Monday, January 28, 2008

Novosibirsk - Day 6

Today was a very good day! I woke up at 7am and got ready to meet Semyon at the Gorodok for breakfast before going to work. We had a hard time ordering what we wanted; apparently they don't have many options at 9:30am. I got eggs, tomatoes, beans, and ham... very tasty! We talked about farm living in America and some of the differences between Russian city-living vs. American city-living. All in all, we had a very enjoyable breakfast and talked about lots of stuff.

We got to work at 10:30 and we all had our scrum meetings. Every other Monday is very busy at both Data Dynamics and DataWorks. Our teams are setup into 2 week sprints and it allows us to get together and discuss the progress of last sprint and plan what will be accomplished next sprint. It is a very nice way of getting things accomplished in a reasonable amount of time; everybody seems to like it.

Around 2pm, the team (Maxim, Konstantin, Oleg, Ivan, Julia, and myself) went to "East and West" restaurant in the Trade Center for lunch. There are two "East and West" restaurants; one on the top floor of the Trade Center and one on the bottom floor. The one on the bottom floor is the "Cafe" portion of it and it is where Scott and I "shot the shit" and where I was unable to eat the breakfast that Konstantin bought me before our skiing trip. Today we ate at the one upstairs (the restaurant portion), and I ordered spaghetti (pronounced the same in Russian), chicken soup (no where near the same pronunciation), and a Coke (of course this sounds the same everywhere). The spaghetti actually had noodles, shreds of cheese and ketchup of all things in the middle of the noodles... no marinara sauce.(?) It was actually quite good. We had a good time at the restaurant and I taught them all what "sissy" meant; they claimed that they will say "good morning sissy's" from now on when they arrive at work. I'm anxious to try this tomorrow morning. :)

After lunch, we went back to the office and worked some more. Did I mention already that it is so great to be in the same room with these guys. We all collaborated on various things and was able to use the white board to explain things clearly. It allows me to ask questions, because many times I'm not exactly sure how things work until I see them in boxes and lines organized on a drawing surface. Even if you ask my coworkers in the states, this is how I see things in my head, so it's much easier (maybe "quicker") for me to see them this way physically in the first place. Anyway, we decided to make a needed change on the project we are working on and it was nice for me to see it in all it's glory in dry-erase marker before any code was written.

After work, Konstantin gave me a ride home and I was able to meet up with my girls on Skype. Jennifer was taking Daizi to the doctor today because she has a very high fever and she hasn't been able to break it for the last couple of days. I was able to see that she didn't feel so good. She used to get so excited to see me on the webcam, but tonight she didn't want to have anything to do with me and she looked very pale. It was nice to see Lizzie and Jazzy though. I talked to them while they ate their breakfast and told them about some of the cool things I saw today. Toward the end of the conversation, Jennifer's mom came over and I was able to talk to her on Skype for a bit. She is very non-techie, so Jen thought she might like to see me on the computer just to blow her mind. I think it worked. :)

After meeting with my family, I got some chores done around the flat and made myself a sandwich... boy was this adventurous. I had a lot of food sitting around that I needed to get rid of. I had a full loaf of bread that was starting to grow green fuzzies and a block of cheese that was getting old and forming various hard spots from exposure to the air. I had to something with them before pitching them, so I decided to try and make a grilled cheese sandwich. It was not like making a grilled cheese sandwich in America. I had to cut the bread into slices with a steak knife (avoiding patches of fuzz), then I had to cut slivers of frozen butter using the same steak knife and strategically place it on the bread and dice it up into tiny blocks before trying to smash it into the bread. I'm not sure why the butter is frozen...(?) It's just how you buy it over here I guess. Once I got the butter blotched onto these two pieces of fuzzy bread, I used the same knife and cut of little slivers of cheese and placed them aside so that I could put them on the bread once in the pan.

Now that I was prepped, I got the burners hot and threw my bread (butter side down) on the skillet and it let out an evil hiss that probably woke the neighbors. The skillet immediately filled up with liquid... apparently I used waaaaay too much frozen butter. No problem, I'll just sop my bread around and let it soak in. I threw the slivers of cheese onto the bread and decided it might be cool to have some ham in there too, so I got some ham and threw on top of the cheese, then topped it off with the other piece of "butter logged bread". I waited for about a minute and flipped it. Another roaring hiss shrieked throughout the forest of Novosibirsk while all the townspeople knew that the crazy American was concocting something delicious. A few more flips and turns and I was done. I looked at my masterpiece and was pretty excited to try it out. It looked pretty good!

I took a bite and my eyes almost popped out of my head... Damn, that's a lot of butter! I force-fed my self 2 or three more bites and threw it in the trash. At this point, I was done being adventurous, so I grabbed a banana, some wafers, and a glass of orange juice and considered myself fed. The flat was still in a haze of smoke from the burning butter residue all over the skillet. My eyes were stinging for almost an hour afterwards and my nose was constantly reminded of my grilled cheese disaster.

Before going to bed, I was able to get a few things done on the computer and went to bed rather early; around 10pm.

Russian Facts
  • There are many Institutes around here, but they are not part of a "school" per se. They are ran by the local government and professors are paid by the government (if I remember correctly).
  • Gorodok is actually short for Academia Gorodok. People use Gorodok as the shortened name. I compared this to how we say OSU Buckeyes and Buckeyes. Maybe that's totally not the same though... I don't know? O! H! _? _?
  • Not many planes fly over head here. Scott pointed out a plane in the sky the other day and stated that it's not very often that you see this since Novosibirsk is so remote. In America, you can look up and see up to n planes in the sky at any time of the day.
  • You buy frozen butter and must go to school to figure out how to use it apparently. Just kidding, I'm currently thawing it out in the refrigerator and I'll try to use it again before giving up so easily.
  • Some people claim that Russia is not a safe place. However, I see so many children (ages 5 - 10 even) at the Trade Center running around with no parents. The people around here look after these kids, and take care of them. You wouldn't see this in America; parents don't let their children run around anywhere by themselves at this age for fear that someone would hurt them. Which country is really safer? Think about it...
That's all I have for today, tune in tomorrow and see what I get myself into... I'm going to figure out their whole trash system (mine is piling up quickly), and I need to exchange some American money for Russian money. This may prove to be adventurous, we'll see. I'll also try to make a movie of this whole old school / high-tech locking system at my flat. I'm finding it more and more frustrating as I enter and leave the flat. 'Til then, pah-kah!

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

This is from the lil wifey, Lucas, I would've eaten your experimental grilled cheese!!! Hang in there and yes, let the butter sit out for a day, silly. We love you and miss you're smiley face!!! Love, Mommy Jen