Best Weekend Ever. Part Two. (Saturday)

On Saturday, my roommates and I decided that we were finally going to hit up the Peter and Paul Fortress! I have been waiting to go to the Peter and Paul Fortress since I got to Russia (as well as Tsarskoe Selo). It just so happened that this weekend was the best weather we’ve had since I got here. The sun was shining beautifully and it was still cold enough to keep the ice frozen and the snow beautiful on the ground. Ah! Amazing weekend weather.

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The Best Weekend in Russia. (Post One – Friday)

Since last Sunday, not much outside of school and new roommate has happened. About 4 hours ago our hot water stopped working (ie. not the hot in the water, but the hot and the water all together — when you turn the tap, nothing happens), but hopefully that will be solved by tomorrow (according to the people who run the show here). Anyway.. this weekend was the best weekend I have had since I’ve been in Russia.

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The Week of Disappointment!

What a week! I realize I am in Russia, so I shouldn’t complain, but I have to admit this week has now set the bar for the rest of my trip.

Last Monday (February 23rd) was “Men’s Day” or better known as Defender of the Fatherland Day. Naturally, everyone got the day off for school. What can be bad about that I hear you say…. well, what sucked was that since that Monday I have found that our school doesn’t believe in giving their students time off (regardless of holidays) and require you to come in on your weekend time to make up the lost time on the Holiday. This in itself stinks, but is not the deal breaker for me. What has been the biggest disappointment is the news that came with it.

We were told by many (including our trip coordinator) that in this program they will give you a week or more to see the sites of Russia. This was fantastic news to me, I had made plans (including getting permission/reference letters for GARF — a Russian Archive –, meeting with various professors to talk about fonds and research methods at GARF, read up and understood the rules/regulations of researching at GARF, etc, etc, etc, etc). I have now been told by our Coordinator here (in Russia) that there is no ‘break’ time. Which means I can’t go anywhere unless I can do it in 4 days. (ie. skip class on Monday and leave Thursday night). One of the main purposes of this trip (aside from see Russia!) was to get my feet in the pool of historical research.

I debated for a while about just skipping a week of class and deal with the consequences, but I have been told by professors and researchers that a week is not enough time to research at GARF (they like to take their time retrieving fonds, etc). And then I was told by the student ‘supervisor’ here that if a student misses a percentage of class a week, that he has the authority to send them home.

I am at a loss of what to do. I feel like I’ve put so much time and energy to get here, I don’t just want to sit around. I feel frustrated at this program, if I wanted to just intensively learn Russian I could technically have done that at home. What is the point of sending students to Russia if you don’t give them the time to see it.

Okay, so I am more than a little frustrated, I am bitter and angry about the whole thing. I have people who are waiting for me to do some research, and now ….. I don’t know.

I still have my thinking cap on, and I am going to see if there is anyway I can get to GARF still. There has to be, I’m in Russia, and GARF is closer to me than it’s ever been before.

Anyway… I went to Novgorod yesterday. I’ll make a post about that soon.
Cheers Mates!