Just got off the phone with Kazan. They told me, once again, that the last information they had was an e-mail I sent them in January. So I asked them to check the e-mail address of FU’s exchange department, which was (ir)responsible for submitting my application. Again, nothing.

If you are normally in fairly frequent contact with me, you have not been in the last three weeks. I have talked to almost no one, because I’ve been too busy worrying about/working on the Missing Application Caper. Concern was growing that the “loss” of my application was more than a mistake, a worry that was legitimized by this section in a recent news article in Kommersant about the Crimean Tatar minority in Crimea:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In September 2014, the directors of the [only existing Crimean Tatar] TV channel ATP received a warning from the Center about extremism [the Crimean Tatars are Muslim and have faced all manner of injustices under Russian rule as a result, including occasional bogus accusations of extremism]….Now the leader of the channel worries that he soon won’t be allowed to broadcast anymore. The broadcasting license for ATP ends on the 1st of April, and the application for extension has already been returned four times for editing.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The deadline for my documents is June 1. I submitted them on April 22, and then after hearing nothing for two weeks, my research mentor in Russia went by to see about my application and was told that it didn’t exist. After receiving e-mails from both me and my university, the director of international admissions wrote and said that they did have my application, but it was missing a page. So I fussed at FU’s exchange office (who ARGUED with me about the missing page, telling me to go check with KFU again, before I advised them to look at the original of my application. Shortly thereafter I received the reply, “Oh, you’re right. It’s all here. I guess I’ll scan in the missing page and resubmit then*.” I GUESS YOU WILL.) and then resubmitted the documents, requesting that they send confirmation when my application was complete.  They didn’t. I wrote again. No response. That continued for a week. Finally, I called, and the person who answered, who was more nice than helpful, told me that they didn’t have anything. So I went back to FU, who were clearly tired of me (I PROMISE THAT I AM MORE TIRED OF YOU) and asked them what was up. They said they hadn’t talked to the office, but they assumed everything was fine, and I should too (have you not been paying attention? I wanted to ask. The theme of this entire year is that it is never, ever fine, and there is always a fire that can only be quenched by me, but in order to do so, I’ll have to get the extinguisher from your colleague who has office hours on alternate Tuesdays from 1:30-1:45 and who has taken the month off to go to France, but if I really need to solve the problem now, they can put me in contact with her pet chinchilla, who’s taken over her duties in her absence, but it only accepts calls on Fridays between noon and 12:04, so I’ll have to be patient).

Aaaaaanyway. The point is that I was worried that they were just going to continue to ignore me/deflect my questions until the June 1 deadline, at which point they could tell me that sorry, my application wasn’t completed on time, try again next semester slash never.

But Kate prefers ‘try harder now’ to ‘try again’. So I called again this morning, talked to the same woman (she was less friendly this time, but more helpful, so I guess that’s a win), who gave me the same answers. This time, however, she muttered to herself as she searched, and I realized that she was just searching for my e-mail address in her inbox, so of course she wasn’t finding anything. I asked, “Is there really no way for you to search for all the applications from my university? Because there’s one, and it’s mine.”

Golly, what an idea!

So then, of course, the application came up with no problem, and she said that it was complete and that her colleague should be working on my letter of invitation (part of the visa application process, which I’m sure I’ll have lots to say about in a month or two), and that she’d let me know when it was done, but I shouldn’t worry in the meantime.


I googled “Exhausted but victorious,” and this was the first hit. It’s the thought that counts.

Now that that’s over, I can move onto something more exciting, namely classes! I was informed that my original plan (to not take classes and instead just do research, since that’s why I’m there in the first place) was no good, because I can’t get a student visa unless I have a full course load. That stinks, because it means I’ll have to find a way to do my  research in my free time (which leaves me only Sundays for traveling to interviewees, since in Russia the academic week is 6 days long), but on the bright side, it provides an opportunity to fill in some of the gaps that the Berlin program is leaving in my education. So although most of you probably don’t really care, I am putting my course schedule here in case someone thinks it’s as exciting as I do. It looks like a whooooooooole lot, but that’s only because Russians measure their courses in terms of the total semester hours, and most classes only meet for a portion of the semester. This plan technically comes in slightly under the hours for a full-time student, but I ran out of things to take, and I’m hoping they won’t begrudge me the 15-minute-per-week difference.

1. Practical course in Russian language – oral practice – 22 hours (this is literally the only course I need credit for)
2. Practical course in Russian language – grammar – 22 hours
3. Practical course in Russian language – pronunciation – 22 hours
4.. Basic Tatar language – 36 hours
5. Corrective grammar of German language – 34 hours
6. Cognitive linguistics – 28 hours
7. Methods of linguistic analysis – 20 hours
8. Experimental linguistics – 16 hours
9. Sociolinguistics and psycholinguistics – 34 hours
10. Political linguistics – 34 hours
11. Education in the Republic of Tatarstan – 10 hours
12. History of Tatarstan – 18 hours
13. Sociolinguistics of Turkic languages – 18 hours

*This is the good thing about German bureaucracy. On the one hand, they lose or misinterpret my stuff ALL THE TIME. On the other hand, ain’t no paper trail like a German paper trail, so it’s never been very difficult to prove that I’m right once I get over the hump of convincing the person to actually go back to the original documents. In the States, I feel like that’s where the problems would begin, unless you brought the original yourself. That is why my mom has so many file cabinets.