This is just going to be a list of things we’ve done, mainly so I can remember them later. Feel free to ignore it if you wish. Real blog entries will resume once I have a moment to myself, which may be a while.

1. Day 2, the second-year students picked us up and took us around the city and then back to one of their apartments for dinner. We had a bliny cake (which has like 40 layers, with sugar and probably butter between them), blinchiki (bliny that are filled, in this case with apples, and fried), pizza, compote, and, of course, chocolate and tea. Then we started Ivan Vasilievich, the Russian equivalent of Back to the Future. For those of you too lazy to click the link, it essentially involves a scientist who transports himself and an unfortunate thief to the reign of Ivan the Terrible, and Ivan the Terrible to 1970s Russia. We called it quits partway through, so next week we’re supposed to get together with these guys again to go ice skating and finish the movie.

2. Day 3, we were met early in the morning (ok, 10:30, but it felt early) by the third-year students. They took us across the river Sheksna, where there’s an old estate that’s been converted into a museum. Our tour guide was very kind; she used to work at the university, and although she didn’t explicitly say so, I think she was one of the unfortunate ones that got laid off (did I mention earlier that the English/German department, now consisting of 11 faculty members, had 20 last year?). Anyway, it was very interesting to talk to her. I’ll put up pictures of the estate when Katja sends them to me. There are now no fewer than 8 Katjas among the maybe 20 students we’ve met. 

3. After visiting the estate, we went to the newest and largest shopping mall in Cherepovets. Shopping malls are all very new and exciting here, so we made mundane comments about how big and fancy it was to appease the locals. In fact, it was very big and fancy. Anyway. Enough about that. At the mall, we met Dan, Ann, Dasha, and someone whose name has unfortunately escaped me, but who probably goes by Katja. We went to a cafe for lunch, and hten they handed us off to a retired professor and his girlfriend, a graduate of the English department, on the steps of the arts institute. A concert for balalaika orchestra and choir ensued. I can now say I’ve seen a virtuoso play a balalaika concerto. Afterwards we went to a cafe for tea and cakes, they drove us around the city a bit, and then sweet, sweet bed.

Today Nathan and I are doing a mini-lecture together on the American education system for the fourth-year class. Also, Nathan finally gets his visa registered today. Huzzah!