Our travel visas arrived yesterday, just in time for our flight on Sunday. We have been frantically packing (then unpacking to make sure we remembered that thing, then packing again) and we are all very excited for our trip. We leave from Minneapolis about 3:15 pm on Sunday, then fly through the night and later time zones, arriving in Amsterdam at about 8am Monday. I think it is only about an 8 hour flight. We have a 5 hour layover, then we will depart for Moscow, arriving about 5 pm. The Fulbright office is sending a taxi to meet us and take us to the hotel, where our conference will be.
We will stay in Moscow for about a week, attending a two-day conference. This is merely a gathering of all of the Fulbright Fellows in Russia, many of whom have been living in the country since August (Fulbright Fellows have the option of living in the host country from August to June or January to June, we chose the short tour). Folks are going to talk about their experiences at the gathering, and after the conference we will stay and do some sightseeing in Moscow. On the 26th we depart for Ufa, (pronounced Oo-fah) where we will live for 5 months.
I have been in contact with my friend, Rustem, who lives and teaches at the university in Ufa. He has been looking for an apartment for us, and I think he has found a few. Speaking of which, this adventure would be so much harder without a lot of great people in the Fulbright office helping out (Thanks Marina and Rachel!) and our friend Rustem. I am looking forward to posting about our time in Russia and the new friends we will meet. Please do not hesitate to send us an email (Use the Contact Us link) if you have questions or just want to chat. I will post many more pictures in the coming months too.
Dave, Ann, and Jake