My first week in Russia has been relatively uneventful. I think this is good. I'd rather it be uneventful than be robbed and thrown over a bridge, have a leopard maul me, or be crushed by an elevator. Even though these would make great stories (if I lived to tell them, that is).
Instead, since I've been here I've been preoccupied with finding spaces to do things. For as big as Moscow is, I'm having a bit of trouble finding good places to (for example) get work done. I don't have an office or designated space at the Institute of the Russian Language, where I'll be doing most of my research, and while the institute has a small library where I can work, its hours are sporadic and limited. I won't have access to larger state libraries until later next week, so in the meantime I'm trying out different coffee shops. I've found a few that pass muster, and I'll be exploring some more in the coming days.
Next, and perhaps more challenging, is finding a place to jog. I came very close to jogging in a cemetery the other day, since it was the only place at all park-like nearby my apartment. Then I found a mediocre park across the street (hidden behind a strange red brick building). And today, further away, I found a nice park with lots of paths and even a pond.
Yes, there are children trapped in large transparent balls in the middle of the pond. It appears to be intentional.
While I may be having trouble finding the right places to do things, there will be no problem getting to the places once I find them. That is because public transportation here is great. I especially love the Moscow metro. In fact, Moscow's 181st station opened this weekend -- a station devoted to Dostoevsky. Its opening was delayed because of complaints about the violent imagery and themes that could provoke suicide or depression. Seriously. Read about it.
I went to the station today (it's not too far from where I live) but I didn't need to ride anywhere so I didn't go past the point where you have to pay, thus didn't get to see the murals. But here's the shiny new passageway to the station:
I'll be sure to post depressing pictures of Dostoevsky and Raskolnikov once I actually enter the station.