This is how things work in Russia:
When I came back from Amsterdam on Friday, I am suppose to register, which basically informs Russia that I am here (I think). However, since I got back late in the evening, I would have to wait until the next business day to register. Normally, the next day would have been on Monday but in this case it was Sunday because of International Women’s Day. I forgot to take my passport to school that day but the lady at the registration office said that it was okay for me to come Monday morning to register. I made a mental note to bring my passport on Monday but I didn’t write it down in my planner. I wish I had because it would saved a lot of people time.
In yesterdays post I explained how I didn’t go to school because I woke up extremely late and I completely forgot that I had to register. My mental note was lost at some point and I had no reminders. So I went about my day and did homework and went to teach English at a place near my apartment. Later, around 10 or 11PM, I was moving some books on my desk and out peeked my passport.
Then, I gasped and sat down. I didn’t know what to do. The offices aren’t open late and I was worried. After, cursing for about a minute, I finally calmed down and decided to call the Resident Director of the program, Jarlath.I quickly explained everything in what I felt was a high pitched voice and, to be honest, I felt like a little girl that admitted that she made a mistake. He was very nice and told me to go talk to the people in the registration office before school started today.
After I hung up, I couldn’t focus anymore because I knew that I would most likely have to pay a $200 fine and/or leave the country for a few days. Also I could have ruined my chances of getting a Russian visa in the future or simply making it very difficult to obtain one. Of course, I was worried and nervous. I kept cursing and putting my head down on the table. All I wanted to do was kick myself in the butt for being so irresponsible. How did I let this happen? Where is my mind? I kept taking death breaths to calm myself down but it was all I could think about.
When I told my boyfriend about it, it didn’t seem to care or didn’t understand what a serious problem it was. I just wanted to tell someone and finally I found someone that made me feel better, my friend, Laika. She was so sweet and told me to just repeat to myself “Well, at least, I’m not an axe murderer.” That made me laugh and then I thought of my mantra, which I stole from Scarlet from Gone with the Wind “I’ll think about that tomorrow.”
Sometimes there is nothing you can do and you just simply have to wait. Worrying and thinking about all the possibilities doesn’t help the situation.
In the morning, I woke up late again, and I took like a 10 min shower. Then I gulped down breakfast and ran out the door. Quickly walked/ran to the metro station and ran down the escalator, which normally takes about 2-3 mins if you walk down. There was almost an accident and I almost fell. Not only would that have been embarrassing but also painful. When I reached the bottom, the metro had just left and I just wanted to curse. However, I didn’t because there were people around and I didn’t want to see like the crazy American. Luckily, the next metro passed fairly quickly and I was dying on the metro because it was so hot. After reaching my stop, I got off and walked to the escalator and decided not to walk up them because they’re really long. Once, I was outside, I made my way to the stop where the shuttle picks up CIEE students and takes them to school. I noticed that the shuttle was still there and I was happy that I didn’t miss it. When I finished crossing the street, I saw it leave and I thought to myself, “the world is against me today”. Nothing was going right and then I saw a bus and hopped on. No, I wasn’t sure if it went to school but I figured that it would get me close enough to school.
If I had not looked up from reading my book, I would have ended up who knows where but when I got off I didn’t know exactly where I was. Then I figured that I will just walk in the general direction of school and, hopefully, things will start to look familiar. Eventually they did and I was happy. I need to stop jumping on random buses. Finally, I made it to school and went straight to the registration office.
It was closed. I knocked. No answer. I tried to open the door again and nothing. It was locked. Then I preceded to the CIEE office to ask, Katya, when it would open and she said it should open in the next few minutes. Okay, and I went to go seat down and charge my phone. There were other students there so I talked with them. Every now and then, I got up to check if the registration office was opened, and each time it wasn’t. I become more and more worried.
Eventually, I heard Jarlath’s voice and decided that I will go ask him. He then took me to the office and we confirmed that it was actually locked. Maybe he didn’t believe me or what not. Then he called someone that works in the office and stopped paying attention. After a minute or two, he told me to just leave my passport with him and he will see what he could do. Feeling more relieved, I went to sit down again and tried to study.
It was time for class and that helped me get my mind off the whole situation. As soon, as class finished, I went back to the CIEE office to speak with Jarlath but he was on the phone. After he finished, he called me over and closed the door behind me. At that moment, I thought to myself, this is really serious or he could just be doing that for privacy sack. Then he asked me to sit down and I knew things were serious. You don’t get asked to sit down unless things are bad.
He said that I was a really lucky girl because somehow everything worked out. No, I wouldn’t have to pay a fine and I wouldn’t have to leave the country for a few days. Then he asked me, what happened so I told him the story and I don’t get in trouble often, if ever, so he was understanding. Several times, I thanked him and apologized for the inconvenience. Again, I felt like a little girl when I was thanking him but then I felt like a grown up when I apologized for my irresponsibility.
Jarlath, if you ever for some reason read this post, thank you so much. I don’t how else I can say thank you so большое спасибо and gracias.
Then I lived happily ever after. Not really because I’m so exhausted and I feel feverish. I’m going to go nap now.
The End. В конце.