Saturday, October 29, 2011

Guest Post!...Fresh-Season

Please enjoy another guest post today! So happy to have Leanne on my blog, she has done so many cool things and is going to tell you all about one of them! Go check out her blog when you are done reading! : )

Hi everyone! *waves* I'm Leanne and I own the blog, Fresh-Season.com!
I am super excited to be writing a guest post for Kelli here at Daily Polkadots. Actually, I'm going to let you in on a little secret: this is only my second guest post ever {and I've been blogging for 12 years now...ouch!}. Sooo, hopefully I be able to keep you guys a little entertained with this post ;)
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Monday, June 27, 2011 at 7:20AM. My blackberry alarm goes off. Immediately, my stomach does a flip {actually, more like a somersault}. The boyfriend-- who is next to me-- gives me an extra big hug as my 1 year old boxer pup lets out a yawn.
"I'm going to miss you...We're going to miss you" he tells me. "I know, Ken. I just can't think about it right now or I'll cry."
I was only home, in Ottawa, for six hours. I just got back from a 10 day trip in Florida. There were traces of sand still on my sandals. But I had to get up early, wipe the sand off, wash my clothes and pack a new set of clothes. I was leaving the country again. This time, I was going a little farther, a little longer, and by myself.
That Monday, I gave the boyfriend and my dog one last kiss. Butterflies were dancing in my stomach and at times, it was a little difficult to breath {and suck in my tears at the same time}. That Monday, I left Canada and headed off to the Russian Federation for two months.
Why?
Well, two months earlier, I received a letter from my department at school {I'm doing my M.A in European and Russian Studies}. I was being funded to spend the summer in Saint Petersburg, Russia to study Russian {at the time, I already had a year under my belt} and conduct research for my thesis. It was super hard leaving my boyfriend, my dog, and apartment behind... but this to me, was a dream. I study politics and conflict in the country...so common, of course I wanted to visit!
If I had to sum my trip up in one word, it would be: crazy! Russian society is completely different than ours in the West. The roads were chaotic. The buildings were entirely Soviet. The streets were full of old women selling fruits and flowers. Old men were stumbling around, drunk. Russian militia prowled the busy street, Nevsky Prospect. I only heard Russian, no English. No one smiled. Actually, I had several women roll their eyes at me when they first realized I spoke English. From then on, I kept my mouth shut and quietly observed what was once the center of the Soviet Union.
Over the next two months, I would learn that living in Russia would be both good and bad. I was delighted when I started to understand the language more. I began to respond to the locals in Russian. I started to figure what to eat and where to go. I visited the biggest museums in the country, stood where the Russian tsars lived, and witnessed a society so very different from ours.
I stepped out of my comfort zone.
One day, I decided to book a cheap flight to Moscow-- the capital. My Canadian friend Anna was living there and I wanted to see her {and of course, Red Square!}. I was a little hesitant. My father warned me not to go by myself.
In Russia, planes crash all of the time {mostly because they use out-of-date Soviet aircrafts}. Ships sink. Terrorist attacks happen frequently. I knew all of this too well since that's what I study. I study these terrorist attacks, and I know very well that Russia has a huge internal threat in the North Caucasus region.
But I booked the flight anyway.
My flight to Moscow was pretty quick {a little over a hour}, but if I said I was completely calm and not worried, I would be lying. I was extremely nervous. The plane was the smallest plane I ever seen. You could tell it was an older aircraft.
I buckled my seat belt and took a deep breath. Everything was going to be just fine. I then looked around at the other passengers. One old lady started to bless herself repeatedly. Oh, how my stomach sank at that very moment. I took another deep breath and closed my eyes. The plane took off. It was pretty rocky, and yes, I was super nervous. I'm pretty sure my heart was about to burst when I noticed 4-5 passengers texting on their cell phone! YES. TEXTING. While we were in the air! *Dies*
But, I made it...without any incident- thank God. I ended up staying with my friend Anna and her cousin and explored Moscow the whole weekend... I loved it! It was such an amazing experience {you can read about my trip to Moscow here and here}.
I'm really glad I went to Russia. Sure, there were bad days were I felt so isolated and wanted to run back home to my comfort zone. It happens-- that's life. But it was definitely an amazing and crazy experience!
“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” - Mark Jenkins
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Leanne is a M.A student in Ottawa, Canada and blogs regularly on Fresh-Season.com. She enjoys traveling and has lived in Europe twice in the last three years. Leanne also likes to play around with make-up, shop, and paint her nails while reading the BBC News. You can follow her on Twitter here.

1 comment:

  1. Awww, thank you for posting and having me as a guest blogger on Daily Polka dots Kelli! <3

    ReplyDelete

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