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  2. The Diary (22 June 1994 - 13 July 1994)
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6 July 1994 and 7 July 1994

Olga has a cold. She sounds terrible. She has that wretched croaking voice that you get with a cold that makes you sound 20 times worse than you really are.

Today we went to an amusement park. It seemed really bizarre, sort of out of place, like it didn't belong there. I don't know why, that was just my impression.

There weren't very many people there, maybe 50. Not being an amusement park person, I only went on one ride. Melanie and Olga went too. It was a fast roller coaster ride, around and around on a bumpy track. Melanie screamed "Easy! Easy!" the whole time, which is what we tell her when she's running too fast or hitting too hard. Melanie's favorite ride was this little carousel thing. She went on it twice. The second time she went on it, she rode in a little car. She turned the steering wheel around and had this expression like: "I'm cool, I drive a car."

The best thing about the amusement park was the ice cream. I got a hazelnut, mmm, it was good! I think I'll never forget that hazelnut ice cream.


Today, Olga's friend and Melanie's godmother, Larisa, drove with Olga and me to a hotel by the Finnish Bay in the woods. The woods were perfect: tall, straight pine trees, ferns, grasses and flowers, and through the green vegetation, you could see the flat, blue expanse of the bay. Unfortunately, we didn't get to visit any of these. Instead we went to a party.

The party was for a person named Uri, a friend of Larisa and Olga's, who was today one year older than however old he was before. At the part were also his friend Sasha (quite a popular name in Russia), and four other friends, one man and three women, to whom I wasn't formally introduced.

This is what I learned about Russian birthday parties, and parties in general:

  1. There is an excessive amount of food. And the host seemst to want to give it all to me. I didn't think I looked that underfed (and I certainly am not, under any circumstances, suffering from malnutrition), but everyone in Russia is trying to stuff food down my throat.

  2. There is plenty of vodka. No, I didn't have any, but everyone else did. But let me say that no one overdid it. They all drank reasonable amounts, and were adults.23
  3. There is lots of dancing. All throughout the dinner, whenever there is a song someone likes, couples jump up and dance to the music on the radio. Then they sit down and eat some more.
  4. There is lots of conversation (from which I was mostly excluded, because I don't speak Russian). Because of this, I was pretty bored throughout the party. The language barrier is probably the biggest and hardest to break down.

There was an excellent home made cake for dessert, which I couldn't fully enjoy because of my overstuffed stomach.

I spent the night in the hotel, which wasn't really the vacation kind, but the live-in kind.

23 Such. A. Prude.

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