I was just listening to Beethoven, and I noticed the basses rum-pum-pum-pum-pumming along and suddenly got a big ol' lump in my throat.
The same thing happened a week or so ago when I saw a brass band playing in the local ЦПК и О (Central Park of Culture and Relaxation, a widely-used acronym that took me forever to decipher). They appeared to be volunteer, and I thought about trying to find out who they were and whether I could join (on tuba, I guess?), but from a sign I saw yesterday, it appears their season is spring-summer. Sigh. Maybe next semester?
(Yes, I could continue my balalaika lessons, and probably will once I'm sure of my work schedule, but there's just something about playing in a group...)
On the subject of acronyms, my new institute's acronym is ТИУиЭ, Teh-I-U-i-Eh, which sounds approximately like "Teeooeeyeh." I can't say it right. Especially not without laughing.
Unrelated: where do Russian girls learn to swing their hips when they walk? Practically every single one of them does it. Is it the same place they learn to walk in high heels on pothole-pitted sidewalks? Is it a phys ed elective in Russian high schools? I've tried it (the swinging the hips thing, not the heels... although actually I've tried that, too) and it just seems like a lot of extra work that really slows you down, not to mention making you feel like an idiot. Conclusion: I am not a Russian girl. In case that wasn't obvious.
This reminds me of a tangentially related, classic observation made by a 16-year-old German exchange student who was visiting when I first arrived: "In Germany, we wear more clothes." (We were on the way to a discotheque with some Russian students.) Meanwhile, the trend of wearing all-over-lace tops that show off your bra (or lack of a bra, in one particularly flagrant sighting on Tverskaya in Moscow) continues.
Unrelated 2: I've named the elevator in my apartment building the World's Most Satisfying Elevator. Why? Because it actually *does* come faster if you push the button multiple times.
Unrelated 3: I've never been a southerner before (unless you count Washington, DC when I was really little), and despite my professed love of changing seasons, I have to say I like it. The weather is fabulous, and I've never seen a selection of vegetables like the one at our local market. I hope it's like this all autumn. However, the first thing I'm going to miss about Vladivostok has made itself apparent: a distinct lack of Chinese cabbage, soy sauce, mung bean noodles, tofu, kimchi, fresh ginger...
Unrelated 4: I was totally a movie star at the market today. The vegetable lady was SO excited that I was a real live American. She shouted to all the other vegetable ladies, in effect, "Hey! We have a REAL LIVE AMERICAN buying cucumbers from us!" I've had a few amused smiles (and annoyed eyerolls) at my less-than-perfect Russian, but this was the first time that someone here came out and asked where I was from. I'm glad I made her day.
Unrelated 5: I've bought the caulk and the caulk gun (called a пистолет герметика/caulk pistol, to my amusement), but I'm afraid to use it. But I'd better get down to it, because the downstairs neighbors just dropped by to say that they're doing some very expensive ceiling renovations, so could I please be extra-careful not to flood the bathroom. I guess that's as good an excuse as any to bite the bullet and do it without asking my landlord. (I'm sure if I ask him he'll tell me that he'll fix it himself, seeing as I'm a girl and a non-Russian and would therefore end up doing God knows what, but he'll probably never get around to it.)
Last but not least, here's the view out my window (and the gorgeous weather I was talking about).