Tuesday, May 16, 2006

My Russian Journal Entries

These are my personal pictures so if you would like to use them please comment me here and let me know which ones you are using, and please give me credit!

For pictures click HERE

May 6th
Even though I planned to pull an all nighter I ended up falling asleep around 3:15ish, and woke up around 4:30, got ready and prepared to say good bye to my family. When I arrived at the band hall, we got everything we needed (passport, tickets, band shirt, etc); we weighed our luggage and then loaded a bus to Dallas, TX(7 hrs). I slept most of the way, only waking up when we stopped in various towns for a break. Once at DFW we went through all the usual airport procedures. I didn't even think what people would say when they saw me sporting my Spurs hoodie all around the Dallas Airport lol. One of the employees doing bag checks was jokingly hating on me, but it was all good. We had a 3 hour lay over before our flight to Frankfurt. At each of the gates they had CNN showing, and I got to see a few commercials of Anderson before leaving the country. When our flight took off, I will admit, I was really nervous. The flight was approx 9 hours and 15 mins and omg...the time changed just about killed me talk about jet lag!!! gaah!

May 7th
Since I didn't really write much about the flight, here we go! The food was actually pretty good, but I did have trouble sleeping, it seemed like everytime I woke up it seemed like I had been asleep for hours and it would have only been 30 mins or so later. When we landed in Germany, we had a 30 min layover before we left for Moscow. I opened a book I had bought for the flight and what a suprise! My mom had left me a card inside of the book. It got me all teary eyed!
Well, I can't believe I'm in Russia! It's so beautiful and different. I dont have a roomate and it kinda sucks, but then again I dont have to share a bathroom, so its all good. These next few days will be extremely busy! Today we didn't do much due to the long flight and all that good stuff, so I just hung out with a few people and now I'm off to sleep. Until tomorrow....

May 8th
OMG I slept like a rock!! The bed sucks, but when you are exhausted it doesn't really matter. Breakfast was okay, but I wasn't brave enough to try anything different after last night's experience...yuck! lol Our tour guides from the IFAI are so nice and very funny. My group's tour guide's name is Slava and he knows everything it seems! There is another guide named Rita, how funny is that?! It still trips me out that my family is just about to fall asleep and I'm just waking up! Mind boggling I tell ya! The WWII museum was amazing! I just wish we would have had more timeto take everything in though. Dinner wasn't too great but I have to eat. Today we marched, and marched, and marched, and dang my feet are killing me!Well I have a roomie now, since one of the clarinets got sick and she didn't want to risk catching anything...well until tomorrow....

May 9th
Wow what a day!!!! We marched, and played in the rain and some band people were just cranky! The perfomances were amazing so it made it all worth it! We played at the Grand Hall of the Moscow State Conservatory where teh military band played "A Slavic Farewell" withus. The people reacted so well to it, giving us a standing ovation and clapping during the song. Slava toldus that they dont clap out of courtesty, only when they really enjoy the performance.
We were priveledged to be on a stage during the National minute of silence, and even though I couldn't understand what the speaker was saying just before the rememberance moment just looking at the expressions on the tons of people in the crowd broke the language barrier, and was also a very humbling experience....

May 10th

Today was our last day in Moscow, and we got to tour the Kremlin and Red Square, and wow it was amazing! Ashley, Shawn, Steven and I went shopping today as well. Shop owners will literally pull you into their shops, it was kinda creepy. We also visited a Baptist Church and we got many mixed reactions. Partly I believe was brought on by the difficult transition from the Roman Orthodox Chuch to another form of the Christian faith. We boardeda tran in Moscow heading to St. Petersbug around midnight. It was an overnight night train and I actually slept pretty good.

May 11th
Wow! St. Petersburg is beautiful!!! We toured the Petergoff and wow! It's huge and very beautiful. Today was another rest day, so after our tour at the Petergoff we checked into our hotel and omg compared to the last one its like Heaven! I have my own room again and my bed is HUGE!!! Ashley, Shawn, Steven and I went bowling today it was fun, and we also went down to the gulf. Our hotel is on the Gulf of Finland, and its awesome!!!

May 12th

Today was a very busy day. We toured the Hermitage Museum and its HUGE!!! Our concert was held at the State Academic Cappella Concert Hall and omg amazing! Slava told us that the people that atteneded have at LEAST one music degree and to recieve a standing ovation is quite an accomplishment!! Slava is amazing, he's very smart and know alot of information about Russia andI'm glad to have the opportunity to meet him. We went to a nearby grocery store and it was pretty confusing, but what got to me is this story that my friend told me, I wasn't able to hear what was going on in front of us but she did. There was a man checking out in the line we were in and he didn't have enough money, so he had to choose between bread and milk. It was so sad because here we were spending more money that he probably makes on junk food and he had to chose between bread and milk. It was very humbling, and I wish I would have witnessed this first hand because I so would have given him the money he needed.

May 13th
Today went by very fast. We toured the Peter and Paul Fortress (this is the place where the Romanov family is buried) Our last concert took place tonight at the Palace of Officers Concert Hall. Overall, the concert was great, and the audience loved it. One lady was even asking us for our autographs and many people wanted to take pictures with us. It was very fun to be able to do that. Now I'm here in my room watching EuroNews lol, and its nothing like CNN and 360 :( St. Petersburg is lovely, and I would def. love to return on my own one day when I'm able to communicate.

May 14th

OMG I can't believe it's time to leave already! I'm ready to go home, but it's sad! Today was great. We went to a Baptist church service and got to attend a wedding! We went to a Greek restruant for lunch and it was great! Then we had free time to shop, and then had our farewell dinner. At the end of the school year, we always give out "awards" to each member of the band lol. I got the "Golden Spur" award...hmmmm I wonder why?! lol Man, it's going to be one long trip home. I'm so grateful to have been able to be in Russia, and can honestly say my eyes have been open in many ways. Did I mention how cool it is that is doesn't get dark until around midnight?! lol I never mentioned how awesome our bus drivers are! They were able to get us in and out of traffic and it was amazing!! Kudos to Sergiy!!

May 15th
Well today we traveled home. We had a 3 hour flight from St. Petersburg to Frankfurt then approx a 10 hr flight from Frankfurt to Dallas, then a 7 hours bus ride home. I have never been happier to see our fiberglass cows! Today wasn't all that eventful! I did buy my copy of Vanity Fair in Dallas as soon as we got our luggage and everything!


Anonymous said...

Welcome back Rita. Russia is so beautiful. It's good you got a pleasant trip.

I don't think you know me yet because I am a newbie at Funhouse.

I was looking for the clip about Anderson sent his mom a typed card on Mother's Day at Funhouse, and I was told you were away to Russia. That's how I get to know you.

Whenever you got a minute, do you mind upload that clip again? I can use both Megaupload or youedit. Thanks. Most of the time, I will be at Funhouse.

xtina said...

I see yr Spurs are stil in it! Im glad U got to know the people in Russia a bit. After going there around the time the Berlin Wall came down, it amazed me how kind, gentle and intelligent Russians are. We used to think of them as the enemy, but that was propaganda. And the countryside is like Germany, all hills and churches...welcome back!

Rita said...

Anonymous: I re-uploaded the clip yesterday when I saw ur message, did you get my personal message I sent to you?? Anyways, I re-posted it where you had left your post about it :)

phebe said...

The pictures are great. Thanks for sharing. Glad you're home and back to blogging.