Worth has already written about the adjustments to life over here—I just wanted to add my two cents.
Conducting business transactions in rubles is bizarre because they don’t amount to anything until you get them in increments of about thirty. Thirty-five rubles are only worth a dollar. I should just be able to rationally convert the numbers over in my head, but it really does feel different paying for everything on such an inflated scale. Anytime I buy some small necessity I feel like I’m indulging myself—and when we actually do indulge in something I can’t help but feel kind of guilty afterwards. In my mind 700 rubles to see Star Trek will never cease to be extravagant.
Not to worry though—these anxieties over spending money will soon be compensated by the thrill of getting paid in rubles. Yes I have found myself a rather lucrative part-time job (about four hours a week) teaching English. I don’t have any of the details yet—except that it pays over five-hundred rubles an hour. One of the assistant directors of the program is arranging me an interview and I should get started soon. I’m technically not supposed to work here but they’ve been hiring foreign exchange students to teach English classes for years. Everything is legal as long as it’s unofficial. I show up and “volunteer” for four hours and they make me a present of two thousand rubles cash afterwards. Again, two thousand rubles isn’t really that much—but it doesn’t matter because there are TWO THOUSAND of them.