Today was a great day. I woke up @ 9am and worked from home (aka: my flat). Nothing too exciting really... I was able to get some clothes washed and picked up a little, but mostly sat at my desk and worked. I drank water for breakfast and an afternoon snack. I was totally out of food and was anxious to head out the door for our trip to the pub / ballet, even if only to grab a bite to eat in route.
Around 3pm, Scott called and said he and Lena were at New York Pizza (aka: NYP - pronounced "neep"), which is literally right outside my flat. I met them there and ordered 2 slices of pepperoni pizza and a sprite. Lena asked me if I would like some help ordering my pizza, and this was very nice. I thought about it for a second and said... "no thanks, I think I got this." And headed toward the counter. Scott was excited to see me fail miserably at ordering my food, and I knew it. :) As I walked up to the counter, I held up two fingers and said "two. pepperoni. pizza.", because I knew that "pepperoni" and "pizza" were the same in Russian and (of course) my two fingers indicated that I needed two of these things. The guy said, "Ok, would you like anything to drink?". I said "Yeah!". :) I know that I lucked out. (Luc - 1 point, Scott - 0). Honestly, not many people in Akademgorodok speak English, but I happened to find one that did. He spoke very good English actually.
From the NYP, we headed to the Irish Pub in downtown Novosibirsk via Taxi. We got dropped off somewhere near the pub and went into a Levi's store. I was blown away at how much Levi's cost over here. There was a sign on the one stack that said "-80%" and I thought, "cool! sale!". I got over to them and saw that they had a 1,080 ruble price tag which is just over $40! You do the math for the actual price... Ok, relax... I'll do it, it would have cost 5,400 rubles or ~$220!!? We left.
The Irish Pub was pretty cool. It was laid out a bit like an old Irish pub, but not as cool as Claddagh's in Polaris (if you live near Columbus, go there sometime!). I (of course) ordered a pint of Guiness, mostly because that's the only thing you are supposed to order at an Irish pub (at least, that's how I was raised). Needless to say, it was very refreshing. From there, we went downstairs to another pub. This pub was an old Soviet Union pub with old remnants of maps and other pieces of Soviet history from the communist era. It's so unfortunate that I know nothing about "old school" Russia. Since my trip over here, I've really taken an interest in in though and would like to learn more about the history of this place ("this place" being Russia). I took a lot of picture and was very happy that we had ventured downstairs.
Ok, we were running late and had to chug our 2nd beer. We said our "spasibo's" and headed out the door. We got to the Ballet just in time. We literally checked out coats, and sat down and then the lights went dim. Perfect timing! Unfortunately I wasn't able to take my camera in this place. It was a beautiful opera house! Just like you see in old pictures from the "days of old". I really enjoyed the ballet; more so than I thought I would.
The show was called "Gissel" and was about a poor girl falling in love with a boy that lived near. But later she finds out that he was actually very wealthy and was engaged to the princess. When she found out, she died from a weak heart and then the second half was a bit confusing to me... Basically she danced around as a ghost near her grave site with the rich boy and then the curtains closed. I do not mean to do it any injustice by my description, but that is all I could really make of the second half. :)
Again, it was very entertaining and after this ballet, I can't wait to take my girls to a ballet. I can only imagine how much they would enjoy seeing "princesses" (aka: anybody wearing a pretty dress) and dancing around on stage. The whole time I was watching the ballet, I was thinking about how they would accept such a show, and it made me that much more excited to take them to one. The best part about it for me was the choreography and music. It was amazing to think about how much work goes into one of these things: the dancers have to know their parts, the stage crew has to setup all the props, the orchestra has to know exactly when to get loud, everything.
After the show, we got on a bus back to Akademgorodok and got off near Bellisimo's, which is an Italian restaurant squeezed between a Russian restaurant and a cafe. I spoke about this place on Day 10, but unfortunately it was closed... Moving on, we went to the Jelly Belly instead (I spoke about this place on Day 2 and Day 3). We drank Chai (aka: tea) and basically just relaxed. After we ate, I headed to the grocery and got some necessities (you know, more no-hassle yogurt, water, tissues, Tide (yes, I'm still fighting with this thing), and mandarin oranges).
By the time I got home, I was pretty well spent, but I was able to talk to my girls for a while before going to bed. Daizi was being a little pistol; Jennifer said that she's grown a molar in the back of her mouth, so she's been real cranky lately. I don't blame her! I would be cranky too. Lizzie has actually stayed home from school a couple of days because she's sick too. Of course Jazzy is sick as well, so Jennifer has been dealing with a house full of miserable kids. It probably doesn't make it any better when I tell her about all the cool places I've been and all the fun I'm having over here. Needless-to-say, I'm missing them all very badly, so I'm not totally disconnected from them.
The worst part for me is night time. It's so quiet in here (aside from my neighbors upstairs) and I'm not able to tuck my girls in, nor am I able to sleep next to my wife which is really eating at me. She's gonna have to pry me off of her with a crowbar when I get home. I was able to talk to them for about 45 minutes and tell them about the ballet. They showed me how small the "Daddy Chains" are getting, and we're all pretty excited that I'm coming home next week. We've agreed to have a nice "family dinner" when they pick me up on Tuesday... Man, I can't wait!!