Wednesday, April 29, 2015

If you read back through some previous posts (here and here), you'll know that I have a deep loathing for gymnastics class. However my loathing as deep as the ocean has become loathing only as deep as an in-ground swimming pool.

Recently my ballet/gymnastics teacher has been allowing girls in my class to take the gymnastics class before ours with the option to skip our original class or take both. Obviously I jumped on the idea of taking an earlier class and skipping the second. But as time has been going on and I've gotten stronger, most of the exercises that used to kill me, aren't too bad anymore. It's my goal to come back to America "ripped".

Maybe if I come back with abs and really toned legs, the protein shake guy at our local Texas YMCA will stop telling me I need a protein shake and his phone number.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The academy is located in a small, lower income part of Moscow, called Frunzenskaya. If you look at a map of the Moscow Metro you'll see the red line, and almost all the way in the lower left corner is Frunzenskaya.

The roads in most Moscow neighborhoods are one way and so getting the academy is a challenge by car. It's in the middle of many tall apartment building and rather than street signs,  Russia displays street names on the sides of buildings. However Frunzenskaya is rich with trees often obstructing those signs. A few times I've been in a taxi and the driver had to let me out a few blocks away from the academy, simply because it's that hidden of a building and he couldn't find the right street to turn into. 
Any time we need groceries, the nearest Billa/Билла (basically the Russian version of Albertsons) is about a 5 minute walk away. And if you want to walk a tad farther the nearest Azbuka Bkusa/Азбука Вкуса (basically Russian Whole Foods) is also an option. But I usually just walk to Billa, because I've gotten so used to the exchange rate that spending more than the equivalent of 3 American dollars on an item is too expensive to me. In the bread section at Billa (for those of you who don't know me well, I love bread and basically all forms of carbs) you can buy this small loaf of what my friends and I call, Crack Bread. Because it's the most addictive thing you could ever taste. It's dark brown, just short of pumpernickel and covered in crushed nuts and seeds. It's so freakishly good. I wish I could bring some back to America but I'm not in the mood to violate customs.
In the opposite direction of the two grocery stores, is Gorky park (see previous posts) and in ANOTHER direction is the Frunzenskaya Metro Station and Starbucks. I head over to Starbucks about once a week. Mainly for wifi but also because they have the best carrot cake you've ever tasted. 
Just past the Metro Station is a park with a small, three animal zoo. Through the zoo is a restaurant called Black Market. Black Market specializes in brunch and the best waffles you could ever eat live there. These waffles are big and fluffy, covered in sliced bananas and strawberries. And for a finishing touch, tons and tons of whipped cream. It's a well deserved treat for a Sunday brunch after a long week of classes. 
And that was a long post, basically about the food I eat here in Frunzenskaya.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

For those of you who don't know, European ballet demands skinny dancers. Ballet dancers in general are some of the worlds thinnest people, but on this continent, it's a necessity. This summer at the Bolshoi Summer Intensive, I was told I was fat for the first time by a ballet teacher. And here, now that I'm actually in Russia, it doesn't stop.

A regular phrase that my ballet teacher tells us is "Надо худеть" (pronounced "Nada who deet") which directly translates to "need to lose weight". And this upcoming week it's only going to get more frequently said. On Friday we have what's called Weigh In. In February there was a schedule posted saying on which days each class would have to report to the nurses office.
We all have to arrive, post ballet class, in only our leotards and tights, hair down and teeth as clean as possible. Then the ever chipper nurses (see previous posts for the backstory on the relationship with the medical staff) call us in one at a time and we stand on their scale and then they measure our height. Back into the waiting room.
Another nurse calls you into a room and she examines your hair and nails for malnutrition. No matter how clean your hair is, she tells EVERYONE that they have dandruff and that they need to go to the drugstore and buy a certain shampoo. I'm beginning to think that she's selling shampoo advertisements. Back into the waiting room.
Then the "dentist" calls you into her room and has you lay in her chair in her dingy room. She takes the cleaning instruments that she used on one of your classmates only a few minutes previously and swishes them around in water before sticking them in your mouth. So while you're thinking about all the germs your tongue is coming in contact with she's rattling on about how you need to have a certain tooth pulled or how your tongue is slightly too close to your teeth or how you have too much salvia and you need to see a doctor. 
Once this is all said and done, the head nurse makes a nice little report for your teacher to read. Then the next day at ballet class she tells you that you need to lose more weight. Last semester when I weighed in at 53 kilograms (116.8 lbs), she said I still had to lose 4 more kilos (about 8 lbs).  I did lose quite a bit of weight with my illness last month, but I have gained much of that back...
So that being said, while this is arguably the world's best training school, it's the best for a reason. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

So, two weeks ago, I was in Switzerland. Yeah that happened.

    One of my best friends here, Olivia, had an audition in Zurich and her Mom (who might read this blog post at some point, so HIIII) offered to pay for me to go along with her so that she wouldn't be all alone in yet ANOTHER foreign country. 
     So Friday after ballet class we headed off by taxi to the airport and flew for 4 hours while watching Sixteen Candles and sewing pointe shoes. And eating the free Swiss chocolate offered to us by the flight crew.
      You see, aside from being in Switzerland and the fact that that's really cool, Olivia and I were really excited about sleeping in a real, big, soft bed and showering in an actual shower (the hotel shower was probably the best shower I've ever used too) and eating food that didn't come from the academy cafeteria. 
       So basically, aside from the hour we spent actually sightseeing, Olivia and I laid in the beds and watched Netflix. Basically the extent of our trip. Bad tourists.