What an expedition Sochi was. But really, Sochi was less of a vacation and more of an expedition. A fantastic expedition that included hiking up mountains, swimming in waterfalls, gondola rides up Krasnaya Polyana (where they’re holding the winter Olympics in Sochi), fish hatchery, tea plantation, honey farm, and exploring the city of Sochi. In Sochi, I was a bundle of emotions. Everyone can tell you that. Unfortunately, I had reached the threshold of my patience. Seeing people every day for four months will take a toll on anyone. Sochi was a great place to relax, but I brought those emotions with me. Looking back on it, I wish I could have just let everything go and relaxed. Another emotional trigger was the destruction of nature on Krasnaya Polyana. Sadly, due to the Winter Olympics, the area has become a major construction site. It is absolutely disgusting how a completely new tourist area has been built (and is not finished), while the streets around Krasnaya Polyana have recently been torn up leaving residents infuriated at slow rate of construction. On the drive to Krasnaya Polyana, a new highway and railway is being built, IN THE RIVER (obviously both of those structures are above water thanks to support beams which are planted in the riverbed), meaning the river has been slightly rerouted due to construction.  All of this is due to the Olympics, and it makes me both angry and sad. I understand that Sochi has to undergo this construction in order to host the games, but I do not understand why another place was not chosen. Why would a place that can barely hold the number of tourists be chosen for the games? I’m not sure anyone can answer that for me.  I can say that I am grateful for some of the construction, due to the fact that the gondola ride enabled me to see the extremely gorgeous mountains from an unbelievable view. The view was absolutely breathtaking. I may actually say that Krasnaya Polyana is more beautiful than the Rocky Mountains.

I wish I would have appreciated the excursions more and in addition, would have understood more. I realized, yet again, that my vocabulary is very, very small. I also wish that this trip would have come sooner in the semester, because the time I spent with my tutor Nastya was great! I want more time to get to know her better, which I obviously should have done already. I told you I was a bundle of emotion. Nastya and I are similar in the sense that we are both very curious about life and other people. We want very different things and the same things in life. Our favorite color is the same, but unlike me, she does not want a tattoo.   She keeps telling me that I’m young and therefore I can keep experimenting with my hair color and length, but she’s not old and could do the same.  Actually here’s the silly part, by Russian standards, Nastya is old enough to already be married and have at least 2 children.  However, Nastya has decided that she does not want to rush into marriage, which is a perfectly acceptable thing to do. In Russia, waiting for marriage is taboo.  I still cannot imagine being married and already having a child. I would not have been able to study abroad! I really hope that Nastya gets the chance to visit different countries like she hopes to.  Exploring different cultures leads to a fuller life, at least that’s what I’ve experienced.

All in all, Sochi was great! Now it’s time to enjoy my last few days in Vladimir.


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