Saturday, January 1, 2011

The last crazy month! Part 2

So no time like the present to fill everyone in as to why exactly I am in yet another new family. I’ll also start off again by apologizing because this post is going to be a bit scattered and a little confusing because I have a lot of information to get across in (hopefully) a relatively short blog post but I want to fill everyone in.

So with my first host family that I had the actual relationship that we had was good and was not the reason that I had to switch to a new family. About 3 weeks after arriving in Russia I started having some sort of mild allergic reaction to something. It manifested in small red bumps that itched really badly and kind of looked like mosquito bites but stayed red all the time. At first I had no clue what it was and I ended up going to the Russian doctors more then once about it (it was not quite as positive of an experience as the dentist) but the only thing that they could tell me was that it was an allergic reaction but because EVERYTHING in my environment was new there was no real way that they could pinpoint what I was allergic to exactly.

Well after a few more weeks I figured out that the only time I got the spots was after I slept in my bed so I talked to my host family about that and we decided that me and my host sister would sleep in my moms bed and my host mom would sleep in our room to see if that cured the problem. For the most part that helped but I still couldn’t sit on my old bed because when I did I got spots. I had thought that this was going to be a temporary fix but this was really the only way that I could sleep in the house and not get spots but I was not fully comfortable with sleeping in the same bed as my host sister for the next 8 months. When I told AFS about our sleeping arrangement they agreed that it had been long enough with this allergy never really going away that they thought it was time that I changed.

All of this talk of changed happened to come up right before I left for Sochi (see last post) and so they decided that they would start searching for a family and would tell my host family about the switch whilst I was away in Sochi and that I should call on the way home and not to worry while I was there. So I tried to do as they told me (but for those of you who know me…I worried) and I called AFS on the train from Moscow to Yaroslavl. That was a BIG mistake. They ended up telling me that they still hadn’t found a host family (because they forgot to start looking) and I totally broke down in the train. Thankfully it was a train full of exchange students who understood what was going on so they were nice about it. After a lot of phone calls and many many many more tears we finally got it worked out that I would be going to staying with Jenia until they found me a permanent host family.

So when Jenia's host family picked her up from the bus station they also picked me up. And so started the 2 weeks that I lived with Jenia. Because Jenia’s house doesn’t have an extra bed I slept on a mattress on the floor of Jenia’s room, which was fine by me. But that meant that in one room it was me, Jenia, and her host sister Natasha. It was cramped but it was a lot of fun. So while I was at Jenia’s I had a big event happen. It was my 19th birthday!!!!! Well in Russia birthdays aren’t huge deals like they are in the states. Jenia’s family was really nice and they tried to make my birthday as memorable as possible. They bought me balloons and gave me a small gift and Jenia bought me a birthday cake so that was really nice. It was a great birthday under the circumstances but I really do wish I had been with a family of my own for my birthday. So just 4 short days after my birthday it was Thanksgiving! I know I know, thanks giving in Russia? Maybe not but me and Jenia were determined to do something for it. Well an actual thanks giving meal was out of the question because we didn’t have any of the ingredients that we needed so we had one of the worlds most unconventional thanks giving meals in the world: Tocos! Jenia and me made tacos for her family for diner. She had already made them for them once so it wasn’t new but still it was exciting because even in Russia we managed to make them taste like “home” we had to substitute things with the Russian version but they still ended up tasting pretty darn…. well I was going to say American but well Mexican!

So a few days after Thanks giving just about 2 weeks after I moved in to their house AFS told me that they had found me a new host family and that in my new family there would be a mom, a dad, a brother my age (but lived in Yaroslavl for university) and a sister that’s 16. I was really excited. So I packed up all of my stuff from Jenia’s (its surprising how much unpacking you can do in just a 2 week time period) and Jenia and Natasha went with me in the taxi to my new family. They lived in a house about 10 minutes’ drive outside of Uglich in a small village. I could still Uglich but I didn’t technically live in Uglich any more.

So while I was there I unpacked all of my stuff as well. They were a nice family, very quiet but they seemed very nice. After I had been there for about a week AFS told me if it was okay if they switched me and Laura (a German girl in Uglich) because Laura needed a new family and they had no other families besides they one that they just gave me. I told them that on my end it was okay because honestly I had only been with this new family for 1 week so it was okay with me. I knew that it had a lot more people to go through to get approved but still I was excited about the possibility.. I had met Laura’s family and they were really nice and lived close to the school.

Over the next week I was slowly informed of each persons approval as it came. First was AFS Russia’s : this one surprised me because I didn’t figure they would allow 2 students to just switch host families. But they said that under the circumstances this was the best solution. The next one I also figured would be difficult: Laura’s family. Again I was pleasantly surprised and they agreed that they would host me and Laura could go to the other family that they still wanted to host and thought that I would be a good fit with their family. So with two of the three groups agreement the last was my family.

At first when AFS called them they said no because they didn’t want to start over again. I can’t say that I wasn’t a little disappointed because I also wanted this switch to happen. But then after afs talked to them again (they really needed a new family for Laura because things for her were getting worse) my family agreed that the switch could happen. So when my school contact called me I started to re-pack my stuff again. And that’s when I VOWED that this would be the LAST time that I packed until June!

So on the next Sunday (just one day after the switch was agreed upon) I finished packing up all of my stuff and got everything together from this family and we went in the car and they drove me to my new host families house. When I got there my new host sister Katia (13) and her friend were outside waiting for me. So once I got all of my stuff out of the car they showed me where the entrance of the house was then told me….we lived on the fifth (yes I said it FIFTH) floor and the building had no elevator.. so I guess I'm going to get very used to stairs! I carried up all my stuff and she helped me unpack it.

I knew instantly that this family would be an AMAZING match for me! In my family I have a Мама (mom) and a Папа (dad) (but for those of you who know my family at home, you’ll find it funny that my mom and dad here are the same age as my oldest siblings) a host Бабушка (grandmother, who is the same age as my parents), Сестра (sister) Katia who is 13 and finally a Брат (brother) named Lonya (pronounced like lone-ya) who is 2.

When I got there the host dad wasn’t home because he worked in another town and does one week at the house and one week not and this happened to be the week he worked. But I got along great with all of the other members of the family! And they talk A LOT, like more then me! And that is a very hard thing to do loll!

So I’ve been here for about 2 and half weeks now and everything has been great. My little host brother is super adorable, he calls me “kenda” because he cant say my real name and me and the rest of my host family get along great. They are very nice to me and I’m enjoying living here A LOT!

So that has been how my last crazy month and a half went!! Now that I’m all caught up in the next day or two I’ll get a post about Christmas and new years up and PICTURES I promise! Ill put up pictures..this week! I’m on break from school for the next 10 days so I WILL GET IT DONE! I promise.

Я вас люблю и скучаю!! (I miss and love you all!)



  1. Wow that's a lot of shuffling around! I would be a mess. I'm glad everything got sorted out!


  2. I think you are very smart to have kept a blog about your adventure in Uglich. I was also a foreign exchange student to Uglich from Pittsburgh, PA in 2002-2003. As you can tell I am a little bit older now. I didn't have a computer when I went but there was an internet cafe in the middle of town you know by the bus station. I kept a journal just of things that I wrote but I thought it was cool to see someone else from America who went to Uglich and kept a journal about it. I am recently just trying to find people who I went with and reconnect sort of and I came across your blog. It will be a great experience for you to look back on and this was a great idea to keep this blog.

    K that's all I wanted to say,

  3. hi. i also want to apply for nsly in russia, but do you think it was worth it to go to college late? i am debating between summer and whole year. just wanted some thoughts.

    hope you had fun,