The first day of school was a ceremony rather than class, so the foreign students shortly introduced ourselves, then gave flowers to teachers. I had a great time watching the dance and song performances of the grade school children; they were very well coordinated. Afterwards, I spent time with Tasha and Nadia. For lunch it was Pizza-Nitza–super crowded today afterschool.
After, we went to the shopping center across from downtown mega McDonalds to browse. Then, we walked to amusement park near the Volga River. The ride was slightly scary, but to everyone else, it was a child’s show. We also bumped into Pear, our third AFS student in Gymnasium 1, there!
After grocery shopping, the family went to the sushi bar near the house. Of course, there was a great deal of mayonnaise in the rolls. I still find the love of mayo fascinating and strange to my taste buds, but never the less, I found myself very full off “Kalifornia Maki”, “Kappa Maki” and “Filadelphia Maki”. On the side note, “Smetana” means sour creme, and it is also very prominent as a condiment in Russian cuisine. Go dairy!
My host family drinks kefir sometimes, which is a bit like sour liquid yogurt, but they don’t mind if I abstain. I’ve never liked it before. For everything else, I have eaten or drank. There is also a drink called “kampota” which is similar to watered down apple juice, where the fruits flavor the water. Still, the most popular drink is hands down “chai”–tea! Food and drink in Russia is 10 times better than I had expected, especially since my mother is a skilled/magnificent cook!