niceties of life, but if challenged with an actual conversation, will probably either ask "Habla ingles?" or run in the other direction. I also have a much better idea about Russian history (thank you "Russia: A Concise History"!) so that I'll most likely not make an utter fool out of myself due to ignorance.

I also feel better that I've found out that announcements on the train between St. Petersburg and Moscow are made in both English and Russian. That will reduce the likelihood that I'll get off in some farm town in between the two and wander the rest of my days through wintry Russian landscapes. That almost cushions the blow rendered by my Russian colleague who told me that that same, new high speed line "is the one that gets blown up all the time." Good lord.

Don't get me wrong, I am excited. It is just that this is the first trip in a long time for which I've had to prepare and have absolutely no idea what to expect when I hit the ground. I can spend whole chunks of days though, daydreaming about that day-long visit to the Hermitage, standing in the center of Red Square and seeing St. Basil's Cathedral for the first time. I actually get goosebumps thinking about it. And that hasn't happened for me in ages.

Re: my previous post on reading. I've read almost 3 of the books on my reading list (two are nearly done, I'm multitasking).

Next up, I need to crack down and complete the visa application, and cough up the rest of the money for the trip (another gulp).

It's coming. Faster than I ever expected. I look at the few events and celebrations planned for the next two months and realize that "at that concert, it'll be a month away" or "when we go to that museum out in western Mass, it'll be two weeks away". Gulp. Faster than I ever expected.

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