It seems as though this week went by quicker than any week here so far. It was a very fun, enjoyable, and fairly simple transition into living with my host family. I mentioned in my previous post that my host dad was leaving to vacation on the Red Sea so it has been an all girl household which is very fun. My mom drives my sister and I to our school every morning where I have my Russian lessons still from 9-1. All the host siblings come in the mornings for the first hour because we write a different dialogue each night and we present them to everyone in the morning. This week had many dialogue topics including a realtor and home buyer, two friends buying a gift, and a couple more. I really enjoy the dialogues because they really help with my Russian. After our siblings leave we continue with our Russian classes which are getting more and more challenging every day. I think I’ve finally wrapped my mind around the uses of all the cases though so that is a plus. Nowhere near perfect, but it’s progress! The afternoons consisted of various activities that our host siblings planned for us. For example on Monday, a lot os us walked all around Kirov and it was very nice to explore parts of the city I had not yet seen. We got ice-cream, walked by the river, and it was a really enjoyable experience. I love how much walking I get to do here. If there’s one thing I don’t miss about home it’s all the driving I normally do. On Tuesday afternoon some of the siblings took us to a museum in the old part of the city and it was really a spectacular museum. There were various artifacts and models highlighting Kirov’s history. After the museum, my mom picked my sister and me up so we could go home and change because she was taking us to a nearby lake. Who knew that I’d get a tan in Russia? The lake was about 30 min. or so outside of the city and it was a very quaint, beautiful place. My mom and sister taught me a card game and we went swimming a little bit. Afterwards, we went to a family friend’s house who lives on the other side of the lake. We drank tea, ate sweets, and he played the accordion while my host mom sang. She really has a beautiful voice! In the afternoon on Wednesday we went on another walk through a park and I finally got a charger for m computer! Hallelujah! My experience in the Apple store was quite interesting because I had to sign about five papers regarding insurance and stuff like that. I buy things from the Apple store all the time in the US and I don’t think I’ve ever had to sign off on a charger. It was very amusing. When we got home my sister taught me how to make Russian pancakes which are sort of like crepes but a tiny bit thicker. It was surprisingly difficult but I think I did alright1 After school on Thursday some of the Americans went rock climbing with their siblings. It was very fun and a really good workout. I hadn’t rock climbed in forever so it was fun to go and try it out in Russia. My arms were definitely sore the next day. Friday evening was a very fun time! My sister and her boyfriend picked me up from school and we went to an Anti Cafe. An Anti Cafe is a place you go to either study, relax, play video games, and you pay for time. There is free and unlimited wifi, coffee, tea, and sweets. It was basically my haven for studying. We all played some games and then took to some video game playing which was very interesting to say the least. Surprisingly, I even learned some Russian by playing video games. My sister and I came back home and her mom had friends over for dinner/singing/laughing. They were all very kind and I had never seen such a dinner party. Masha and I were invited to play charades with them which was very amusing and I had a lot of fun. Then they started singing songs and it was great to sit there and listen to all their beautiful voices. Really- it’s incredible how they could all harmonize and sing beautifully on the spot. Then, my host sister was so kind as to tell the guests that I know how to sing a traditional song so of course I had to sing it. 🙂 If you know me personally, you know that I cannot sing and man was it embarrassing trying to not only sing in another language, but to also try and stay somewhat on pitch. Nevertheless, I think they were just excited to hear me sing in Russian and they were excited that I knew one of their songs. We were up very late but luckily my sister and I got to sleep in this morning. It felt so nice to sleep in because throughout this entire trip I don’t think I’ve been able to sleep in past eight so it was a real treat for me. Once we woke up my sister and I met one of her friends and walked around another new part of the city that I hadn’t been to. We went into one of the shopping malls, an arcade place, and enjoyed the day. Exhausted from the night before, when we got back we both took naps until dinner time. We were supposed to go mushrooming and to another village this evening but the weather was poor so my mom decided not to. Instead, we watched the famous film “Some Like it Hot” (which is very popular in Russia) and we went bowling at the nearby bowling stadium. It was very enjoyable because I love bowling but I don’t go very often. I find it funny that my first time watching that movie was in Russia. I love old classic films so it is surprising that I hadn’t seen that one before. During this week my mom and sister showed me some Russian cartoons which I really enjoyed and they really helped with my Russian. There is a Russian version of Winnie the Pooh and Tom and Jerry. It’s safe to say they are both very cute! I’m really looking forward to spending the next two weeks with my wonderful mom and sister and learning more about Russian language and culture than I thought was possible. Tomorrow we are going to the countryside so I will definitely blog about the experience tomorrow evening when I return!