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November 24, 2012
Elsa Evans-Kummer , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

I find myself writing this last article while looking into the empty bottoms of suitcases waiting to be filled. I write keeping this in mind: Not only will this be my last article, but it is my last week in Russia. It's all very surreal. I have been here three months (although right now it feels like just a few weeks), and perhaps each day wasn't treasured like it should have been. I'll do myself the courtesy of saying that the majority of them were, and that this great opportunity was not wasted on me.

It's hard to say right now whether or not I'll miss Russia. I think I will when I'm home, but I'm currently so consumed with missing home that I can't say I will with too much emotion. I think that I've learned so much in my time here. I've learned about the culture, the history, the people and the land. I've seen so much. I've seen Moscow city from the very top balcony of Moscow State University, which is located in the tallest of the Seven Sisters or the Stalin buildings. That was a pretty big feat for me because I'm terrified of heights, and that building is the seventh tallest building in Moscow and the 12th tallest in Europe. It's 787 feet tall, and we were probably around 767 feet off the ground. I've seen the inside of some of the most famous and historic cathedrals. I've seen petroglyphs and glaciers, as well as sacred burial mounds. I've seen traditional parades and costumes and eaten traditional foods. I've learned that language is not needed for kids to have fun. I have experienced the way people live out in the villages and mountains, making every thing from scratch. I've learned that every person in the U.S. has a doppelganger. I've also seen the way people live in the city, and it's very much the same as how people live in Saranac Lake.

One of the first things I noticed when I came here was the packaging of food products. Here more cardboard is used than plastic, but more plastic than glass. I remember how weird I thought it was, but after that, everything that was different than what I was used to started to become natural to me.

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I'm very ready to come home and enjoy the luxury of having jelly out of glass jars, and I know my sister is very excited for peanut butter (they do not have peanut butter in Russia). Tonight I will be singing "Adirondack Blue" in a folk concert with Siberian college students. In five days I will be in Zurich, Switzerland and on my way home to my Adirondack Blue. I am so excited, but I have come to the conclusion that I will miss Russia.



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