Despite the lack of immediate evidence, I've been informed that my mother reads Study Abroadovich. I do not doubt that this is true, however, because I can hear her through my telepathic powers sitting at home, in her bed, with a laptop of some kind reading some recent post on here and exclaiming, "Yes, that's all very interesting, but what the crap are you DOING there?!" My mom is such a character.
So I've noticed that I've never actually explained what it is we do all day here in the capital city. Allow me to shed some light. We live here with a host "family" which is actually an older woman who cooks breakfast and dinner for us everyday. There are roughly 20 or so of us in the group from BYU, three married couples including us and the rest singles. One wife in one of the other couples has never spoken Russian before, and is here accompanying her husband of one month as he works at an internship. Come to think of it, she generally doesn't talk much at all, in either language.
The BYU group has been divided up into two and a half groups, so to speak. First, there is the "beginners" group. This group consists mostly of girls, with one guy, and they are all people who have been learning Russian in school like normal students. They've had 4 semesters of college-level Russian language and are on the study abroad as it is a requirement to receive a degree in Russian Language or Linguistics and those types of majors. This group meets 4 times a week for about 4 hours each time with a couple teachers.
The second group consists almost entirely of return missionaries. One girl (the wife in the other married couple, and the only other girl other than Paige in this group) has just been learning Russian for a while and lived in Kiev for 5 months recently. This is the "advanced" group, and the majority of this group has internships. This means they've all been going to interviews since we got here and have all found places to work as unpaid employees in order to put fancy things on their resumes. They are all (except one guy other than me) majoring in boring things like International Law and Marketing and stuff. This group has class 2 days a week, Wednesday and Friday with a teacher named Irina. We mostly talk about business, modern cities, politics, and other modern issues that are honestly kinda boring. We also get to read some short stories by Russian authors since Paige requested some literature at the start of classes.
The half-group is made up of those members of the advanced group who are not doing internships. There are 5 of us, Paige and I, the other advanced couple, and another guy. In order to keep us from going insane with free time and help us get our money's worth of instruction, we all get an extra day of class on Thursdays with a different teacher named Tatyana. This is the best class all week because Tatyana is a good teacher and we talk about things like life, families, how to suck less when speaking Russian, and food.
Classes last for 3 to 4 hours each day, from 9am until 12 or 1. On Wednesdays, the entire BYU group meets all together and a Russian history teacher teaches us in English about the history of Russia and the like. This class has started out slow, but it is picking up and some interesting things come out of it. I like it.
Church has been handled as such: We all got together at the start of the program and volunteered ourselves for different branches. The branch we attend is a little stacked, to be honest, as there are 5 of us there, but I suspect that's because it's a brand new branch (2 months old) and it only meets for 2 hours.
The remaining 3 or so days of absolutely nothing as spent however we darn well please, which is pretty awesome. People get together, wander around Moscow, get lost, go buy stuff, eat at places, see things, get lost, and go buy stuff. Every other Saturday or so we have a planned, paid-for excursion somewhere to some sight in or around the city. The first excursion was a bus tour of center Moscow and it was rainy and really cold and no one wanted to get out of the bus. The second excursion was yesterday, we went to the Tsaritsino, which was Catherine the Great's Moscow palace that she never used. I have another one of my dissertation posts planned around that particular experience. I think I saw literally 20 brides within 30 minutes wandering around the palace grounds, though. It put Salt Lake City's Temple Square to shame in that regard.
While not as entertaining or riveting as my usual posts (haha, who am I kidding?), I hope that gives you all a little context as to what the crud is going on. There is actually some structure to what we're doing here, and we are actually going to school and getting credits and the like.