So with my Poland/Bolshoi posts out of the way, I thought I'd give you an update on the State of the Blogger. As it stands, I have one month left at my job. Seriously. I just found out today that my last day is June 20th, and today is May 20th, and I'm practically dancing. I have thirty-three days left in Moscow, total, and they are going by quickly.
At this point, I have achieved everything on my Russia Bucket List, with the exception of St. Petersburg (to be achieved immediately after leaving Moscow) and Yasnaya Polyana (sometime in June, depending on when my friend and I can get a free weekend). Now, it's just a matter of tying things up. Everything is booked. I mailed a suitcase home to Canada, and discovered to my amazement that it's left the country already - the one time that Russian Post has ever worked with anything resembling efficiency. I'm stunned. (Also, they still do all their international post in Russian and French - a holdover from the Tsarist days? What gives?) Now all I have to do is finish up at work, gather my remaining possessions, read all my remaining Scandinavian crime novels (I have a lot of those), and drag myself onto a train at the end of next month. Should be simple enough, but then again, it's Russia.
At school, most of the students have "checked out" by now, either officially or mentally. I blame the good weather and multitude of dachas on the city outskirts. By now it's all about giving final tests, and preparing them for said tests. Easy enough - even if I drown in marking by the end. Some of my students have been quite sad about the end of the year, and one class even presented me with a very thoughtful gift - a framed picture of the group, plus a letter with sweet messages from each of them. They assumed it was a surprise, but I figured out through the whispering and clandestine note-passing that something was probably up. It was adorable. You made my week, guys.
And the trip, oh god, the trip. I'm almost scared to talk about it for fear I'll jinx it. It's going to be glorious. I'm heading to St. Pete's on the 22nd, then on to Helsinki. On Canada Day I board a ferry for Stockholm, where I'll hang out long enough to explore Lisbeth Salander's haunts. Then I'm going to sell a kidney in order to pay for two days in Oslo. After a stop in Copenhagen, I'll hit Iceland, then take a detour with college friends in Toronto before meeting my family in Winnipeg. Everything is booked, everything is ready. Here's how it feels, since as a Millennial I can only express my emotions in GIF form:
Of course, this will eat my bank account, but I'm being careful and am prepared to come home broke or near it. I'm twenty-two - it's okay to still be flipping burgers. And the trip is worth it. This is what I've been waiting for all year, the ultimate bucket-list-checking-off adventure, the tour of a lifetime, and I'm hilariously uptight about it. This week the washing machine broke, and I flipped out because I was sure the cost would destroy my trip, until my roommate pointed out that the landlord has to pay for it anyway. Actually, it's been a bad week for electronics all around, with my iPod dying, the washing machine deciding to go kerplunk, my eReader spontaneously erasing all my books, my phone refusing to accept any payments, and my headphones, just now, doing the "left-ear-stops-working" act. So to my budget-conscious mind, I might as well have been a basket case this week. Screw you, technology.
The closer I get to leaving Russia, the antsier I become about these things. Any little setback is cause for much gnashing of teeth, and I expect that it will be frustrating right up to the end. But in thirty-three days, I'll be on a train to St. Pete's and everything will be in motion. It's a total thrill. I've had a hell of a year, with tons of ups and downs, and sometimes I thought it would never end. We're closing in, guys. Time to look forward.