Saturday, March 31, 2012

Getting Adjusted

Well we have officially gotten settled in here in Voronezh.  I have a room to myself on the base and an apartment that I share with two other girls from my team that is a few blocks away.  We will be able to move into the apartment on Monday so I will be sure to post some pictures of it when I get the chance.  In the mean time we have been living on the base and it has been great.

We have pretty much everything we need here... a sauna (as you found out), a kitchen and dining room (where chefs cook our food and we eat as a big group), a living room with a big TV (soccer is the only thing ever on), a gym, a laundry room and our rooms.  Every morning we wake up for breakfast at 9 and a schedule is posted with our practice time(s) for the day.

Our practices have been an extension of our training in Turkey with long but very simple practices.  We work on technique most of the time and usually finish with some sort of game.  I have been filling our down time by exploring the surrounding areas, studying any one of four languages I am attempting to learn (Russian, Spanish, Portuguese and French), playing my guitar or drawing, and hanging out with the girls, of course.

I will say coming from America where everything is state of the art, it was difficult to adjust to the living style here.  Below, as I describe where I live, I dont want anyone to think that I am complaining nor am I even talking negatively about Voronezh, I am simply speaking the truth...

The base is completely fenced in by cement walls with only one entrance that is guarded by a watch man 24/7.  I understand why it is fenced in and why there is a guard because out of the doors is what looks like a very poor area... but from the little bit I have traveled outside of our area, everything looks similar to this.... so I think it is just how the city is. There are several little stores around that sell EVERYTHING you need, I mean everything, it is such a random assortment of things found in these tiny shops.  The section of stores (which are called Magazines in Russian) closest by look more like farmers market or pop-up shops than stores.  They sell food, jewelry, household needs, appliances, etc.  Then there is no walking across streets here because people drive like maniacs, so you walk down some stairs and under the road to get to the other side of the street where there is a mini-mart and a few other stores.  There is not really any (what we would classify as) grocery stores, only convenience stores. It is fun to explore and see their culture in full throttle because to me it seems so foreign, but this is how they live!

The night we got here after that long bus ride it was snowing hard and freezing outside.  I was awake (because, of course, Nana's feet were taking up my seat and I couldn't get comfortable) and was looking at the area as we were driving in.  I felt uncomfortable and, I am not going to lie, pretty scared.  Being in Russia is a scary thing.  As I said, everything is just so foreign and the unknown is scary. So, as we were coming through the big gates and into our parking lot I felt almost sick with nerves and fear.... but when I got my bags and was going inside there was some people standing outside of the building holding the door open and welcoming me in.  When I got inside I could smell the food the kitchen had cooked and it smelled exactly like what I remember my Great Grandma Nana's house smelled like (and also like Uncle Matt's kitchen when he cooks certain foods)... I think it was the cooked cabbage or something... but as I was being welcomed in, smelling a familiar smell, and feeling the warmth from the building, all of my nerves and fear went out the window.  I felt strangely at home and I knew I would be ok!

I think many people will look at these pictures and think things look broken, dank, cold or sketch, but it is their way of life.  It all has so much history, so many stories and so much life.  To me, that erases all of the broken-ness and makes it cozy and homey.  I dont know how else to explain what makes this place special, and I couldn't live here forever... but it is perfect right now.

This is the club house

 When you walk in this is what you see... 

 The kitchen, dining room and living room are in there
My room

I tried to make it homey

 The dorm hallway
 The gates to get in

 The entrance to the bank
 The random assortment shops...

I got in trouble taking this one... but thats ALL vodka
 Walking under the street
 The walkway
 I'm in Russia!!!
 The surrounding area
 The campus from the outside

 Some houses...

 Thats all I have for you now! But I will hopefully have some funny stories for you soon!!




  1. Holy heart was pounding when u wrote that u were nervous and scared! I think nana new how to comfort uu so she sent the warm aroma to tell u she's watching over u:) I like ur room..better than I thought it would be. I love that u r soaking it all in. Like u said..its russia! Love and big hugs to u my sweet cousin!xoxoxoxox

  2. Great pics to give us a flavor of the area. You're right about the unknown being scary, but you sure seem to have the right attitude to get through anything and even embrace it! We're very proud of you and looking forward to your season!