First week reflection

I’ve finished my first full week in Philly. It’s evening now and I’m alone in my room, fueled by an off-brand PopTart, listening to music. It’s a good atmosphere to reflect. So, what have I done this week? And how do I feel about it? Time for a list!

> I’ve turned this bare & spare room into a home (with Bob’s help.)

Curtains were bought. Floors were washed. Routines, established—and I am cozy. Every night when I go to bed, I smile because I’m young, free, strong, and feel good about what I’m doing with my life. And that makes me feel pretty lucky.

> I’m quickly adjusting to driving and riding.

Last weekend, I tested the waters of SEPTA and brushed up on parallel parking, a skill I haven’t had to use much in the five years since I first learned it. On my hectic, 20-mile commute I feel unusually confident, but nonetheless, I’ve developed a plan to keep me occupied near my office until traffic calms down and I can go home with less stop-and-go.

> I’m gonna get fit!

I signed up for a Planet Fitness membership and met with a trainer to get a schedule. I have a three-day cycle of exercises and I’m hoping to go at least three times a week. I feel good about it! My boyfriend even went with me today. We were a gym couple and I’m sure everyone loved us (read: sarcasm).

> Work doesn’t suck.

Training has actually been going well. I think I’ll be ready to do the work when training ends next week, and by the end of the summer it’ll all be second nature. The work involves attention to detail, the ability to ask the right questions to get information, and communication skills in general. It’s not the most exciting job, but the experience is good and it’ll help me make some money!

The company seems good, too. I have to be hesitant—it’s an insurance company, after all!—but they’re teaching us to maximize payouts for claims and seem to value people as people, not just as moneyholders. Seems great! Aside from all that, my fellow summer workers seem cool, and I may have even made a friend. We’ll see!

> I’m getting engaged!

Oh, not like in the sense of marriage. I mean I’m getting engaged with the city and finally finding ways to meet people, ways that actually suit my interests and abilities. Chatting up strangers over beers is not among my abilities, so I’ve been looking into other possibilities; I’m not too proud to admit that the Internet is my main tool here. I’ve wanted to live in Philadelphia since I was in high school, and I’ll be damned if I let this summer slip by without collecting a library of experiences!


That’s what this is about. I could have stayed home and worked in the factory to make money for the next step. I would have had such few expenses and my old friends would have been near. But I chose this, and it was the right choice. Come September, I’ll have so much experience under my belt: lovelife lessons, work experience, city skills, and who knows what else. (New recipes, probably, if my crazy kitchen-crowding housemates have their way with me.) Ha—I might even be cool.


Bitchy Tram Employee

Дамы и господа, ladies and gentlemen, I have some unsettling news.

According to a statement by the bitchy woman who works in the Ploshad’ Lenina tram station, I, Sasha, am not a student. This shocking realization is the result of my attempt this past Tuesday to obtain a student tram pass.

Sources say that Russians are nice in the street but turn into hateful, two-dimensional versions of themselves when they are clocked into their menial day-jobs.

All this time I thought my student-ID and my university entrance card were proof of my status as a student. I’ve been attending classes, doing homework, and even buying school-lunches in the uni’s cafeteria. Who would have thought that all this time, it was a lie?

I tried to explain to the tram worker that I am a student, but something seems to have been lost in translation. When asked what I could do to rectify the situation, the woman threw up her hands, shouting and glaring at me with incredulous rage. Her coworker, attracted as a dog by the sound of a scuffle, mirrored her in gestures, tone, and beaming hatred.

I suppose that this working-class hero’s discovery means that my Russian visa is invalid and that I shall soon be deported, but, hey, at least I know I would have gotten an A, had my hours in class actually counted for anything…


(This has been a very sarcastic news broadcast by Sasha, aka capricecake.)