I wonder sometimes how someone wins the lottery of being born in a rich country? Since coming to Russia, I am in contact with people from all over the world, mostly third world countries. We are all recipients of the scholarship giving by Russia, but there are some inequalities. As I am considered poor in Canada, I am seen as rich here. Ever since I got here, I am marvelled by the cheaper prices here. For example, the day I left home, I went to eat lunch with my mom, cousin, and aunt in a fast-food restaurant. Nothing fancy, just some chicken. We ordered the lunch special which included the drink. Total price: 50$ (for my mom and I). Yesterday, I went to a nice Italian restaurant. I was with two friends: one from Tajikistan and the other one from Zambia. Here in Russia, the bill is never split, they just bring one. In this case, it was ok, I had already planned to pay for all of us. We ate some nice pasta with drinks, total cost: 27$ for all three. The Tajik guy wanted to know why I insisted on paying. A discussion came as for me coming from a rich country, everything was much more affordable and that it was my pleasure to invite them.
Russia is paying for our tuition, but coming from Canada or Colombia, we had to pay for our flight here as the African, their flight is paid. Our stipend is like $22 per month, and I am assuming that African get a bit more. I choose to pay for a room in the hotel part of the dorms. I have this good size room with a big window for $70 CAD per month (everything included: electricity, Internet, heating). As for others from poorer countries, they share their room for $15 per month, but not as nice as ours. We have a housekeeper cleaning from Monday through Friday and laundry service for our bedsheets. I share my bathroom and shower with one person and the kitchen amongst 4 people.
I choose to come here, most of them didn’t as there is not much future for them in their countries. They must learn a new language and did with the cold weather. It is very cold. Usually around -20oC and winter hasn’t started yet officially not until Dec 21.
I always get asked why I came here; they are baffle that a Canadian would even consider coming to Russia. Every time, I meet someone new, it’s the first question. When I was in Central Asia, I’d always get asked if I was married with kids.
I got a 17-year-old Colombian girl staying in the room next door to mine. I have been speaking Spanish every day since she’s arrived with her mom who is leaving tomorrow, back to her country. They wanted to introduce me to a Mexican guy, I was like, I didn’t come to Russia to date a Latino.
I still haven’t met my colleague from the master as all classes have been online. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll get to meet them. For sure, Dec 9 as the professor asked to join the class for the project’s presentations.
Still struggling with the darkness, can’t seem to sleep earlier than midnight, sometimes, 4am. I’m no longer jetlag, but I wake up late as the sun doesn’t come up until 10am. It’s very strange. At 3pm, it feels like it’s 8pm.
I have so many assignments due at the end of the months, it’s a bit / a lot of stress. Luckily, the professors are all very flexible for handing them in late.