Students’ life in personal extracts presented to us by one of our students.
A Normal Day, 30 Nov 2004, 11.20pm (Moscow time)
A totally normal day has passed. I have been to school and I have escaped from both my cold and my “weekly” swimming. I would dare calling it “quite successful”. Maybe it would interest you to know how one of these entirely normal days look? I will make an attempt to describe these normal days.
Since school always begins at 10am, my alarm-clock starts its attempts to wake me at 08.40am. Before this, I am usually waked up by my roommate’s wakeup-call at eight o’clock. The problem is he rarely answers it.
Well, when my mobile phone (that serves as clock) starts ringing I have the possibility to sleep for at least ten more minutes. But to get in time to the university I cannot sleep more then these ten extra minutes. With some luck and a show of “mental discipline” I get up and make myself more respectable. As usual, I try to make all morning routines as regular as possible. If I succeed with this, I can manage the morning half-sleeping, but still get through it at reasonable speed.
Therefore a normal morning looks like: up — towel — shower — make dry — dress — check contents of my bag (at this point I have to be more or less awake) — check contents of my pockets (money, mobile phone, student ID, passport, keys) — winter clothes — go out of door. Unfortunately at least one of these steps takes more time than calculated.
Usually I meet up with some friends on the way and we go together to the metro. The walk takes maybe one or two minutes, we go down the escalator and onto the platform, to the left-hand side. If we are unlucky we have to wait an unbearable 45 seconds (or thereabout) for the next train. But only if we get down so unfortunate, we see a train leave as we arrive. The morning traffic is very busy…
When I get off the train three stations away, I usually go to a little “bakery”. There I buy a round bread called “lepjoshka”. It resembles pita-bread and is filled with chicken or ham + cheese. Perfect on-the-fly-breakfast and very cheap (with Swedish standards). When I get to the Centre, I have just finished my breakfast. This will be about ten minutes later. The whole journey, door to door, takes just less than half an hour. A perfectly normal day, I arrive at the same time as the bell rings. This would mean I am roughly ten minutes late according to GMT. No worries, the teacher is almost always fifteen or twenty minutes late.
The school-day goes on until three o’clock, divided into three lessons. We have a shorter break and a lunch-break. Both are spent in the “stolovaja” (canteen). This place is marginally cheaper than other places in Moscow. Because of this, they seem to think they can ignore most of the responsibility for quality and good, humanly service. We have a lady in the coffee-bar that never (ever) smiles and a dear lady that shouts all prices at you when you come to pay for your lunch. Although there is a big sign outside that says the canteen does not serve anyone but students during lunch-breaks, there are always some military recruits or police officers present. This gives the final touch to this place, together with the “economical-looking” plastic flowers and table-cloths.
I still like the place, because it gives me a warm meal a day, I do not have to prepare myself.
The menu for lunch actually varies from time to time. Some of the things you always find there are pommes frites (seldom unburnt) and some kind of soup. They always serve one or two kinds of meat and maybe something made out of fish. In addition to this, they give you a selection of salads. I would recommend you not to try anything with ham or with “mayonnaise”. I have noticed it gets bad quickly (or maybe during the days it stays there?).
When my day at the Centre is over I collect my things get my coat and leave either for home, or to a nearby supermarket.
The supermarket is nothing special, very international. It is called “Ostrov” (Island) and has most things students need. Beer, prefab-food, chilli-sauces, yoghurt and many other essential things.
There are two characteristics worth mentioning.
They play music while you walk around in there, which is nice enough, except the fact they cut the music off quite often to play their own trademark-tune. This tune happens to be the kind that sticks in your head for a long time. This does not mean it is good, it just sticks. I am sure they have rigged the place with some kind of subsonic advertisement-system…
The other characteristic of this supermarket and all other shops of the same firm is that they have a contract with a travel-agency. This means there are small “corner-shops” with posters of warm places and people that are more than willing to sell you any kind of travel-tickets you could think of. I was in contact with them a while back. Nice and helpful people. They were actually very honest, they “took care of” 13,000 rubles for me for a while, since I thought I would be going to Egypt. Unfortunately I could not go, but I got the sum back down to the last ruble.
After shopping and if I cannot think of anything else that would be fun to do, I go home. The journey is almost the same as the morning one, with one significant difference. I may have to wait a whole minute or two for the train in the metro. The morning rush is over and things have usually calmed down.
I am not sure how I do it, but I am seldom back home until maybe six or seven in the evening. I may go and visit some friends or take a trip to town. In town there is always something to do; a restaurant to visit, a shop to check out, a street to look at. Moscow is big. A bit chaotic. But quite “enjoyfull”.