I finally gave up and bought myself an Internet modem today– it’s a flash drive thingy that gives me Internet access through a cell phone network. The Internet that I get for free from the university works fine, except when it doesn’t. There have been three or four days so far when it just hasn’t connected at all, and then yesterday, it connected, but would only let me access the homepage of a different university and my university email account, which is totally useless. Everything else was blocked, including Google and the Fulbright website. I just do not understand.
I don’t mind being without facebook and email for a couple of days, but I need access to YouTube to do my job, which includes finding videos to show my students. Fortunately, today, I was able to use a video I already had downloaded on my computer (a vlog by Dan Brown about the drinking age in America–it went over really well!), but I resolved that if the Internet still wasn’t working when I got back from work [read: when I woke up from my nap after four hours of classes starting in the dark of 8:20 am] I would go and buy myself a modem.
I crawled out of bed and to my computer, to a still-blocked Google, pulled on my big girl boots, and set off for Evroset’, the place where I got my cell phone with Elena on my first day here. “Here may one buy a flash drive with which to connect to the Internet?” is how my exchange began. After showing the girl behind the counter my passport, my visa, and my registration (twice), and after a phone call to a co-worker of hers (“There’s a girl here who wants to buy a modem, but the thing is, she’s a foreigner.”), and after I asked three times how I was supposed to pay for the next month, and after I got a 20 ruble discount because she just didn’t have the right change in her drawer, I left the store successful!
As I stood at the counter, waiting patiently while she filled everything out, I noticed a not totally unpleasant smokey smell drifting into the store. When I left, I realized that someone had thrown a cigarette butt into the metal garbage can outside the door and the trash was burning. This is the world I’m living in.