Stanford Takes over Kazan!

Trip Start Aug 06, 2008
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40
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Trip End May 17, 2009


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Flag of Russian Federation  ,
Tuesday, October 28, 2008

So a couple of weeks ago a group of us had been hanging out
and we decided to go get blini's at this place on Baumina Street. I hadn't seen Liam in forever, so he
met up with us. He was telling us
his story about finally getting his bankcard (after HIS unfortunate encounter)
and then his bank went down because of the recession. He was like, "welcome to my life." I wish you
could hear him talk because his voice carries and it being an odd and heavy
British accent draws attention, but then of course, all of us draw
attention. I thought never in my
life would I be used to being stared at all the time, but hey, that is just
they way things are here.

But
anyway, there was a group of people in a table near us and they were just
staring. We looked over and saw
them, but we really didn't think anything of it because of the whole "hey
look. Those are foreigners! Let's stare at them" thing that they have here
but we soon decided to listen to them and we distinctly heard English. Well, it
was not only the English but some were wearing Nike's, North Face jackets and
Stanford sweaters. Now I know how
locals pick us out, it really is very obvious. We should really just have signs
that read: Caution Foreigners Ahead, it
is that obvious. It is cool that
we can see through "eastern eyes" now, though. That's something to brag about at
least.

Finally,
we bit the bullet and yelled over (at least Hope yelled over) and asked if they
were Americans. I have to say that
the number of Americans in Kazan probably equate to the number of students from
UNCG plus the three others that we know from other universities, so the idea of
seeing any other Americans here blows our minds. Sure enough, this group of about 7 was from the States and
they were Stanford students.
Apparently, they study at university in Moscow and took a small
excursion to Kazan because they had heard it was "cool." Unfortunately, we met them at the most
inconvenient time because they were to catch the train back within the
hour. However, they told us of a
second group that were planning to come in a couple of weeks. So we exchanged numbers, not fully
believing that they would call when they got into town.

Two
weeks later, we get a call. It is
the Stanford group. Can we meet
them at the Kremlin and show them around?
Liz, Kristen and I go and meet them and I have to say that I was
pleasantly surprised. They were an
amazing group! They were very kind
and courteous and I felt like I had known them for a long time. After the Kremlin, we took them to
lunch at a Tatar restaurant, where they could experience Tatar food and on the
way showed them the campus of Kazan State. After lunch, we went to the market where they bought more
things than they could carry and then pointed out different structures as we
walked around the city. We then
had dinner and went to their hotel where they had yet to check in and then went
to the bar. They met many of the
international students there as well.
It really was a great day and I think they had a good time. Now,
however, they are expected to do the same for us when we go to Moscow. Don't you hate payback?
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