Five more months left here. Next Saturday, foreign students in our town are supposed to have a mid-stay orientation to reflect and talk about our days in Russia. I don’t know how it will be like, but I don’t think it would really be anything special. Maybe I should bring a pinata for us to whack. Yesterday, we had a meeting at school 41 starting at 5:30pm, but sadly there wasn’t much to do beforehand. Pear and I searched for a birthday present for her host brother at Mega Mall, but still had plenty of time to kill afterward. Near school 41, we’ve always passed by a few food stands, so with the extra time, we got the chance to check them out.
One of the kiosks happened to sell doughnuts “ponchiki” for a decent price, so I bought a few to try along with tea. We stood near the stand to drink our burning hot tea, which kept us warm from the cold. I reached for my bag of doughnuts for a bite, and surprisingly the pigeon crowd chased after the food. The birds in America would never dare be that close to humans, but in Russia, they’re gangster birds! These daring creatures fly so close to a person’s face in the presence of food. When you walk toward them, they waddle away to clear path and don’t bother to waster their energy by flying away. I guess it’s simply because Americans have long domesticated pigeons (even teaching them to deliver our mail in past days), so they’re just scared to approach us unless we enslave or hurt them. Oi, that’s a culture shock.
There’s also always a lot of dogs and cats roaming the snowy streets of town, but all seem friendly. Haven’t met an aggressive dog on the street, but saw one trapped in a cage once. Then again, I was told that particular German Shephard had a larger bark than desire to bite anyone. I don’t know what to make of that idea, but I’ll just accept it. Tasha pointed out that the dogs here are rather smart too. They know to cross the street only when there’s a green light…and we’ve seen a bizzare case of a lost dog trying to board marshrutkas.