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June 2008

jazz night

this week, we were entertained by a visiting Jazz band from the states. they performed at a local venue during their trip around russia, the middle east and several other countries. it's been awhile since i had a chance to see some american artists perform. it was a fun night.

on another topic, i learned how not to schedule all my work for the summer months. i've had to change several plans for the upcoming weeks due to conflicts. for russians, the warm summer months are not taken for granted. I think coming off back to back tours in africa and australia, spoiled me into thinking i'd always have an endless summer. but it's not too late to plan some trips for the summer. i'm currently trying to plan a weekend getaway with some friends, who have been patiently waiting for my schedule to open up.

local news: russia 0 spain 3 (football euro 2008 semi finals) excellent effort fellas.

the weekend looks good for trying to find the beach. i may head out if the weather holds up.  

the fourth of july is around the corner, and if your american you know it's a day of cookouts, fireworks and celebrating the 232th anniversity of u.s.a 's independence. someone told me today that americans could still be considered a commonwealth. nope, i'd say, we're more like the black sheep that took off on our own and now everyone loves to hate us. well hopefully not all of us..

happiness is a clean pile of clothes

-laundry room at my house- 

i knew there'd be a large amount of work waiting for me when i came back from home leave.  and as predicted i've been working 60 hour a week since i've been back so like anyone, i'm ready for a break.  today was the first real day i had a chance to look back to see what i'd accomplished.  and surprisingly enough, i did finish a few projects that had been scheduled as far back as January.  unfortunately, with the increase in work load, i haven't had much time for anything else.

i did get out saturday to catch up with some russian friends.  it turned out to be a quiet dinner at a cafe instead of a day at the beach as was orginally planned, but all the same it was good to get out. 

i'm also back in full swing with my russian classes.  i feel like the progress i was making before vacation slipped a little, but my russian is coming back again.  last night i started to wonder what russians go through learning english.  i had the chance today to talk with one of my russian coworkers who was studying english.  she showed me some examples of what her instructor had her class go through.  it surprised me to see it also focused on the customs of what americans find acceptable and unacceptable in conversation.  we talked for a bit about what other countries are like in regards to similar scenerios.  this brought up a whole slew of questions about what's acceptable in russia, america, japan, korea, etc.  i think russians are more in tune with what americans are like than vice versa.  i'm constantly updating peoples opinions of what russian people are like.  long gone are the soviet sterotypes most remember from the 80's.  the russians i've met are an adventurous sort that like to travel, eat and drink, and try new things.  i just wish i had more time to join in with them.

tonight was also the first chance i had, since getting back, to really hang out with some of my american friends at post.  we've chatted at work but it's not the same as getting out of the office and stopping off at a neighborhood cafe or bar.  and as i've said before, the time flies by when people's tours are up and they have to leave.  so you have to make the most of it while they're here. 

most of the last two weeks has been a blur of work activity and sleep, with occasional breaks of food intake, maybe even a shower or two.  so while there's nothing major to report, i still have a thousand thoughts running through my head as i regroup and get back to my regular routine.  i hope to get out during the weekend if the weather holds up.  (its raining as i speak, only the second time in almost three weeks)  i should have a chance to get some more pics from outside the city if my plans don't fall through.

where'd all the green come from?


since my vacation, i've been getting caught up with work.  it's been a slow grind but most of it is under control and manageable again. so here are some random musings that barely make up a complete post.

on a happier note, the springtime weather has finally turned into summer.  i didn't think it would change the landscape as much as it has.  all the trees and foliage are showing colors that have been hidden all winter.  i'm seeing plants in places i never noticed before such as sidewalks, alleyways, city courtyards. 

something else thats new to report, with the increase in temperatures, also brings on the sudden urge to wear swimwear in public.  i'm not talking about the beaches, i'm saying backyards, tennis courts, or any outdoor venue that's conducive to getting a little sun.  although, it's been more elder people, that I've noticed, shedding their clothes for the skimpy attire.  nothing against elderly folks but it's not the most common sight in the world you'd imagine on a hot day.  I guess everyone likes to get as much time outside as they can, while they can before fall begins anew.

i picked up a spiffy new hat from the vladivostok motor inn.  baseball caps are a bit of rarity here, as far as touristy ones go. i don't see too many people wearing them in public, probably less of a fashion accessory here than in the states.  i usually only wear mine on the weekend when i have to work or run some errands. i wear it mostly for the sun protection than anything else.

i've been trying to get my russian languages classes back on track, but my teacher appears to be out of town on a holiday.  hopefully we'll reconnect by next week.  i've been studying on my own but find it's more motivating to have a regular class with homework.