Continued from here The Story of Me
So, after the initial excitement settled down. There came some more excitement. Food related. Coming from a post-soviet union country, a lot of western products were deemed as evil and taboo. Now, we had an unlimited access to them. Potato chips were the object of my undivided love and committed attention for the longest time, which in the end cost about 20 extra pounds. Ok people, to prove my point – I have an actual photo of me with a bag of potato chips, one of them ginormous bags from Costco. I am not sharing the photo because it’s kind of embarrassing now.
On the down side I did miss my friends a lot. Probably not because they were such great friends, but because in that present state I didn’t have any other ones. I wrote them letters. Actual, hand-written ones…because we’re cave people. In all honesty, we didn’t have a computer for the first time being. Since this was summer, school didn’t start until September, I spent most of my days in the apartment with my bag of potato chips. Which wasn’t half bad so don’t feel sorry for me. My letters back home however contained little entertainment value, as I didn’t have much new information to provide. I mean, how many letters can you write describing the same bag of potato chips?
This did change sometime mid-summer when we got a commuter with an Internet connection. I’ve used a commuter before so this wasn’t a big deal, but never the internet part. So on a warm summer day, I was home all by myself and I fired up the internet. This was still dial up, times were different. Ok? And after the horrendous screeching and squealing – I was in. Somebody from above yelled at me ‘You’ve got mail’, and I got goose bumps. But that was it. I had no idea of the practical use for the internet and after a couple of minutes of pointless staring, I logged off, and played solitaire. My letters back home gained some excitement – today I was in the internet.
I watched a lot of American television. Because my parents refused to pay extra for the Russian TV, but also refused to pay for English tutoring classes, television was supposed to become my life coach before I go to school. Also, having been taking English classes back home, after which I was well versed in English phrases such as: ‘The sun is shining’, and ‘London is the capitol of Great Britain’, I was expected to ace this whole language barrier thing. On many occasions, my parents demanded translation to the shows we were watching. And after growing tired of making weak attempts to explain it’s not the same as reciting the poem ‘Why do you cry, Willie’[actual poem: Why do you cry, Willie? Why do you cry? Why, Willie? Why, Willie? Why, Willie, why?], I just started making stuff up. In all fairness my two phrases in English were two more than they knew, so you can’t blame them. For the longest time they believed my made up translations. I got caught eventually because the movie plot didn’t fit.