20th Century Life

Now that the complaints are beginning to stack up about the lacking amount of blog posts over the last week or so, I have at long last decided to write a new post. As it stands, I have homework due in tomorrow that I am yet to start and I’m already quite tired, so if you are one of the few inconsiderate people who have driven me to do this then please feel considerably dissatisfied with yourself.

One of the reasons that this has been a long time coming is the consistent effort that has had to go into trying to drag our apartment into the 21st century. After two and a half weeks, I now not only know the Russian word for oven backwards, we might even be getting a new one. I say might because as will become apparent, nothing is ever straightforward with our flat. As our accommodation is sorted out by the school, we have a lovely lady called Marina who sorts out everything to do with our house. Max, Robin and I first asked her for a new oven in our first week at Liden and Denz to which her answer was ‘it’s not possible.’ When we asked further as to why it wasn’t possible to get a working oven, the explanation we received was yet again ‘because it isn’t possible.’ This then became a theme at school, whenever one of us would bump into Marina we’d politely inquire once more about potentially getting a new oven to get the same answer once again….until last Wednesday morning. Beaming, Marina told us that we could expect a new oven by the end of next week.

It was here that the problems seemingly began. Max and I decided to push our luck and inquire about our bed situation – both of our beds are sofa beds and seem to develop a huge split down the middle about 3 hours after you go to sleep – between the mosquitoes (yes I am being serious – there are millions) and trying to sleep on a bed that seems to part like the Red Sea every night I am yet to get an unbroken night of sleep! After asking if there was anything that could be done to sort it we got a non-committal shrug of the shoulders and we thought that was the end of the matter. Two days later Marina came up to us and triumphantly announced that Max’s bed had been fixed, but mine hadn’t. I can only presume that this is either as a result of her intense disliking of my oven requests or my appalling efforts at speaking Russian to her, as Max’s bed is exactly the same as mine, and apparently it ‘only took five minutes to fix.’ The matter didn’t end there however. As much as I felt aggrieved at my situation I could only imagine Robin’s annoyance when two days later he was ill at home whilst we were in school. The landlady came round and took his bed away, not to be replaced and now he has to make do with a sofa bed which is worse than ours!

After the bed debacle the next issue to strike the apartment was the kitchen sink refusing to drain. No problem we thought – we’ll just wash up in the bath – how bad can it get? Apparently it can get a lot worse. When your kitchen sink is refusing to drain (and you have tried all the normal solutions like poking something long and thin down the plughole) don’t use your washing machine. Apparently it floods your kitchen and leaves your clothes sitting in the machine swimming in dirty water. Which to be perfectly honest isn’t that much worse than they were before….

All these problems combined with slight illness and a severe lack of sleep are slightly, but not completely, demoralising – we’ve heard from a couple of friends who are also in Russia, and our dramas pale into insignificance when compared with this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgziK2jVrwQ (well worth a watch). 10 Kolomenskaya suddenly seems like a palace! Now only if our new oven could turn up sometime soon…..