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Friday, May 27, 2005

hail, minesweeper, babushki...

I had probably the best view of the first real lightning storm to hit yaroslavl this summer. from my ninth story apartment, the entire historical center is visible, and the view is even better than from the kremlin's clock tower. so i am going to boast about it and enjoy it for the next two weeks. anyway i was watching out my window and on the horizon i could see blue skies to the left, this tremendously dark cloud over the middle of my view of the city, and jokers to the right. actually, just blue sky over there too.

so there's this relatively small storm cloud over the middle of the city and i can see the sunshine on both sides of it. beneath the cloud it looks like smog had enveloped the city. i stupidly stood out on my glassed in balcony and watched the lightning hit all around the center for a good two hours. it hailed as hard as i've ever seen hail, and for an unusually long time. there were accidents all over the city because of flash flooding. it was great.

other good things: last night i spaced out while studying for the oral exam i was supposed to take today, and, as is often the case, started a game of expert minesweeper. i wasn't even really paying attention, and when i finished the game the little 'enter your name' window popped up, which meant i'd broken my record. now, this might not seem like a big deal to you, but odds are there is some minesweeper reading this, already wondering if it was better than his high score. i should also add that i attained my previous expert high score of 89 seconds during a 7 hour playing binge during a rainy day at russian school. i was so excited that i wrote lelia an SMS to tell her about it. and she called me back to tell me how hard she was laughing at me. new score: 81 seconds. hah! HAA!

finally, what you were all waiting for. another wacky babushka story. i was walking down the flowery little side street toward the internet library, just enjoying the weather and the humid flowery air. i said hello to the two grandmothers who always sit outside for as long as twelve hours a day and just watch who's coming and going. one of them was cutting branches of flowers from one of the trees, and she turned around with a big smile and said hello back to me. the other, who was standing near the door took three steps toward me and started yelling:

"THOSE ARE OUR FLOWERS. WE PLANTED THEM. WE'RE ALLOWED TO DO THIS BECAUSE THEY ARE OUR FLOWERS."

pause. the agitated one obviously took my gaping jaw stare of disbelief, as, well, just that. disbelief. and started in again about how they really were her flowers. i ended up just stumbling backward and saying something about how pretty they were. only now i've realized that the only real course of action was whipping out my phone and telling her i was going to call the cops, just in case.

actually, the moral of the story is giving people the benefit of the doubt. i don't relate to them because i didn't grow up when or where they did. when you walk around a city seeing old, old women collecting bottles and eating out of trashcans you have to put aside the soviet bashing for a minute and stop to wonder what went wrong...at the very least it puts a little perspective on all those numbers you catch in the news about older russians missing the soviet union.

on a lighter relating-to-people-note, i met 3 people from nebraska and the one that seemed interested in talking to me was OK. there are some good people in red states! except for kansas. you can't count dorthy, she died a long time ago.