July 1

I couldn't find you yesterday. I couldn't reach back that far because you were behind the couch. Anyway, I went to the hospital to see Ba and words can not describe my feelings.

There were 8 patients in the room. The stench was putrid. The nurse, if Melissa saw, she would be flabbergasted. They don't change gloves, they don't wipe the IUs when they start a new medicine, one chick was walking around with an open needle in her tube. I told Lena if she only knew, but she told me it was for poor people and that was that. I told her she should see the hospitals in America and she said "I never want to be in any hospital." I don't blame her.

We have been getting along better then I had ever hoped now. I don't understand, now, it actually seems like she gives a shit, before not so much. I think she reads English well. She confronted me about something bitchy I had written about her in you so I think from now on you will be with me.

It's as if a magic wand was cast over her head. I had forgotten that I got here on her B-day and she's a twin too,. I just don't want to see her other face again. I love the Lena that cares about me. Maybe she realizes now that I can do many wonderful things for her.

Now about the fellows. Steve is schoizd. When we are alone, he is fine. When the other guys are around he's a royal prick to me. Today I was a zombie because there has been a low pressure cell going through so I have had a migraine. Of coarse no one believes me but that's OK.

Andy didn't call me yesterday. I'm kinda bummed because I thought I told him to. Maybe he forgot.

Anyway, back to schizoid Steve. He acts like he cares and then he's a royal asshole. I don't want to understand these people but then again I do. I bought a book today called Russian for Beginners. The asshole wanted $20 but I got him down to $15 (a book that was probably $2 in the store), probably could have done $10 but hey, that's O.K.

Nadia, Ba's sister, has come to live with us. She's 76 and feisty. She speaks clearer then Ba and she's an artist too. I talked and talked and talked to her today. I was so tired. She's so cool. From now on we don't have classes on Fridays. I think it's cool but schizoid Steve is mad. Oh well. I need to sleep some. I just hope I can wake up to do my homework.

Well, my nails are going... going... gone. We don't have class on Wednesday because of the election. Gee, I wonder who is going to win.

July 2, 1996
The day before the second or run-off election

Right now I am toasted. Aunt Nadia got me started on a little shot OK 2 of Georgian port wine, which was really tasty. I bought a cool pair of shoes for $50. I'm sure Lena will die. I also bought 2 more sailor shirts. I don't understand their mystique. Natalia, one of the teachers, was like, so impressed. I think by the time I leave here my feel will have had enough blisters so I'll be able to wear any kind of shoes. I bought clogs today. I think I decided a week ago I would do little things to piss Lena off, like buy things so she'd be jealous. I bought jasmine tea yesterday and it's so yummy. Well I don't have school tomorrow so I guess that's why Nadia got me drunk. I know this is awful but I also know it's true. Some bad things happen with good reasons. I think Ba falling is awful, I'd never wish it on anybody but it's really nice having Nadia around. She speaks clearer and she is willing to listen to me babble. I think that makes it easier for me, plus she's an artist she understands me a little better. I adore her. I mailed off the majority of my postcards today, I hope they get there. I also e-mailed today. I hope all the people I sent (Sydney, Mark, Lesli, Jan and Andy twice) all get my messages!

Tomorrow is another election!


July 4, 1996

So yesterday I thought I finally caught up on all my homework. However I didn't. Ira taught me or told me how to organize all the charts I know into my head. I started crying because it's starting to make sense now.

Lena freaked out today because Nadia didn't come home and she didn't know what I was going to do without a key. She really freaked.

It's just really hard on her because of Ba being sick and having me here because I guess she thinks I'm only one step away from being a baby.

So I wore my cool boots (the ones I was wearing when I broke my leg) and now my foot is sore. Steve explained to me that my ligaments were probably torn.

Oh! Mr. Mom is on! I miss my Woobie!

So I went with Nanette to the Italian place again. It was so wonderful! I love that place. Then we went back to her dorm room and drank champanskoe to meeting each other, to Andy, to me getting married (which never happened) and to her going home. She, as Lena says, is cprevetom. Kind of like "Hello... my name is..."

James called and wanted us to meet him at the American Bar and Grill to celebrate the 4th. But I think there were more Russians dancing and almost fucking on the dance floor then Americans. The food was so wonderful. I had chicken fingers and fries and cake and a Corona. I went to the bathroom and it was marvelous. The second time as I was coming down the stairs so Mafia man was admiring the fellows and as he passed me he mmmmmed and caressed me. Ah the life of a boss babe! I still feel high off the sensation.

Nanette got hit on by the taxi cab driver. I was buzzed when we got off the metro so I started to get us lost so Nanette hailed a cab. She wouldn't let me hold on to her book, Goloca and mail it back to her but she didn't mind asking me for a roll of the film I had taken. I told her no way. She said "I understand because it's like you don't lend out records or other stuff."

I told Glen I was eloping and he's freaking. He can't understand how I can just do that without telling my "parents." Oh well, I told him. It was like Romeo and Juliet and he called that a fairy tale. Whatever. I will write more later. (I guess he was right...)

July 5, 1996

Anne got her postcard for her birthday so I am happy.

Lena had me or basically made me stay at home until Nadia got home. If I really wanted to cool my ass at home, do you think I would be here? I wanted to say this to Lena but I'm not going to worry about it. If it happens just one more time though, I am going to say something.

Nanette and I went to a Mexican restaurant. The service was pretty scary, but the nachos were yummy. My calamari was cold and the French fries were OK. Nanette's food was monstrous. She took half of it back to the dorm.

I finally used my visa to get rubles today. I was so happy. I talked to Andy. He wants to go have my ring made. I told him we should wait for a while. My poor feet.

I can now die a happy woman. Lena made me borscht, oh it's so yummy!

July 7

Yesterday we went to Kolomonskoe. It was nice. I wasn't feeling great, just a little hung over. I ate and ice cream and other stuff then we went to the Margarita and ate. I had blinis with red caviar. If I hadn't been sick I would have enjoyed it a lot more.

I have decided never to go out with all the guys again. They are too much like gossipy old women. Actually they are worse. I hate Frank because he can't accept me for the "loud mouthed cussing" woman I am. I curse him for his daughter to be just like me, only worse.

Actually I wouldn't call it a curse, I like who I am.

I got back on the metro and I was ready to die. I really don't know how I made it home but I did. I laid down for about an hour and I got up to go to the bathroom and I started barfing. First I used Dima's (the cat) box that he never seems to use and then I screamed to Lena and she brought a big bucket. No blinis though. Just water and some other kind of unidentifiable matter.

I didn't know this at the time but she gave me medicine to barf even more or medicine to "cleanse" your stomach. When I woke up again I drank some tea and Sprite and began barfing out the window.

I called mom and she wasn't home so I called Valentina and told her if I wasn't better by Monday I wanted to go to the Dr. That's when I found out Lena gave me vomit stuff and I wasn't very appreciative at that point because I thought I was done vomiting. Oh well, I guess I will sleep all day.

July 11

Early Morning

Sorry I haven't written in a while. It only seemed like 2 days.

OK, I'm starting to go nutty now. Yesterday Lena told me to be home at 5 and she didn't get home until 8. I was so pissed but she knew I would be and as knowing one Gemini to another, she bought me a tape I had asked her to get for me to make up for it which I guess it did but I sure as hell didn't like waiting.

I think Lena and I had been driving Nadia bat shit or I hope so. She's pissing me off saying I got sick for not wearing footies and drinking cold water. Maybe I'll sit on the ground to piss her off.

I called Alexi to tell him what a fuck he was for calling Russia on my mom's phone and dumping her with over $200 worth of calls. Mom didn't want Thomas to know. It seems Thomas, as usual is more upset with me for calling and offending the Great One. "In his country, people don't do that." Fuck him. I'm going to call him back and give him more. I really just think he's afraid I'm going to call his wife and tell her what a fuck her is. Jerk.

Andy hasn't been a good student either. I have a feeling he's obsessed with his almost new job, which could be fine and dandy if he hadn't of freaked when I told him to take it next summer.

Oh well. If he gets a new job and a C I will be happy.

I really hate this country. Right now I hate the language I have the Muscovites, I hate the weather. It's over 100 and it's totally disgusting here. The streets are so nasty and half the people reek. They wear the same clothes over and over.

Valentina is a racist cunt. I told her the other day that the Dr.'s back home tell us to drink Sprite when we are barfy and she replied "Maybe American Sprite, but you see this is Polish." She said it in such a casual, off handed way. We may be racist in the states, but not to that extreme. A long time ago, but I have personally never been like that. Fuck her.

It's been nice just Lena and me. I'm going to go to the American style supermarket and try to get some boneless chicken breasts. Maybe I am racist because I won't eat the food here but it's because of the way they handle food, not the food.

I don't want to be here. I have almost made it to the 5 week point. I'll stick it out but I still don't want to be here. Jan's been to Moscow a couple of times and she didn't call. That kinda hurts. Oh well. I'll try and call her later on today.

July 12

It's so fucking hot here. All I really want to do is sleep when the sun's up. I'm going a little crazy. I took Lena out to dinner. It was $65 and the bitch charged me for every coke at $3 a pop. I really didn't want a margarita but Lena ordered me one for $7! This is the first time I have seen her full. She ordered a taco salad and a pork chop. Her bill alone was $38 (I had a cheeseburger I couldn't finish). She did her best to eat it all. She wolfed down a jalopeno pepper and now she things he throat is sore because she drank a cold coke.

I think she was surprised, but maybe not I sweat buckets. I thought the restaurant would be cool but I was wrong. Well I still think I'm stupid but I know one thing. With my pictures I can communicate in any language.

July 14

We went to see Ba yesterday. It was a lot easier for me this time. Their Biohazard containers are a joke. It's so dirty and disgusting I don't believe it's real. I forgot what I was going to write. She was happy to see me and couldn't quit kissing me. I bought her some baby wipes earlier and she loves them and some kisses.

She wanted to give me an apple and I didn't want to take it but she started crying when Lena tried to give it back so now I still have it. It almost broke my heart because I know she can't leave and here she is in traction trying to give me something. I think she appreciates what little I have done for her.

It's so beautiful today. I slept so good with my new fan. We went to Global USA and I bought some food, a fan and other little things. I'm going to make Lena fried chicken tonight. I want to go out and do stuff but I'm content with being at home knowing Andy and Co. are going to call.

It's so wonderful now. I had so many dreams about buying a mink coat at unique from a black chick who consigned it. Then I dreamt of eating in a Russian restaurant in Ky. That was weird and I can't remember if I had a sexual one or not.

I'm going to have my period starting this week so I've been eating lots.

I'm in a pretty good mood. The weather is back to normal. Maybe now that I have a fan it will stay cool.

PS Lena loved the fried chicken. I was delighted.

July 15

Well I have been here for a month. I don't feel like I have learned anything. I don't want to memorize I wasn't to know it and I don't feel like learning the traditional way is helping.

I got on the metro and turned around at Checkovskaya. I came home and tried to explain to Lena. She was like "It's only been a month. Russians don't even know Russian." (She's not working now because the little girl she baby-sits burnt her hand and this week she is getting a skin graft.)

I told Lena if she wants a new refrigerator, I'd give her $200 on it but I think she wants to keep the piece of shit she has. She'd rather have a new washer or I think she would just rather have the $. I almost wished I hadn't said a fucking word. She thought she was helping me and she unplugged the TV. She thinks me watching TV is the problem. What she doesn't understand is sometimes I learn more from watching TV. I'm also freaking because someone tried to break in last night. She was like, it's just an Alkazhe, or alcoholic, but I'm still freaking.

Now I am pissed at Valentina because I know she didn't come check out our families before we moved in. I want to go home. I hate being here and now I'm scared. I don't think I will sleep well again. I'm going to go in the bathroom to cry and take a shower.

July 16, 1996

Well this is almost the last week. I feel better today. I hate Valentina, she is a flighty, freaky bitch. She is not concerned about my welfare and about me living in the ghetto. I started to tell her about it but she's not concerned herself with us. She's not even coming on our "excursion" tomorrow. I really hater her. She expects us to be oh so whatever. She thinks we are all stupid and naive, but that seems to be the consensus of how Russians feel about Americans.

There is one ugly bitch, Zhena, who the guys go wild over who thinks we were so fucked up for going to McDonalds and doing "American" things. Apparently she's never been out of Russia or she wouldn't say such things. Stupid bitch. I'm starting to understand so slowly. I don't feel like I am going to quit now, but I don't want to put forth any effort. They think we are so stupid and I just feel like saying "Whose country is in ruins?"

Al Gore is still here. I hate the other Americans. Glen is just a big redneck, Frank is a super freak (any asshole who would leave his 4 month old kid to come to Russia) and Steve is just in this for the complete self-everything-me-me-me. James, whose daddy is some kind of Korean diplomat, thinks I'm a bitch for hurting his feelings and telling him what I think and Sean is sometimes OK and sometimes he's aloof. You know he actually thinks ulcers are caused by chewing gum? What an idiot.

Mom says it's because he's not or they aren't Southerners, not like Kentucky is all that Southern. I'm just not part of the group, I've never been, I never fit in and I don't know why I thought this would be any different. I guess in a way I want to be famous because then they'll have to let me fit in, but I know that's not true.

I will always and forever be different fro some reason or another. I guess it's not a bad thing, not fitting in, I could think of a thousand worse things but just for one day, just for a moment, maybe I can write a song so everyone can sing along. I'm not just feeling sorry for myself, I just can't understand if there's something wrong with me or if I understand what's going on better. Maybe it's all a facade or at least a bad dream, and I'll wake up with Andy's dick in my hands. I couldn't be that lucky.

Well it's more then half way over anyway. I saw my tape recorder at Global USA. It was $85. I guess I saved some money buying it at home :)

I paid $3.80 for tickets the other day. I've lost a total of I think 15 pounds, but that may be optimistic.

Natalia is the only one who understood. She gave me the reaction I expected or hoped for. She was so happy for me!

Mom's scared Boris Yeltsin is going to die while I'm here so she wants me to be prepared to run run run (that fucker outlived that bitch god dammit).

Lena is as unstable as her country, which I find so fascinating. Mom was going to try to send me a care package but it cost way too much.

By the way, the racism here is more rampant but it's more divided along which region you come from and the color of your skin. It's not that they don't like blacks, they are fine but their "blacks" are from the Caucuses and I have noticed they are worse about staring at my tits and being pigs. Asians (I get the feeling) that they suck but where our racism is almost superficial theirs is so strong they won't buy products made in certain places.

I want to buy Versace Blonde and wear it on my wedding day. I think when I get back home I'm going to bleach my hair again. (3 years later I did it)


July 17

Well we went to the Kremlin today instead of classes because Valentina had prior engagements with her incoming students. We are supposed to meet her for a play. Part of me doesn't want to go. I took a lot of photos. I don't know what to think right no. I've got a cold and I feel or I am exhausted.

Should I stay or should I go?

July 18

Today was a fabulous day. I had only one class (I have to make the other one up tomorrow). Lena made Chicken Cordon Bleu from a box. I bought Granny's icon and key chains. Lena has been real cool. Olga read Andy's fortune and said there will be a bad woman in his future and she will go away. He has or will cry over me and an older man. He is thinking heavily about work and he is keeping me in his thoughts and he speaks with me. It made me feel good. I drank Kvas today and it tasted like coffee a little bit. I still couldn't eat that dried fish though. It's been a great day.

July 19, 1996

Today has just been a wonderful day. It started off with an amazing dream in surround sound of space and how we were trying to set up a station around Io and we had to save our rocket from falling into the sea of ice and other wonderful images with a thick plot that I can't recall all of it right now. But it was thick in imagery and it made me feel like I had just been to a movie. It makes me think that maybe I should go into directing movies. I had my last class with Ira today. It was pleasant and she doesn't want me to be scared of my final so she's not going to make it stressful.

I got to meet her mother and she and I talked about how her education was different then American's because parents leave their kids to take care of themselves. I don't think this is necessarily bad because I haven't turned out horrible, but even I can recognize the problems with people that aren't as resourceful as I am.

I got sick of waiting for Steve to say when we should go to the cemetery so I went by myself. (THIS IS WHEN I STARTED TO LOVE RUSSIA) There was this dude who was following me and I was waiting for him to either tell me to stop taking photos or something else.

His name was Vladimir Ivanovitch and he was one of the most pleasant men I've met in Moscow. He started to tell me info about the monastery and about the graves and how he was in the war, a teacher, a widower, a father, grandfather. His first language of love was German and then English. He was just lovely. He showed me around and I gave him $10, then he offered to show me around the cemetery so when were were alone I gave him another $5. I knew he wanted money became he is now on a pension and he was talking about how hard life was here. He was really a lovely gentleman and I was appreciative of his info. The little tomb I took the most photos of belonged to a textile manufacturer who had the building built before the Revolution and after the Revolution they ran away so the tomb was never used.

The 3 onion cupolas represent the father, son and holy ghost. And if there are more onion domes, they represent the angles. I should have taped what he said but I was worried about how much to give him and other stuff. It was just pleasant.

Then I had a mystery meat burger and some decent French fries, stopped off and got a newspaper, was accosted by an alcoholic.

I was so tired I came home, ate soup, potatoes, tuna and chips while Lena showed me her and Ba's photos. It's just been an awesome day.

Tomorrow I'm going to Natalia's and a museum. Maybe I'll go to club Chance too.

July 21

I showed up at Natalia's at 6:45. I finished filling out a bunch of postcards and sent them yesterday. I woke up around 9, loafed around until noon took my bath, etc. I was going to go to the museums but it was raining and I figured I'd be up all night so I shouldn't stress it. I knew I was going to go to Chance with or without Natalia and her girlfriend, Anya.

So after doing postcards I ate at Micky D's and spent a whopping $10 on champagne. (I had gotten $80 from the ATM). I had a little trouble finding Natalia's apartment but I got there around 6:45. We looked around and I think I should have been the one to stay with her. She has these amazing paintings all over the place, besides, I could appreciate staying there, unless she made me leave when she gave lessons. Anyway we had champagne and I ate again, which was a good thing. Pizza, corn, black olives, lettuce, cheese, fruit and white chocolate. It was pleasant. Anya and I discussed the "pragmatics" of being Russian and American. They want Frank to help them get on the Internet, but I told them he's all talk and I don't thing he'll help them, but it would be nice if he did.

Natalia's mom came in and she didn't really want us to go dancing, I think more because Natalia was blitzed more than anything but also because she put on these really really short shorts. We got on the metro and an annoying lady pushed my crossed foot off my knee. I'm glad it wasn't my hurt one. We got to the club early, but there was a line and we got in there 3 minutes after midnight so the entrance fee went up to $25 and I also paid for Anya's way too.

It was good that I had emergency rubles because I spent them on drinks. I went through $100 last night but I knew it was going to be expensive. We got our drinks and scoped the dance floors. Natalia shouldn't have drank anything else. I had a rum and coke, so we danced a few songs and checked our the aquariums. It was interesting to say the least, even without the men playing in them.

We went back to the main dance floor and when Natalia started using me as a pole I went to get a Sprite. She was doing this funky thing with her legs and it was weird. When I returned Sergui the slut was licking her inner thigh and grabbing her everywhere else. Anya, being the jealous lover, understandably said it was time for them to leave, so I thought they left.

I went to use the restroom came out and the girl and guy we came out of the metro with (and gave us directions to Chance) told me where my friends were and I said they left. That was a confusing situation but I went back to the aquarium dance floor and Natalia was being hurled in the air by this other guy. With a measure of dissatisfaction on her face. Anya asked me to help take her out and when she fell and hurt herself, I agreed. She did not want to go, and I tried to tell Anya it was be easier to capture a wild horse, but I couldn't translate it. We did get her out.

I stayed by myself. I have no idea how they got home because I think the metro was closed. I don't remember. I went back and stood near the fans and Sergui the slut came up to me and stated it was hot. I answered "Da." Then he asked why I wasn't dancing and I said I didn't want to right then.

Then in perfect English he said, "Oh, I understand."

I guess he thought I was Russian so I answered him back with "Oh you do, do you?" He freaked and asked me to say that again and then he knew I was American. He told me he spoke just a little English. He ran off because I was waiting for a different song so I went to the back bar and ordered a fuzzy navel. The Bartender was so cute and he wanted to know how to translate it and da ta da da... in comes Vlady, the flaming Russian homo.

He went to school in Ithaca. He was the most pleasant. Surprise of the evening. Were' in love with each other's personality. Mine because I'm friendly and Southern and his because he's gay and we all know I'm like honey to gay men. We talked for about 3 hours. He's Adonis and a gentleman, telling me he liked my dress, me naturally saying I was too fat. Him chastising me for not accepting my body, me telling him it's not as bad here in Moscow as it is back home (ha... I was so ignorant). We talked and talked and talked.

This pretentious dude from Toronto stated talking to us, David, and he didn't hear a word we were saying. I think he just wanted English company. He bought me a drink, so I'm not complaining but it was annoying that he wasn't paying attention. Vlady told him he was Russian 3 times before he understood. He worked for Arthur Young.

Anyway, I need to call Vlady later because he wants me to meet his parents because they love Americans. So I am going to call him later. He took his leave and I said I understood so I went back to my station next to the fans and watched Sergui the Slut dance with one of his guy friends then he came and swept me off my feet, literally.

I was sitting there wanting him to come grab me off the dance floor and he did, then he picked me up and swung me around and I freaked. Nobody's ever done that in my adult life. I was getting dizzy because we were dancing so fast. I was following his lead and giggled my heart out. It was so much fun. He's a bartender. He gets the second cutest guy in Moscow award. I gave him my number but I don't think he'll call.

He had to leave. I was sad because he made me feel so sexy and words can not describe what else. Then I took my station and no one would let me stand alone for long. They make you come and join them.

This is how I met Igor, the sexy Georgian-looking dude. I have never been hit on so much in my life in one night (3 different guys!). He was there with his girlfriend, Zhena. Now Zhena is a bit more tolerant then let's say me for example. She let's him fuck other girls and guys and she stays with him. Can we say fuck that? While Igor was trying to pick me up, she just patiently sat there. Sorry, I'd be clawing the Bitch's eyes out, or pretending to be Lorena Bobbitt. I didn't like that. So, he gave me his number at work and at home, he works at GUM. That was just too weird.

Princess Catherine then walked to her magic coach that only took her home with another 15 minute walk. Let me tell you I know I looked like hell, and so did some of the other women on the metro with their disapproving stares.

July 23

Today I am a bit sad and lonely. Yesterday I overslept so I missed my classes, not that it mattered because now that Ira is gone, there is one less teacher so I was shafted today, not that it matters. No, it does matter. It pisses me off but there is really nothing I can do about it.

Valentina didn't have a class today and she left early,. Fuck this program, it's a joke. Part of me thinks this was all a sham anyway. I'm willing to bet Valentina doesn't come up with a transcript, either.

Part of me is just disgusted. Sean asked me if I was going to pass, I have missed just as many days as Steve had, but he doesn't need the transcript. It's like I'm ready to move to the next step of living as a tourist, then going on to be Andy's wife.

Yuck! That sounds wretched to say it like that, how about I'm ready to spend the rest of my life or the beginning of my life with the man I love? There, that doesn't sound so cliche.

I tried to call Vlady, but his line was busy. Then I tried to call Andy and he wasn't home. Frank really pissed me off today. I said I still had money and that didn't include my credit card and he asked "Whose credit card?" like I didn't have one, like it was Daddy's or something. I despise him. He's really not worth mentioning.

I found out Lena can be just as spiteful as me. When she came back from Italy, Mr. Krutoy who drives a very old Lada, wouldn't move his car so she could bring her bags in so she flattened one of his tires. He told Ba she did it and Ba said, "No, not my Lena." I thought it was wonderful adore her even more.

Glen was worried about me last night so he called to see if I was OK. That was so sweet but I still get the feeling he's one of those people who thinks once you are out of sight, you mope around and wait for the nearest guy. He couldn't believe I went to Chance alone and that there were truly gays kissing there.

Natalia doesn't remember a thing. Whatever.

Glen was like, "I guess you needed some testosterone around, or I guess you shouldn't have gone alone." I was like, whatever. I'm going to barf now because I am sick of all this macho bullshit.

Actually I'm just sick of this program. I don't ever think I'll find what I want as far as programs go. There's something wrong with my left (my broken foot) pelvic side. It's been hurting lately and I'm not about to start, as a matter of fact I just finished my period.

I think it may be from wearing those boots all night and dancing in them. I can't really say.

Well, I need to start studying. Or I think I will bathe, then sleep, then study. Later.

PS I took my shower and gave Vlady a call. He asked if I wanted to go for a walk and at first I was clean and didn't want to get back on the metro but I changed my mind and met him at Mayokovskoba. It was an enchanting evening and they were even filming a movie.

Vlad told me how the American companies hire the Russians for little of nothing and pay Americans ten times as much. The irony. He's now more American then Russian in my opinion. All the way from his L.L. Bean backpack to his Nikes.

I came home and started washing clothes and Mom called to tell me Doug is in the hospital with spinal meningitis and Mr. Clay (my sperm donor) won a settlement for 2 million. I'm so sick I'm just going to try to sleep now.

July 24

I'm not happy with this program, but things could be worse. I started freaking out because I didn't have any conversation classes this week because I over slept on Monday and today we watched a movie. I don't think Natasha really likes me as a person. So, I started freaking about what kind of test I was having tomorrow (grammar) so I talked to Valentina and she straightened everything out. Then she told me that I was a clever girl and I need to be more methodical with my studying. Then she told me Tatanya was so impressed with me, but that I was lazy because I refuse to memorize stuff. That 's when I was in class with Glenn. He knew all the words but I don't think he understood the meaning and I was pulling this shit out of my head. She was impressed, but we all know I am lazy when it come to studying.

I'm starting to get a fever and shit. I think I've picked up an infection. Wonderful. I want to tell Valentina that I want to learn Russian, not memorize it. Maybe then she till understand I'm... blah blah blah....

July 26

I spent the night with Vlady last night. I laid down to sleep and Granny called and she made me feel better about not wanting to go to Kazan. I don't mean to hurt Sergui's (from back home) feelings, but I don't think my Russian is good enough nor do I feel like being treated like a princess. If they were here, it would be a different story, but they aren't and I feel like it would be an imposition plus Valentina told me my entire schedule would be routed around their programs and such. I just don't feel comfortable and the best way I can explain it to him is by saying I wouldn't have expected him to see Granny and Pop alone. Besides, Lena is worried about me going to St. Petersburg alone. She doesn't want me to go to Kazan, she says it's boring.

Sergui the slut actually just called me. I'm so elated and other feelings. I didn't expect him to call me so it feel good.

Granny also told me it wasn't worth going to Kazan because it was hard enough to be acclimated to Moscow and let's face it, Kazan is the boonies.

So I spent the night at Vlady's and his parents were wonderful, but he kept saying "I bet if I met your dad, he would be wonderful too." It took me until now to let it sink in and then I understood that they are awful to him. They can't accept that he is gay and that's just the way life is going to be.

Lena met me at Sportivnaya and we bought her an iron and a chinik for Ba. But I really think it's for Lena and I reluctantly bought a Russell long sleeve T-shirt, I didn't want it until I thought of Andy wearing it and that's why I bought it.

Lena and I were hungry and we went to Patio Pizza and on a quest for Cuban Cigars. I found an old Leica camera from W.W.II with Nazi emblems on them. It really freaked me out. I want it so fucking bad. I am sitting here waiting for Mom to call me.

Lena... I forgot. I'm very sleepy now. Goodnight.

July 31

Sorry I haven't written but I have been very busy! I spent the night at Vlady's on Sunday and Lena thinks we are fucking. She doesn't understand the cultural thing. Oh well. So I was late for my exams on Monday because Vlad wanted me to write down all the words to Gangster's Paradise. Of coarse everyone thought I was late for other reasons, but that's OK with me. I was 2 hours late, but still I managed 2 Cs and a B so I am not upset.

I came home, drank more champagne (we had a "ceremony") and Lena gave me the third degree and then I fell asleep and slept until midnight and then until 7 and I woke up and I know I have strep throat so I went to the American Medical Center and they wanted $195 just to see me so, I was like, FUCK IT, Melissa has lived with strep before and then Lena had some antibiotics (I DO NOT understand why she found it necessary to take mine) so I feel better today.

Yesterday I spent the day at the Armory, and it was amazing. I'm sick of hearing how Russia has no money, all they need to do is hock a diamond or two. I could barf. They just need to get their shit together. Lena wanted me to spend the day at home, but I am going to go to the Mayakovsky Museum and tonight I leave for St. Petersburg!

Some artist that painted my picture and when I hugged him to thank him, he rubbed his pelvis up against me.






Wild beasts at the Zoo




Snow Leopard



Yeltsin on NTV
in Nanette's
Dorm Room





All in the name of Jesus






Nanette at the
American Bar and



Announcement for the American Bar and Grill






Some Pretty Building near the Margarita





Margarita Door






Period Soldier

Little Girl

Baby Steps


Ivan The


Peter the First's cabin

Church of the Ascension

Icons inside the Church


Preacher performing a baptism





Formaldehyde anyone?



I touched a Micky butt




Metro Station,
I think




Inside the Kremlin

Mary and Jesus


Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

This used to be a horse barn and now it's a museum

















The Graves inside Russia are individual works of art... if you weren't a commoner.

Vladimir Ivanovitch


Grave of a Physicist


Someone famous


Grave of the man responsible for Chernobyl... he blew his brains out (that's the noble thing to do...right?)

Some Chemist's Grave





Milk truck






A poster in St. P's






A little girl's delight












A typical Russian Icon


















A church inside theKremlin













Some pretty building











Ode to Gogol's






House from the train






Hope in the Gulf of Finland








Me completely toasted