Thursday, April 18, 2013

Gate 9 for Moscow

I'm at the terminal – Gate 9. I'll be boarding my flight for Russia in 35 minutes.

My “pangs of anxiety and nervousness” came when I was waiting for my first subway. They disappeared after the TSA asked me for my passport and boarding pass. My head is still buzzing, but I feel positive and good (even though my ankle did just twist 22 minutes ago).

Everything went smoothly.

I departed Derek's at 10:13 AM and by 11:43 AM I had my boarding pass and was heading into the security check points. When I got in the AeroFlot line to check-in my bag (I have to because I have one bottle of facewash that is larger than 3 oz), I was immediately reminded of how I won't fit in in Russia (and that's ok). I will stick out. I do not, by any means, look Russian. Russian was thrown around and my ears tried to search for a word I might know. One couple got in line and I was able to immediately identify that they weren't Russian. It was something between their skin tone and their eye shape. Russians have such a distinct look to them.

Someone halfway down the line was checking passports and when she got to mine, she pulled me aside. “Are you travelling alone?” “Yeah.” “Come here,” she said as she opened up the gate band and flagged me through. I'm still not sure what that was about other than the fact that I wasn't Russian.... at least I got my ticket, no questions asked. Perhaps she wanted to take a closer look at my visa to make sure I could go all the way through.

TSA took longer than at Seattle.
Welcome to JFK Terminal 1.

It was on this day, the 17th, in history that I arrived in Alaska.
It is on this day that I depart on yet another realm of unknowns and uncontrollable variables. The most basic form of communication, speech, may possibly be useless to me in a bounty of circumstances. It is my job to adapt, not theirs.

It is my job to keep my mind open...

I want to change that phrase.

I will for myself to keep my mind open.
I will for myself to learn Russian.
I will for myself to connect with human beings on different and new levels.
I will for myself to not eat food that will make me feel ill.
I will for myself to experience peace each day.
I will for myself to make safety a priority.
I will for myself to grow.
I will for myself to pursue wisdom.

What do I expect from Russia? Russian language. Russian food. Russian toilets. Russian babies.

Other than my blogging in English, I am going to attempt to isolate and immerse myself in the Russian language. I understand I may end up hearing a lot of English in Moscow and I'll be more open then. But, once I get to Vologda, I have a desire to cut out the English. Luckily, I don't think either of the families I will be staying with speak much English.

I wonder if, at some point, I'll settle into a rhythm abroad. Will Russia be a transition or someplace to root for a bit?

My last meal in America was smoked herring with jalapeño hummus and greens in a whole wheat tortilla.

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