So I made it to Russia to start a much needed vacation and I can already tell this vacation is going to be so vastly different from what I've ever experienced so far. I had no problems with the flight or airline food, it was good actually. But my issues started as soon as I got off the plane. The directions to my hostel stated to take this certain bus to the metro station and then from there walk down to the hostel. Sounds easy enough... not so much. First i couldn't figure out how to pay on the bus and I stood there for about 5 minutes until a nice Russian lady showed me how to do it. Then I kept freaking out thinking that I had missed the stop because there were no signs and I couldn't hear what was being said. I finally braved my very bad Russian and asked a lady where this stop was. Thankful it's the last stop on the bus route so I wouldn't have missed it. She then lead me to the station but I was once again forced in my horrible Russian to ask for one ticket, which actually I said right. Ironically the Moscow subway system is very, very easy to figure out and I was so nice to be able to sit on a subway and be outside, where it had started to sleet and snow. So I'm pretty proud of myself at this point, I've arrived at the right station and now just have to find the hostel. This was not easy. First they didn't say which way to go out of the station so I had to figure it out then I couldn't find the road to turn onto, and still don't fully understand how you will with the directions they've written. So again, in very, very, very bad Russian I asked people where this road was and finally, 1 1/2 later arrived. So after arriving into Moscow at 8:30 I finally get to the hostel at 12:30! And here I thought I'd left the Kyrgyz/Soviet time thing behind.
However I realized that I've already begun to experience serious culture shock. i about flipped out when I saw an IKEA on the side of the road and almost ran out the 7 floor mall that was filled with 5 floors of clothes, it had way too many people for me. But I think the biggest shock has been language so far. The people at the hostel speak English well and my Russian is not great, which I know, but I'm able to do basic stuff mostly. However, today that was quickly exhausted and ironically, instead of replying in English, which you would think would be natural, no I'm replying in Kyrgyz! Why! So not only are people looking at me because my Russian is broken and bad but I'm throwing out these non-English words to then suddenly replying once again in English... it's like I'm possessed or have ADD. Poor people. It's interesting and strange.
Tonight, I've turned in early because I've been up for a long time and so am staying in.The next two nights I'll be out and I begin bright and early tomorrow morning. Wish me luck! Russia is what I expected and not. It's definitely first world which has shocked me and pleased me at various times. Oh all of you worried about me being cold, don't be. I'm actually hot because I'm so used to trying to stay warm in Kyrgyzstan. I get funny looks about why I'm not wearing socks! More to come from the Russian federation.